Alec Has Surgery…Again.

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On April 3rd, Alec had an interview and screening for Early Intervention. Early intervention is a service to help children reach age-appropriate growth and development if there is a concern of a delay in any area. We had been concerned about Alec’s speech for quite a while, so his pediatrician referred us to Early Intervention. The initial interview on April 3rd was just a series of questions about our concerns as well as an explanation of what services they provided; if Alec qualified. They also performed a hearing screening. All this took place in our home. The interview and questioning went really well. Then they did the hearing screening. He did great in his left ear, but failed the hearing test in his right ear. I was super surprised as it never seemed like he had any sort of hearing problem. Early Intervention referred us to an ENT to get his ears checked.

Part of me was super relieved that there was a possible explanation for his speech delay other than autism. Another part of me was really worried about his hearing. A hearing problem could explain all our concerns, not just the speech delay. He was still tip-toe walking, waking all through the night crying (some times as many as 8 times), very sensitive to other children in close proximity, and had strong separation anxiety. All of this could be related to issues with the ear.

On April 7th we got him in with an audiologist. The audiologist performed a more thorough hearing test, and he passed the hearing test in both ears. However, the tests also showed that he had negative pressure in both his ears which was pulling his eardrums inward. He suggested we have him checked for an ear infection.

I was able to get him in to the pediatrician that day. The pediatrician said both of his ears looked pink but not super infected, and he believed that the pink ears, coupled with his delays and our concerns, probably indicated that he had chronic ear infections, and he wasn’t symptomatic because he had had them so long and was probably just used to the pain. I was so sad for my boy! The pediatrician said “if this was my boy, I would get him ear tubes ASAP.” In hindsight, it seems like every time I took Alec in for a well check, the pediatrician would ask if he had recently been sick because his ears were always a little pink. That confirmed the idea that he was always suffering from ear infections.

On April 9th, Alec had a second more intense Early Intervention evaluation. He was super uncooperative and wanted nothing to do with the woman who came to evaluate him. She seemed to get what she needed from him though, and a week or so later we found out that his scoring was too high in all areas to qualify him for early intervention. I wasn’t too disappointed about this because I still felt like his ear issue might be the root of his delays.

On April 13 I got him into an ENT who confirmed the pink ears and the negative pressure. We discussed ear tub surgery or the possibility of waiting and watching. I felt really good about the surgery and felt like it was the answer we had been looking for. So we went ahead and scheduled the surgery.

Alec had the surgery on April 21st. The scheduled time was 9:15am. Alec wasn’t allowed to eat at all before the surgery and I felt bad that he had to skip breakfast that morning. I am sure he was a little hungry when we arrived at the hospital, but he was in good spirits. They got us back to our room and got him all prepped and then they told us that the surgeon was delayed and it would probably be an hour more. By this time Alec was super hungry and had no interest in staying in our little room. I decided not to cancel though and stuck it out. The delayed surgery time came and went and we were still waiting. At 11 they told us it would be another hour at least. Alec was so grumpy but I decided to not cancel because for all I knew this could just happen the next time we came in and I just wanted it over with. So we stuck it out. They did let us walk around the hospital though and told us they would call when they were ready. Adam brought Jane and Norine to come hang out with us for an hour and then finally they called and said they were ready.

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Waiting and waiting and waiting for surgery.

At about 12:30 they finally took him away for surgery. I waited in the waiting room, less concerned about the actual surgery then I was about getting Alec some food as soon as I could. The surgery only took about 20 minutes, and then the surgeon came out and talked to me. He said everything went great and that there was A LOT of fluid built up in his left ear so it was a good choice to do the surgery. His other ear also had fluid, but not as much. About 10 minutes later they called me back and I was with Alec again. He wasn’t crying or anything and was very calm. I gave him the car I had bought for him, and he watched Mickey Mouse clubhouse. They had juice for him and he downed all the the snacks I brought for him. We were all good and headed home before 2.

Taking him back and away from mama.

Taking him back and away from mama.

In the waiting room. I was more anxious about getting Alec some food than I was the actual surgery!

In the waiting room. I was more anxious about getting Alec some food than I was the actual surgery!

Alec loved the new car I brought him.

