Sunday, November 4, 2012

Rachel or is it Matilda?

Rachel. Yes, I am finally finishing my series on my children! When Simon was about 10 months old I started feeling very tired and sick, it went on for about 3 weeks, I started to think something terrible was wrong with me. I was talking on the phone to Rick while I was in Target with Bridgette and Simon,  he was at scout camp with Ricky and Ammon. I was telling him how awful I felt when he said "maybe you're pregnant"? "Impossible"! I said, but Rick thought it wouldn't hurt to get a pregnancy test. An hour later in I saw the positive sign, I was in shock, how could this happen? I had always thought there was another girl for us but when Simon was a boy I thought I must have been mistaken. I guess there really was another girl! Rachel came early, 37 weeks and she was a big beautiful baby. She started to have breathing problems but she was treated early and returned home with me from the hospital. Rick insisted she have my name as her middle name but I liked Matilda but we knew it her name should be Rachel, the solution, throw them all in, she was our last so why not. Rick thought it would be cool if her initials spelled farm backyards so Matilda Rachel Anne Furniss, this poor girl, I wouldn't blame her for disowning us when she gets older!

Rachel was a little grumpy but mostly a happy baby, pretty squirmy though, we have never had one of our babies so eager to squirm off our laps, she was sliding off from day one. She loved to be held but also moving about like Bridgette and nursed all the time. She was our earliest walker at 11 months and she mastered climbing everything quickly, she loves to run although she runs like she is running in place, it's pretty cute! Rachel is fun, she gets along with the kids, Simon tried the kids patience so they warmed to Rachel quickly when she was not so in your face! Rachel loves Simon, they do everything together, she calls him "my Simon".

Rachel is scared of animals (a first for our children), loud noises, new places, more so than our other kids however I have noticed she has a thing for performing and when we have been to visit a kids museum or other kid play area if there is a stage or high platform she gets up there and starts speaking loudly. It's bizarre because I don't know where this started but for someone who scares easily she likes the spotlight! Rachel loves to dance and sing, loves dresses and shoes, Bridgette and she get along so well in this area, I am glad they have each other as I am lacking in the shopping and interest in clothes area. Rachel likes to talk to others and tell grown ups who she is and what she likes. She smiles a lot and likes to be crazy, running and wrestling Simon.

Rachel loves her Daddy, she took a while to warm to him and he took that pretty hard but now she is the first to run into his arms when he gets home from work. She will give big long hugs to him and to the rest of us. She doesn't like it when I am out of sight though but she is slowly becoming more relaxed when I have to leave her with a babysitter. I cant imagine life without her, she is wonderful!

I cant imagine life without any of our dear children, they are so different, each with their distinct personalities, I guess that's what makes parenting so challenging yet so rewarding. Each child opens your eyes to a different world, to new possibilities, new heartache, new understanding. They really are a gift that keeps on giving and giving, sometimes too much giving in some areas, but I am learning it is all for a wonderful purpose. They are our teachers, our friends and we need them. I needed them to help me learn and grow and I need them in my old age so I can give them a hard time!

Sunday, March 11, 2012


Simon. When we found out I was  pregnant with Simon, Bridgette was seven, we thought we were not going to have anymore children although there was always a feeling that we weren't done. We were nervous, I was not prepared physically, we were not sure if we were up to having a newborn. There were also the questions,"What if it is a boy?", "Will he have disabilities?" During the pregnancy I had everything planned for an easy return home after a worry free regular delivery we would slip back into our routine. The ultrasounds showed Simon was fine, however at about 36 weeks I started to go into pre-eclampsia, a few days later Simon was born after a hurried c-section and from there my best laid plans went awry! Simon had trouble breathing immediately and hours later his lung collapsed, and then the other was threatening to do the same, he was airlifted to Children's Hospital. The next 48 hours were traumatic. He had several chest tubes and was on a ventilator, he was very sick. He was supposed to stay in the NICU for a month but his recovery went so well he was home in two weeks. I remember the nurses telling me Simon was feisty, he was a fighter, they said even under the highest doses of sedation he would still be kicking his legs. He stayed true to form upon returning home!

