Monday, November 30, 2015


The shelbster had a growth spurt recently  which made for a couple rough nights. Last night was better though. 
Good news is she now sucks her thumb!
We ate an ounce out of a bottle last night too. Which makes a grand total of 2 1/2 ounces over the past month of serious trying to get her to take a bottle. 
She weighs 14 lbs 5oz now and is pretty fun to have around. Grandma Mingo, auntie Vicki, and uncle lee also came to visit for a couple days and it was so much fun for us to spend time together. 
Hopefully we will make it out to visit around Christmas time. 


Sometimes I wonder why my kids are so dramatic. Then I realize my husband is snapping a picture of me lying on the ground because I don't want to do the dishes. 
Point taken.  Thanks for the reminder rich on why our kids are dramatic. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Drool baby 4 months

This is my first baby who soaks their clothes multiple times a day!!! It is so cute and messy all at the same time. 
I am making some bibs for her this week too. 
What to say about Shelby???  She is so sweet and doesn't even complain about the bath only once or twice a week. Usually whenever grandma comes over. 
All the kids adore her and she loves them too. The big girls are great helpers (for short periods of time)

Monday, November 23, 2015

Crazy hair day

The girls had crazy hair day at school Friday and they sure had fun!

Haters gonna hate

This girl hates the bottle. I have tried 5 different ones so far... I can get her to drink more than anyone else so far. She just screams bloody murder when rig tries to feed her. 

She is pretty dang cute though. 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Park days

I am enjoying this cute little park by our house. I can walk or jog there. Or even make it the end of a run like I did yesterday. 
This is macs "cheese" face 
All 3 of us going down the slide together
A little breastfeeding selfie at the park. 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Baby kisses

My heart just exploded taking these cute pictures. 
Don't let the pictures fool you. Shelby was never in any real danger. 
And yes, Mac has his fingernails painted. 

Friday, November 13, 2015

Jumper roo

Shelby is learning to love her jumper. She is usually pretty happy and smiley for awhile in it. 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Veterans Day hike

No school means bored kids unless you plan a fun hike where they can play on a rope swing and find cool walking sticks and climb trees. 

The girls were good sports going with me. And Shelby slept most of the time too. 

Monday, November 9, 2015


This little guy is so much fun. He adores Shelby and loves to tell me what she is doing. He likes to kiss her and when she "tickles" him. He hardly ever holds still unless he is eating with the iPad in front of his face. He loves when I wear a maxi skirt because I can be his tunnel and he sits underneath and hangs out with his trains. It is quite funny until I have to move. 
This poor guy is surrounded by girls but he would never even think of picking up a doll. He is all about trains. Sometimes balls and cars, but mostly trains. He likes Winnie the Pooh and he loves to sing and jump. No interest in sitting on the potty unless it is to procrastinate going to bed. 
 Today he was good for daddy when mommy left for a job interview. Wish me luck!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Softball Halloween bash

This softball season has been pretty fun for Ryann. She is one of the youngest on the team with the least experience so she didn't get a ton of playing time, but she loves her sparkly pink helmet and her bat and singing cheers for the team. 
In the fall they do anhalloween tournament. They got third place (out of four) but they got to dress up as zombie super heroes and decorated their dugout b
Cara and Mac liked that they could play with minimal adult supervision. 


We started a fire in our fireplace today for the first time. It was so much fun. The girls were thrilled. Shelby seemed to like it too. We snuggled a lot. 

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Please hold my pea

All day long Cara has been carrying around this pea. I believe we sold the other two and the pod at the garage sale, but somehow this one spared the awful fate. 
She has handed it to me about 10 times today and when she does she says, "please hold my pea" followed by a huge fit of giggles. I love this girl. 

Friday, November 6, 2015

Practice 5k

Ryann is doing a fun program called girls on the run. They learn about health and fitness and body positive and self esteem and other great stuff. The girls are training for a 5k with the community next week so we did a practice 5k yesterday. 
Ryann did great and Mac wanted to run some of it with her. Shelby slept through most of it but we had a fun time running and walking a skipping with her. She is such a sweet girl. 