Alec loved the new car I brought him.

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Downing his post surgery food.

I had thought Alec would be exhausted that day, but he was his same old self; running and playing and happy as could be. At his next check up on May 5th, everything looked great and the ear tubes are doing their job.

It might be wishful thinking, but Adam and I both felt like his speech started to improve immediately. He had been saying so many more words. He still has a long way to go, but he is definitely saying more words than ever before. He is also a lot less sensitive and is so much happier around other children. He rarely wakes in the night, and when he does it’s only once each night. I am very hopeful that this is the answer to all our concerns with him.

Jane Finishes Another Season of Tumbling

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I gave Jane the choice between swimming lessons, soccer, and tumbling and she chose the later. I don’t know if it’s because she super loved her last tumbling class or because she was just familiar with it, but she had an even better time the second time around.110 112

Her instructors were the same as last time, and they loved having Jane again. It seemed like they had Jane set the example a lot of the time for the other children to follow. Jane didn’t mind that at all and did a great job.

It worked out that Adam could be with Alec most times, but I did have to bring him to class once. It was difficult having him there because he wanted to participate so badly. Luckily they let all the children have free range at the end. Alec LOVED doing the parachute.

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The program was 6 weeks long and was a lot of fun. Jane loved having an activity that was just for her and got her and mama out of the house together a couple times a week. I sure love this girl and I hope she knows that.

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Easter 2015

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The Saturday before Easter, our ward had an Easter Egg hunt and breakfast. They kids had so much fun hunting for Easter Eggs at the church!

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Easter Sunday landed on General Conference weekend this year. Which was wonderful and special, but also meant we had our little ones wear their Easter Sunday Best the week before Easter. The children were so cute in their fancy new get-ups.

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It’s always fun to do a yearly comparison of how the children have grown. Here are the children last Easter.

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We dyed Easter Eggs the day before Easter in between conference sessions. They had so much fun! I decided that Alec could wait another year before participating, so we did it during his naptime. 015

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Saturday night the Easter Bunny stopped by and left a trail for each child leading to their respective baskets. The children love this tradition. They were all so excited about the jelly beans and then their Easter treasures.

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Megan got a fish in her Easter Basket. She was so excited and surprised.
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In between General Conference sessions on Easter Sunday we had a little Easter Egg hunt in the house. The kids loved searching for eggs filled with little toys and candy. It was a hit!

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Alec got a bubble machine in his basket which has been a HUGE hit with the children. He LOVES bubbles and wants me to blow bubbles all.day.long. This machine is a life saver!

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As many of you know, we share a yard with our landlords. They bought their children a trampoline for Easter. The children have loved reaping the benefit of sharing a yard and being able to use the trampoline as well.

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It was a great Easter all around but the most important and wonderful aspect was celebrating the resurrection and life of our Savior. We are so grateful for our knowledge of the atonement and that our family is forever. We always miss our Jack, especially on special days like these, and wonder what it would be like to have our 6 year old boy here with us. We know that our Savior died and then lived again so that we could again be a forever family.

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Alec Turns 2!!!

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Happy Birthday to our sweet Alec Adam!!!

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What a wonderful two years this has been. The time is just FLYING by. Alec is so sweet and such a delight. He is so happy and carefree. He is so quick to laugh and smile.

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However, he is a total boy! He loves to run and jump and kick and throw and crash and growl…He loves superheroes, airplanes, animals and dinosaurs, but his most favorite thing ever is cars, cars, and more cars.

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He is my best eater. It is such a joy and relief to watch him eat anything and everything we put before him. Among his favorite foods are bananas, strawberries, corn dogs, hamburgers, macaroni and cheese, peas, corn, beans and rice, and sandwiches. He will eat pizza…but unlike his sisters, it’s not his favorite!

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Alec favors mommy over anyone else, but he seriously loves each member of his family. He loves to tackle and wrestle with his sisters, and dance and spin with his daddy. He loves, loves, loves babies.

