This is a short video from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the church to which we belong, that gave me a lot to both think about .... and cry about today. I hope that you view it and enjoy it as much as I did, especially if you've ever lived in or around Kannaraville, as we have. There are many more like it that you can view for yourself on the Church's official site at:


Just Us ... Just Today.

Jared and Becky introduces K&K to "Star Wars" while I was in the hospital with Layne, and let me tell ya, it's a hit. They have been begging and begging to watch the series, so Jared let them watch episode one today (whatever it's named -- I'm not too big on the new ones). Following our cleaning out of the garage (refer to our other blog as to why Koria correlates it to the Lord trying His people's "patience and faith"), they talked their dad into letting them watch "A New Hope," per request of Kimball. He gets a kick out of the fact that Princess Leah gets captured in that one. This is a pic of the punks, mid-movie.

Meanwhile, Luke and Layne were waking up from a nap, rolling around and bouncing up and down in their cribs. Layne's learned a new skill the last few days -- hamming it up for the camera. Put a lense in front of that little girl's face, and she wips out the mega-cheeser.

Luke's still working on those molars, clearing off the finish on the side rails of his crib in his downtime, as seen in the background. Makes me cringe just thinking about it. He doesn't seem to mind though. He's still happy as ever, as long as I'm within sight. He's taken a liking to biting my clothes too, especially my pants. It's been so hot here this month that I've hesitated to even wear them, but I learned my lesson when Luke got ahold of one of my legs the other day and gave me quite a surprise. Hence, I'm dealing with heat, not bite marks.

And that's just us ... just today.


And the last pics that I'll post from Tuesday ....

All right, I'll exercise some self-restraint and not post any more pictures from the day. There's just so many I love. Anyway, here's the last of this four-part post.

Chillin' at the "I Am A Child of God" Exhibit for Children in the Church History Museum of Art (which I recommend taking your kids to if you live close by)

Kimball moving the cars through the maze by magnet

Koria playing the part of Mary
Small in comparison

The Black Family on the Square

More pictures from Tuesday

Refer to the last couple of posts for explaination as to where we were at and what we did on Tuesday. Yeah, I'm just excited to post anything.

Dad and Layne

Koria in front of the Salt Lake Temple (with the ten plus stickers she managed to get from the nurse at Primary Children's)

Kimball in front of the temple
Here's some quotes from the last few minutes as he watches me type:
When I told him that he could go have some fun playing in his room with Koria, "Mom, fun's just too fun for me. Koria just likes to throw me around and spin me up in circles."
When he asked me if he could play the Wii and I told him that there are a lot more exciting and good things to use his time doing in life, "But I have done other things today, Mom. I ate breakfast and stuff."
When saying the prayer this morning, "Heavenly Father, I thank thee that Mom's so brilliant." I love that kid.
When on the couch, waiting for the fifth snack of the day, "Mom, my tummy's exhausted. It just needs more food."
And from Koria regarding the same issue, "Waiting ..... waiting ..... waiting....." in a singing voice, over and over, and over ......
Joseph and Emma

More of Jared (he's gonna kill me)

Pictures from Tuesday, August 24th

Like I mentioned in the post below, we maximized the day after Layne's doctor's appointment with a few different activities. The next few blogs will highlight a few of those, mostly in picture.

Lion's Head at the Lion House

L&L swinging at the Orem City Park

Nap time on Temple Square (notice what Layne loves to do during naptime)

Luke enjoying the shade

Scenes from the reflection pool

Kleefstra Syndrome

Last Friday, we received a call from a geneticist that looked at Layne while she was admitted to Primary Children's Hospital. We had been concerned about her development and abilities already, but he decided to do some genetic testing after several questions and physical exams where done. To sum up the results of that genetic testing, Layne's just been diagnosed with a very rare genetic disorder called "Kleefstra Syndrome," a problem with the 9th chromosome. It has only been discovered over the last three to five years due to advances in the way chromosomes can be examined and studied, and because of that, Layne is one of only a small number of people to be diagnosed in the world, the first seen at Primary Children's. There are some specific issues that result from this, which you can read up on more fully, if interested, by doing a search for Kleefstra Syndrome on the internet. That'll save me a lot of time a detailed explanation, but what it all comes down to is that, from what is known, she will be facing some physical and mental disabilities throughout her life, which we feel blessed to know about and encouraged to help her with. Some of the feature of this disability include:
Developmental delay
Learning difficulty or disability
Recognisable facial appearance
Low muscle tone
Possible heart conditions
Sleep difficulties
Behavior difficulties (similar to those with Autism)
Strabismus (the syptoms she has already shown with her eye sight)
Slightly unusual hands or feet
Hearing impairment
Kidney anomalies (which we have already ruled out for her)
Connective tissue disorder
Patches of lighter skin colouring
Dental anomalies
Possibly, overweight

Layne fits a lot of the symptoms, and not so much the others, but she will be needing extra help from professionals, and family alike. We were quite relieved to find out that there is help for her, what the condition is, and that this is managable, at least from what is know to date. She's one special girl, and we value her and all of our children. We have hope for the future, and know that she's come to us the way that our Father in Heaven meant her to, that with His help, all things are possible.