Her shoes were giving her blisters though so she ran with bare feet for awhile. That was fun for her too though because she used her imagination and pretended she was running in the wild. I guess up on the agenda for the weekend is to buy her some new shoes. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Finger splint

Ryann got her finger smashed at school today and she wouldn't move it for me so I got her an appointment. Fortunately when the doctor came in they got it moving again (magically of course) so we determined it isn't broken, just bruised or jammed. They put a little splint on it and both Mac and Ryann got flu shots. 
We also found an awesome book on poop and pee. 
Ryann wanted a picture of the poop chart for Cara. 

Monday, November 2, 2015

Mignon Kay Wagner

This post is a long time coming. I finally decided to sit down and write what I want to say and share with my family and posterity about my sweet grandmother. Really focusing on the last  year of her life and my very small roll in that year. *After completing the post I realized I didn't have the energy to go back and edit anything, so I apologize for grammatical errors and random thoughts*

In November of 2013 I met with a sweet midwife that my dad works with and this sparked my interest in moving back to California. It took almost a whole year for me to find a job and move out to California, but both Rich and I felt like it was the right thing to do. We felt like we could do so much more in California than we could in Arizona. Strange as this may sound to some, and not strange at all to others, we felt that the Lord needed us for an unknown purpose in Napa. I will now skip the stuff in between and focus on grandma so I will just say that we moved to Napa in August of 2014.

We started our girls at the local elementary school and quickly I realized that my kids didn't know grandpa and grandma great very well. Ryann cherished her pictures with them but didn't know much about them.  I started to spend a little more time over there and one night I realized Grandpa was making Vienna sausage sandwiches for dinner.

HOLD IT!  Vienna sausages for dinner?  Of course this wasn't always, a lot of times they had In n Out burger or KFC or another fast food restaurant for dinner, but grandma wasn't much into cooking these days. I spoke with my mom about it and she told me how she had tried to bring them dinner and grandma got offended.  She would say, "now, Cathy, we don't need you feeding us. We are perfectly fine." and I heard it. I heard her say it multiple times the first week or so that I started bringing them each a plate of food.  I would quickly smile and say, "I know grandma, but I had left overs."  Then the next night I would say, "I know grandma, but my parents aren't eating with us tonight and I forgot so now I have extra."  basically I spent the first week or two of bringing dinners to them convincing grandma that she was doing me a favor by eating my food.

Okay, lets be real here... Grandma and Grandpa both knew what I was doing. Grandpa was thrilled to not eat a vienna sausage sandwich for dinner again, but Grandma never wanted to feel like a burden so she kept up the act until she realized I wasn't going anywhere. Most days my mom and I remembered to bring them food, but not always. Sometimes it was my mom making a last minute run to the grocery store deli to bring them a salad or sandwich, and more often then we like to admit we totally forgot and those days grandpa remembered how to fend for himself.

At this point most days I would send Ryann and/ or Cara over with the plates of food so that I could finish up dinner for the family. Rich often dropped off plates, but a couple times a week I was fortunate enough to be able to drop off their plates of food.  Grandma almost always was sitting at her place at the kitchen table.  All the family knows where this seat is. It is the seat where she dominated scrabble and rummikub from.  It is where she got up early every morning and sat while she read the Napa register and the San Francisco chronicle. She read both papers, every morning, cover to cover, and sometimes twice if she forgot that she already read it.

The nights I dropped off dinner I sat for a moment. I would grab them each a goblet of water with ice and grandma always got a straw. Grandma's mouth was really dry this past year due to the amount of medications she was on. She hated it. She hated that sometimes it made her talk funny, that she always needed gum or a drink to keep her mouth moist. It wasn't fun for her but she tried not to complain too much about it. After I got them their water they would bless the food. I never saw them sit down to eat without saying a prayer and thanking the Lord for their blessings and thanking me for the dinner (even the nights I didn't make it!).