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He still isn’t talking much, but I feel like it’s coming along. I feel like he is standing on a precipice of speech and any moment now it’s just going to take off. He will, however, begin speech therapy next week to aid him in his speech. For as little as he talks, he sure understands so much. His comprehension is amazing. I hope that with time his speech will follow.  He also continues to walk on his tip-toes and his doctor has made a couple of suggestions for us to help him learn to walk more flat-footed. At his two-year appointment, he weighted 26 pounds and was 35.5 inches tall.

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I nursed Alec for the last time on New Years Eve 2014. He adjusted very well (although he continued to ask to nurse right up until a couple of weeks ago! He never got too upset or sad when I told him no.) We also began “sleep-training” at that same time. For about two months we would just sit on the couch in his room quietly until he fell asleep, but one day I decided to just tell him goodnight and the I left and he had zero problem whatsoever with me leaving. He has been going to bed on his own ever since. He goes down around 8pm and gets up around 7am. He naps about 2 hours during the day…although the last couple of weeks he has had several days where he doesn’t sleep at all during nap time and just jabbers and plays. I am so scared he is going to give up naps soon. It is too early, but the exact same age that his sisters stopped napping!!! No!!!

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We put Alec to sleep on his birthday eve in a Birthday Boy t-shirt his Aunt Mary sent him. He woke up on his birthday happy and smiling and excited about the day!

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We had a busy day, but we celebrated him throughout. We did presents after Megan got home from school in the afternoon and cake and ice cream after Adam got home from the night class he teaches in the evening.

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Alec was a little confused by all the action and gifts and cake, but he was ever the happy sweet boy.  His sisters were so sweet to him the entire day and Jane insisted he was only two after he blew out his birthday candles!

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It’s hard to believe my little boy is two. He is seriously such a delight and we are so happy he is a part of our little family. Happy birthday sweet boy! I love you so much!

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Fairy Tea Party at Provo Library

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For years I have seen the “Fairy Tea Party” advertised each spring at Provo Library. I’d always thought it sounded fun but never really followed through to get more information or considered attending. This year, however, I saw the posters and thought we should try it out. I kind of forgot about it until late one Friday night when the Provo Library posted on their Facebook page that tickets went on sale the next morning at 9am. I talked to Megan and asked if she wanted to attend and she originally said no (she’s never too keen to try something new.) Then the next morning at about 8am she told me she changed her mind and she wanted to go. I thought I would go right at 9 when the library opened and when tickets went on sale and figured I would be one of the first to purchase. Adam had to leave for work at 10 and I thought I had plenty of time to get the tickets.

I arrived at the library at about five minutes to 9. I noticed right away that there were a lot of cars. I parked in the underground parking and went inside. I was shocked to see HUNDREDS of people in line to buy the fairy tea party tickets. I had NO IDEA it was that big of a deal. I decided to wait in line for a few minutes to see how fast it moved, knowing I had to get back for Adam to get to work and also knowing they would likely sell out before I could even get a chance to purchase.

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A small section of the ticket line.

As I made my way to the end of the line, I heard someone call out “Elizabeth.” I looked around and didn’t see anyone, but then again they called out, “Elizabeth. Elizabeth Johanson!” I looked up and my neighbor was standing about 50 people back at the front of the line. She motioned me up to join her. I felt a little uncomfortable “cutting” in line, but she and the people around me assured me it was no big deal. She told me she had gotten there at 7:30, and some people had been there since 5:30am! The guy right behind us said his wife sent him at 7:30 and he figured tickets went on sale at 8am. His wife hadn’t told him 9. I just couldn’t believe it. And I couldn’t believe my “good luck” that I was able to be in the front even though I was so uninformed and unprepared. In fact, I got to move even further up because I wanted tickets for the Friday tea instead of Saturday. I ended up being all done purchasing tickets and back in my car by 9:15.

As I was leaving, the man whose wife had sent him to get tickets was being told he couldn’t purchase because he hadn’t brought his library card (he said he didn’t know he needed it.) You could tell he was so flustered and had no idea what he was going to do. He didn’t want to go home empty handed and there was no way he could run and get his card and get back in time to get tickets. I quietly went and handed him my card. He was so so so grateful. All they needed was to see the card to know you were a library patron. He flashed the card and got his tickets. I was glad I was able to pay forward my good fortune of being able to get tickets to someone else.