We found all of this out early on Friday morning, and then decided to make the most of the day by wandering around Temple Square with the kids, enjoying some Mongolian BBQ and all-you-can-eat ice cream (especially Luke!), and an afternoon at the Orem City Park. Since Koria and Kimball zonked out on the trip home, we treated them to a late-night movie of "The Empire Strikes Back." They are now convinced that they are Han Solo and Princess Leah. I caught them pretending to call each other on make-believe phones yesterday while they were playing outside, using the names Han Solo and "Princess," as Koria prefers to be called. They really have an imagination. They've decided that Star Wars characters will be a good theme for all of us this year for Halloween. We'll be sure to take pictures.

Thanks for all of the prayers and support on our behalf. We've found peace over the last couple of weeks, due to our own prayers and many of yours, the temple, scriptures, and the gospel in general. I have a new theme for life. I messed up some wording while offering a prayer this past week, and accidentally said, "I have faith in life before death," instead of "after," but caught myself and started to think, "It's as much about having faith in life here and now as it is having hope of a perfect life to come. We're going to try and live each day to the fullest, enjoying each step in the journey. Hard to say when five loads of laundry still need to be folded, kids fed, changed, etc., but each day offers some spark of happiness if we'll let it. Hope you join us on the journey.


Uh, so things change fast. Like overnight. Last Thursday when Layne woke up, I picked her up and look at her eye only to notice that she had developed a massive pocket of infection on white of her right eye. I called her opthamologist in SLC, rushed her in only to have it burst and drain all over the place in the doctor's office, spent the night in a hotel with her while giving her eye drops every hour on the hour all through the day and night, and followed up that next morning (her first birthday) with an 8:00 a.m. appointment to find out that she needed to be admitted to Primary Children's Hospital to have another emergency surgery on her eye done that day.
To make a long four days a lot more short, and due to lack of time right now to type up the details, Layne and I arrived home again on Sunday night around 9:00 p.m. I'm giving her antibiotic treatments a couple times a day at home through a picc line that was put in on Saturday in the hospital, which yesterday she managed to yank on and made me freak out at the sight of all the blood that came out of her picc line sight. Not fun. The home health nurse rushed over to change the dressing, and other than a high fever she's started to run today, she's doing better. Hope that the fever drops or we may have a chance of being admitted tomorrow again when I drive her back up to the doctor's for a follow-up appointment. Her eye is definitely looking better through. She's one tough little girl. She hardly complained at all through the whole process. Her doctor mentioned to me that she's one of his favorite patients of all time. So good natured. She's my little hero. Keep her in your prayers for me. Thanks, Kendra


Layne's Eye Muscle Surgeries

Layne just underwent a double eye muscle surgery at Primary Children's Hospital on August 3rd, one week ago today. I haven't had a chance to post any pics as of yet, but here's a few from the hours following the procedures and also the last few days. We are hoping that the procedures will help in correcting her eyesight so that she'll be able to focus her eyes and start to catch up with her developmental skills. She did great through the whole procedure and is now fighting off infection in her eyes. Her fever has dropped off and we are hoping that that is a good sign. Her optometrist who performed the surgery said that it will be a full three weeks until we are able to tell if it has been effective or not. IF not, we will go back in and have the surgeries repeated. We're hoping for the best.
This was taken in the recovery room. The staff told us to expect her to sleep most of the day due to the effects of anesthesia. She slept for about two hours and wanted to party with me all that night. That's my girl!

We tried to entertain her with a pacifier, which she didn't want to suck on, just play with. That's usually the case in our family.

She screamed off and on until we either fed her, or until we put her in her car seat to head for home. I caught her smiling and laughing as we started to pull out from the hospital. It was hilarious.

This picture was taken on Thursday morning. Layne had been running a fever for a couple of days and I finally just let the kid tough it out in her diaper. I also gave her her first haircut. Stylin', isn't it?

And here's the bug this past Saturday. Looks miserable. I think that both she and I are catching a bit of a summer cold. Oh well, she's doing great. Thanks for all the prayers on her behalf, and all of the calls to see how she's progressing. I'll try to keep you up.


Aviles Family

I left from being with the ladies in Park City and headed for the Provo Temple, where some friends of ours, the Aviles Family, were going to be sealed to each other and their children. It was a special day for not only for them, but for those of us who were blessed to share in the experience. This young family, new members of only one year, are just pure in their love for one another, and it was evident in the way they treated each other. The brother who performed the sealing was fluent in Spanish, the Aviles Family's native language, so most of the event was done in Spanish. Even though I could not understand all of the words spoken, I could feel them. I was literally brought to tears as their three beautiful daughters, Stephanie (age 8) and their twin girls Chanelle and Rashelle (around 18 months) were brought in to the room and this family knelt together around the alter and were blessed to be made an eternal family. I thought of my own family, which didn't help my crying at all, and how much they mean to me. The sealer made a comment that taught me a profound truth, "This isn't just the room where you are sealed to one another; this is the place where our Father in Heaven brings His children back home to Him." That comment has been racing through my head since I heard him say it. That's what we are all here for, to become the individuals that our loving Father knows us to be, and to make and keep sacred covenants that allow us to be brought back to our heavenly home.
This beautiful family just radiated the love and peace to be found in the gospel and the temple. Jared was talking with Hector, the husband afterward, and asked him if his experiences of that day were what he had expected they would be. Hector's response was something like this, "Oh, Brother Black, they were so much more. There's such a peace here." Jared and I felt that too. I have a feeling we'll be saying that when we hopefully are brought to our Heavenly Father and His Son, into Their eternal presence. It will be "so much more" than any of us can describe.