Last winter when the oranges from the tree were ripe we included one every night. Grandma LOVED the oranges fresh from the tree. She loved them cut up and would have eaten them by the dozen if we would have brought over that many. She always asked for them and I was more than happy to oblige.

When grandma was still mostly mobile she had a lot of back pain. She always had a heating pad strapped to her back, either under or over her sweater that she liked to wear. I think the heating pad was from Suzanne and one day my mom was straightening up things around the house and grandpa got so mad at my mom because he couldn't find the heating pad and he thought she threw it away. Both my mom and I hustled over to find it and it was accidentally set on a different counter, but we found it and peace was restored once again.  Every time I would heat up that heating pad Grandpa would make sure that I only heated it up for about 2 minutes because he didn't want it to be too hot.  I can't help but think how sweet of a companion and a caregiver grandpa was for grandma.

Grandpa and Grandma also have this sweet recliner that would help grandma get up and down from sitting. It is blue and pretty fancy, but most days grandma didn't like sitting on it because it wasn't that comfortable for her. So, without hesitation grandpa spent extra time helping grandma up and down from the brown couch in the TV room.  I often walked in to find Paul sitting in (or sleeping in) the fancy blue recliner.

Grandma didn't walk much without the help of her walker or a cane when I moved out to Napa. A few times she walked without them she did okay, but she quickly got short of breath and tired.  Once she tried to walk from the table to the kitchen sink to put her dish away and that ended with a phone call from Grandpa to Rich and I so we could come pick grandma up off the kitchen floor.  The whole time we were there helping her get up from her fall she kept saying, "oh brother." and she said how silly she was for trying to help grandpa.  She really didn't want to be a burden on grandpa.

Slowly Grandma became more and more immobile.  She would start to nap longer and longer periods each day. Grandpa had set up chairs all throughout the house so that she could take rests on her way to the kitchen or bathroom. Obvious fall hazards, but grandpa was doing whatever he could to make grandma more comfortable and to keep her dignity intact as long as possible.  One day while helping grandma out of the bathroom she fell and hit her head. This was a wake up call for grandpa and he realized that it was getting too difficult to help her the way she needed help. At this point grandma had been put on hospice and we made sure to help grandpa get grandma up to the bathroom each time she needed to go.

Before being placed on hospice I remember the morning that I got a phone call from a high school friend who was a local paramedic. He called my cell phone to tell me that he was taking my grandma to the hospital (grandpa gave him permission). I was shocked that grandpa hadn't called me first!  I ran down the hill in my PJs and asked grandpa what was going on. He told me that grandma had been throwing up and not feeling good so he called 911.  This was my first experience that something was really wrong with grandma. I drove grandpa to the ER and spent most of the day with them. I learned about grandma's medical conditions of liver failure, poor kidney function, and how frustrated I could get at an emergency room physician for talking down to my grandparents who were very well educated people. Not to mention a physician and a nurse! I also saw the confusion, sadness, and overwhelmed feelings that poor grandpa and grandma had as they struggled to remember medication changes, disease diagnosis, and day to day habits. This emergency room visit was the first time they tried to drain the fluid from Grandma's abdomen.

After unsuccessful attempts at draining the fluid in the ER grandma followed up a few days later in her regular doctors office. This is where they quickly drained 10 or 12 liters of fluid, leading her to collapse in the office and suffer a mild heart attack.  An immediate admission to the hospital and a 4+ day stay there were quite hard on grandpa and grandma but it was necessary to assess how she was doing.

Soon after this is when grandma was put on hospice. Both my mom and I felt that the doctor was being "kind" and that she really might not have been a candidate. When I say being kind I meant that with grandma on hospice grandpa could receive some help in the home. We soon realized after a few visits with the nurses that grandma was indeed heading to the end of her earthly life. Soon there were home health aides and nurses coming in almost every day to give grandpa some much needed time away from the 24/7 care that grandma required. It got to the point grandpa wouldn't even go outside for a quick swim with the family unless someone was inside with grandma.