It might not seem that big of a deal that things worked out so well for me to get tickets, but for me (and for Megan) it was a big deal. She would have been so crushed if I had come home empty handed or had not had been able to stay in line since Adam had to get to work. She had made the difficult decision to try something new and would have been even less willing to make a decision like that in the future if it hadn’t worked out. I am so grateful for the tender mercy with which we were able to get tickets.

Since this post is long enough with just the ticket purchasing background, I’ll just post some pictures of the night with brief captions.

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Pretty fairies all ready to go. As I was purchasing tickets, I decided last minute to grab a couple extra for my two nieces. I figured if they couldn’t make it then it would be easy to find someone to give the tickets to. They could make it and were so excited!

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So beautiful

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Fairy Katherine

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Fairy Megan

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Fairy Jane

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Fairy Norine

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My pretty girls

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Here we go!

We arrived a few minutes early so the girls read some library books while they waited.

We arrived a few minutes early so the girls read some library books while they waited.

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Jane holding tight to her ticket

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Katherine and Megan perusing the program and menu

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The Fairy King opening the festivities. Each ticket had an assigned seat and we had great seats!

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Jane watching the fairy ballet

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Norine watching the fairy ballet

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The girls eating their refreshments. They served strawberries, muffins, cookies, cheese, and water with lemon.

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Katherine and Megan chatting during the party

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Norine was enamored with the ballet fairies. Especially the gold one.

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The girls on the dance floor.

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Beautiful dancing fairies

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Each girl got to curtsey before the king. He gave them all a gold coin they could redeem for a book. Here are the girls posing with the Royal Fairy Court after the party.

All the girls had a wonderful time. They all said they hope to do it again next year. It was so fun to get them all dressed up for a girl’s night out.

Dr. Johanson!!

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On March 5th, Adam had his Thesis Defense!

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Heading out the morning of.

He stood before a committee and talked about his research and accomplishments during his graduate schooling and then they grilled him on the fundamentals of his research and he had to prove he knew his stuff.

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His presentation was about an hour, then they questioned him for an hour, then they sent him out to deliberate and discuss his fate. His presentation went great. And he could answer all their questions – no problem.

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When they called him back in they were all smiles and handshakes and many “Congratulations Dr. Johanson!”s. He just needs to finish up some paperwork to make things super official, but really, things are already pretty official!
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His dissertation is mostly finished, and due in two weeks. He just needs to clean it up and fine tune it, but basically, he’s all finished. He will graduate with his PhD in Astrophysics on April 24th.

I can’t even begin to describe how proud of him I am. He has worked so hard for 4.5 years (and 2 years before that for his Master’s degree…and then of course 4 years before that for his Bachelor’s… )The thing that is most impressive, however, is how well he was able to balance all his many responsibilities. He has been great at balancing his family, church calling, job at UVU, research at BYU, and all the little things in between. He is such a great man and I am so honored to be his wife.

We are anxious and excited to see what is next for our family. Adam has applied to some post doc positions, as well as at some universities for teaching positions. We trust and are faithful that our family will be taken where the Lord would have us go and serve.

Congratulations Dr. Johanson!!! You are AMAZING!

Valentine’s Day 2015

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We had a pretty chill and low-key Valentine’s Day. Adam’s parents sent Adam an Olive Garden gift card for his birthday, so our family went out to dinner a few days after his birthday and a few days before Valentine’s Day and called it good for both ;).

My cousin Sara sent Megan and Jane these bookmark Valentines she made to give to their friends and classmates. Such a big help for me that I didn’t have to make Valentines this year!

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Adam had to work Saturday morning, so while he was gone I made him his favorite dish, pot pie.

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We got the kids little gifts this year. I love any excuse to give them stuff! Megan has been saying since Christmas that she asked for Battleship and didn’t get it (I have no recollection of her asking for it!), so I thought it was the perfect gift for her. Jane still loves Beanie Boos, and Alec needed a backpack to carry around all his action figures.

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For dinner we had our traditional heart-shaped pizza from Papa Murphy’s; a crowd favorite.

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I know some people think Valentine’s Day is a lame, over-rated holiday, but any excuse to shower my family with love is a good excuse for me.

Happy Valentine’s Day from my loves to yours.

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