Weekend with the Ladies

I mentioned on our other blog that on July 30-31st, I was able to meet up with a few old roommates and college friends from my days at Utah State. Here's a picture of us, from the top right: Carrie, me, Heather
bottom right: Jessica, Emily holding four-month-old Katie, and Amelia
I've said it before, and I'll say it again, with true friends, it doesn't matter the space of distance between contacts, you just get to pick up where you left off. It was wonderful to join up together for the night and unload on each other what life has taught us over the last few years and just have a chance to laugh at it all anyway.
Emily just had her fourth little nugget of joy, pictured here with her. Katie may have peeped once that I noticed, but this little girl is as good as gold. Guess it's in her genes.
Amelia was the only one daring enough to let me take an up-close shot. Thanks. You're a babe, and it shows! Thanks for letting me crash with you in the same room, too.


Parade in Panguitch and Night of the 24th

I mentioned on our other blog a few of the events that happened over our weekend in Panguitch for the 24th of July, and I've also posted a few of the shots that I took during our stay as well. Here's just a few more.

Jared brilliantly came up with the idea to entertain the grandkids outside on the front lawn with the games we used to play as kids (that makes me sound old, doesn't it?). None of them included electrical devices or batteries and the kids still enjoyed the whole night ... up until the sparklers, but that's another blog entry. We played "Red Light, Green Light," "Eenie-I-Over," and "Mother, May I?" Grandma also dared to teach the kids "Duck, Duck, Goose," which she participated it. Bless you, Evelyn. Those were moves I didn't know you had in you! I was impressed.
This is a shot looking up in the old barn back out behind the house. Jared has told me before that that was his heaven growing up -- what young boy wouldn't love turning an old barn into a land of pirates, or cowboys and indians ... or a spook alley, as was his favorite. Is it any wonder he still loves Halloween?

Becky said it best earlier this summer when she stated, "We all know that the real reason everyone goes to a parade is for the candy." That was definately the case for the Black family. Here's the lineup, each holding his or her own bag of stash.

This one is just a reflection in the window of Henrie's Drive-in, THE place in Panguitch for soft-serve. Jared used to work there as a teenager. This is where he learned the art of flipping burgers and deep-frying anything you can imagine. Thankfully, that art does not live on in our house still. Soft-serve still does. Who is really living life to the fullest that doesn't indulge in the creamy, cold goodness of sweet milk as it melts down your chin and throat? Not me. I'd take it any day over candy throw from strangers on crepe-paper floats and tractors, which, in reality is what Jared and I did. In the words of Kimball, "Oh yeah, baby!"

Taste of Sugar

I have to say, Koria and Kimball didn't get all the good stuff that Luke and Layne manage to get, at least by way of food. The older set were strangers to sugar for the first year of their lives.

Luke and Layne? They know all about it. Here's a couple shots of Layne both before and after tasting her first popsicle. You be the judge as to which is which. I think my work's done here.


Pictures from Father's Day

Ahhhh, just what every father dreams of for Father's Day .... screaming children, a little sun, and some nice scenery. This is my extra-brief recap of our celebration this past June. (By the way, all of these events were per Jared's request.)

We all played outside on the yard and decided to let Luke and Layne try the slip-n-slide for the first time. Layne loved the cool water. Luke ... well, refer to the above picture for your answer.

Since we are just a couple hours north of Capital Reef National Park, we decided to head out for a day of adventure. We even managed to sneak a few of the rocks home for the flower beds.
We had lunch in a beautiful picnic area full of giant mulberry trees that were ripe and falling all over the ground. This shot of the deer was not taken with a zoom lense either. Apparently, deer are very friendly to this campground, as we spotted several warning signs to let us know that it was harmful to feed them. One of these signs was actually a drawing from a six-year-old that had fed one, complete with a letter at the bottom of the drawing explaining that the unfortunate animal bit the dust after it was fed by the youngster. Yeah, made me cringe too. ANYHOOO, we enjoyed seeing the dear upclose. Kimball really wanted to pet one, but we thought that we'd err on the side of caution. We didn't know if the deer we also into mauling children, but thought it better to be on the safe side.

And there's Dad, being choked by one of his children, holding another two who obviously were not fed enough at lunch and were turning on each other as a source of nourishment. Really, Dad was just a prop in the photo op of Koria and her ad for bottled water. I think it was Dasani, if they're interested in purchasing rights to this photo.
All in all, it was a fun weekend. We saw some scenery that we never had before, discovered that grass makes a great babysitter for Luke, and that Dad's a pretty great dad.

Countries We've Been To

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States We've Been To

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