Grandma was put on a strict low salt diet to help keep the fluid build up in her abdomen down.  I one day came over and made salt free waffles and grandma loved them. She started to eat them most days of the week. Grandpa soon became the rule enforcer when it came to salt in her diet. He was very strict and made sure we all knew she couldn't eat too much salt. I once got a phone call from grandpa telling me that the tacos Rich brought over for dinner had too much salt. Eventually the doctors let grandpa know that the salt wasn't making that much of a difference and he eased up on the salt intake.

Grandma was always so sweet at the end of her life. She always had a smile. She also was constantly apologizing for us having to help her. I firmly reminded her that she had taken care of more people in her life then I could ever count and it was a blessing for me to be able to help her. At 9 months pregnant I was often over there helping her to get out of bed to be able to use the bathroom or the bedside commode.  It was shortly after I had baby Shelby that my parents weren't able to get her out of bed to use the bathroom and grandpa just kept saying, "well call Brittani, she can do it, she is strong."  And trust me, I wanted to be there to help grandma preserve her dignity and be able to use the bathroom by herself, but it was just getting too difficult for her to do. (I would like to say that my work as a CNA gave me a lot of training on how to transfer patients to and from bed)

Before Shelby was born I told grandma that if it was a girl I wanted to name her Mignon and call her "Nonnie", grandma told me that I couldn't do it because she would grow up hating her name. Cara begged me to call her Nonnie when she was born, but Rich and Grandma were pretty firm on me not calling her Mignon. Grandma was able to hold Shelby a couple times and this really made her smile. She loved trying to sing to her and make her smile. She and grandpa called her my baby bird and that is what we called her for quite some time.

Grandma got quite confused at the end of her life. I tried not to ask her many questions when I was with her and I mostly showed her pictures and told her about my kids, this way I avoided seeing her confusion, but occasionally she would mention wanting to go home to her house in Napa. I would just smile and nod. Grandpa would always be there to correct her though.

Grandma was always so proud of her grandkids and great grandkids. She would often tell people stories that I had told her about my kids. One day I heard her on the phone retelling a story I told her and it made absolutely no sense because she couldn't remember the names of the kids she was talking about, but that Grandma sure remembered the story.  She also always remembered us when we were there in person. She never forgot that.  A few days before she passed I said HI from behind her. Her eyes fluttered and she said, "Hi Brittani." and this was when she wasn't talking much at all. It was such a sweet and tender experience for me that she was able to know and love me.

Grandma also loved it when Grandpa printed out pictures from facebook of the grandkids. He always printed out every blog post that Heather posted in New Zealand and he would read it to grandma. I think Grandma showed me the blog post of Thomas painting his face about 10 times. She really loved that one.

The scariest day was when my mom called me and sent me over to Grandpa's house because grandma wasn't responding. She was flushed and posturing and I was quite fearful that she was going to die. Grandpa had just taken her blood sugar and it was 40. I knew with her diabetes that we had to do something. We tried to get her to drink orange juice and I was quickly able to get hospice on the phone and they sent out a nurse and told me some other things to do in the meantime. Oh Francis the hospice nurse. What an amazing woman. She saved Grandma's life that day with her quick thinking and very forceful "OPEN YOUR MOUTH" and "SWALLOW" commands. Francis was also fearful that Grandma would pass away that day. She started to give us a talk on end of life care and how we could choose to call 911 or let her go. Neither Grandpa or I were ready for this and I firmly was against grandma dying from something so easily fixable as blood sugar.Grandma slowly came around and a few hours later was talking and smiling and as if it had never happened. After this day they took grandma off of her diabetes medications and about a week or two later they stopped having grandpa take her blood sugars.

On Saturday the 10th of October I put Shelby to bed and went to sit with grandpa and grandma. There was a home health aide there who told me that she didn't think grandma could swallow anymore pills so I ordered a pill crusher for her on amazon. I told grandpa it would be there on Monday.  Grandma still opened her eyes but she couldn't lift her head anymore and didn't speak at all that night. I kissed her as I left the house.

Sunday morning the 11th I came over early to help get grandma changed and ready for the day. She was very sleepy and didn't like to be moved but she let us do it anyway.  After church a sweet woman from our ward came to visit with grandpa and grandma and she recognized that grandmas condition had worsened, she wasn't responsive, and she was very rapidly breathing. She tried calling me but I was taking a nap with the kids and didn't hear my phone.  About an hour later I woke up, saw my messages, and quickly got in the car to go to grandpa's house.

At this time in the car ride I called my aunt Judy. My parents were on their way to Ethiopia for a medical mission and I couldn't reach them. I called Judy to tell her what I knew and also for some reassurance that it was okay for Grandma to die if this was the end. As I got there I knew grandma  has slipped into a coma. She wasn't responsive and her rapid, shallow breaths were about 60 a minute.  Grandpa had spoken to hospice and they recommended morphine but Grandpa had been too worried to give it to her. After watching her for a few minutes I knew it would help her body to relax so I gave her a small dose and her breaths decreased to about 40 a minute and she seemed less agitated. I called Ashley to let her know what was going on and to have her come as soon as she could after work. She picked up Shelby for me and brought her to the house so I could feed her.

During this time Grandpa and I had some good cries. We sat next to each other and I confirmed a lot of his fears. That this was a coma, she was terminal, and that things were coming to an end. I kept the family updated and let them know what was happening. I had no idea how short of how long this would take but i knew I wouldn't be leaving him alone.

Around 6:20 Grandpa was taking some phone calls and I was sitting with Shelby on the couch. Ashley was holding Grandmas hand and she turned to me and said, "her color looks really bad."  I sat up immediately and knew that this was the end of her mortal life. I told grandpa to hang up the phone and come sit next to grandma. Grandpa sat on her right hand side, holding onto her hand as her breaths started to come in gasps. The color drained from her face as she took gasping breaths every 10 seconds or so. Ashley sat on her left hand side and I handed baby Shelby to Ashley to hold. I went to the other side of the bed to support Grandpa and to remind Grandma that it was okay to go. Grandpa told her he loved her, and I told her that we would take care of Grandpa for her. Grandma took one last breath and her spirit left her body and she passed on at 6:25pm. Her death itself was very peaceful. Shelby was laughing and smiling and cooing as the three of us sobbed for the future of our mortal lives without her.

I know the veil between the spirit world and our mortal world is thin. I know that babies are as close to heaven as anyone can be, and I like to believe that little Shelby was seeing the faces of some very familiar people. I like to think that Sweet cousin Amanda was walking towards grandma while holding little Tyler's hand. Then as grandma was freed from her earthly body she was able to run out with open arms to a joyful reuniting with sweet Tyler Roy. Then I like to think she turned to Amanda to thank her for being there and then on to her sisters and others so dear to her that were there to greet her.

Oh what a joyous day it will be when Grandpa can be reunited in the eternities with his sweet wife, but until then I made a promise that I intend to keep. Grandma, I promise we will take care of grandpa, maybe not quite as good as he took care of you, but we will sure try. Those are some big shoes to fill. I love you.

Angry birds

The week before Halloween we went trick or treating at a neighborhood shopping center. Last year our mummy costumes won second place and this year the angry birds won 3rd place! We get a $50 gift card to trader joes. Wahoo!

Sunday, November 1, 2015


I know I have better pictures and I still haven't written about my grandmas funeral, but here are some Halloween pictures. 4 kids usually leads to mom no getting cute pictures anymore. 
We basically visited grandpa great, trick or treated to 6 houses, visited our friends and then dropped rich and Mac off at home and went to a party. It was fun and exhausting and I can't wait to do it gain next year.