Simon was cute, very cute! He was thin everywhere except for his chubby cheeks. He cried a lot, he was cranky but he laughed easily. I remember the first time he laughed he was only 2 months old, Bridgette was trying to put a shoe on his little foot and he laughed out loud, it was bizarre and so wonderful at the same time. He was curious about the world and had to be in on the action. He especially loved Rick, he still does, they are best friends. Rick sat by his bed those first few days in the NICU while I was recovering in a hospital a half hour away. Rick would read to him and hold his hand, I think they developed a bond that will last forever.

Simon also has a knack for getting into trouble. From the time he could get around he began to torment his siblings. He fell down the stairs when he was just barely one and broke his arm, he was in a cast for 6 weeks, that was fun! He choked on a nut and them aspirated it (I know, he should not have had a nut) whereupon he had to have a delicate surgery to remove it from the lung. He is sick often, poor guy. He has breathing problems especially when he is sick but he recovers and is back to living at full speed. He was given a toy lawn mower by a friend when he had just turned one and he loves it. Even on super hot days you will see him out mowing the lawn behind his Dad or Ricky and Ammon. He loves to work and copy what all the big kids are doing.

Simon is tenacious, perhaps the most strong willed person I have ever known, and I have known some doozies! He loves anything on wheels, especially motor bikes. He loves anything to do with space. Simon is a natural with animals, he thinks they are fun. He loves to learn, especially learning the hard way! He loves his friends and would rather be playing with them than doing almost anything else. We love Simon, he requires a lot of patience some days but he is always ready to give hugs and make someone laugh. We look forward to the next 20 years, he is going to do some great things, I just hope we can keep up!

Here he is showing his handsome face. The other is a photo from the Science center, he's blasting off!

Monday, March 5, 2012


Bridgette. She came a couple of weeks early and after a long and grueling labor she emerged beautiful and chubby. She was lovely to look at and loved to be held. She was feisty from the beginning to. When she wasn't being held she was screaming. The boys didn't know what to think of her. The first time they saw me change her nappy they were horrified, "Mum, she's broken, she doesn't have a (fill in blank), you have to take her back to the baby store!". That's when I explained what a girl was. Ammon was less impressed with her as the days went on and wanted to get rid of her as soon as possible, "Are we done babysitting yet, can we take her back to her home?" Eventually they warmed to her, about seven years later!

Bridgette loved to be busy, she was constantly creating something. She loves other children. We moved to Minot Air Force base when she was a baby. A family moved into the adjoining duplex with little children and Bridgette loved to play with them in the summer. We had a little swing set and by the time she was three she could swing herself for an hour at a time. Bridgette was non stop and bored easily, winters in North Dakota were not easy on any of us but especially Bridgette. We did adapt though. Bridgette was out playing in below zero temps with her brothers a lot of those winter days, she loved sledding and making snow angels. She loved dresses and shoes and jewelry, she was a real girl, I unfortunately was a bit a of tomboy so I did not always understand her needs! She had a pink nightie with a flowing skirt she loved from about 18 months old and she had to wear it everyday. She wore it over her clothes every day and then when we went out she wore it over her coat, it was stretched to the max. That went on for about a year, she also wore a full petticoat with a full skirt over her clothes for a long time as well, it was a great look with snow boots! We had many a battle. I knew early on this was a determined soul who had come to our family!

Bridgette has mellowed quite a lot as far as the screaming goes, that eventually died down at about 5 years old! Of course she loves school. Loves her friends and teachers. She is kind and helpful. She loves art and is adamant she will be an art teacher when she grows up. Bridgette has tried many activities, right now it's violin. She also does a Korean form of martial arts with her Dad and brothers called Kuk Sool Won, she is a natural. A lot of things come naturally to Bridgette but not always the ability to stick with it, she's getting better though. This weekend she performed in the Shakespeare play "Romeo and Juliet", she was sad at breakfast this morning because she knew there would be no more play practice after school. I knew she was thinking about what she could do next. I get a little scared when I see that face, her Dad gets it a lot.

The past few years have been challenging for Bridgette. She was the "baby" and the only girl for the first seven, nearly eight years of her life then came along Simon and Rachel and she became an instant "middle child". It's a big change but nobody was happier about having some more kids in the house than Bridgette. She was an outsider to Ricky and Ammon. I remember when Bridgette was about six years old she came to me crying about some injustice that  had occurred that involved her brothers. Ricky and Ammon had finally allowed Bridgette to enter their elaborate imaginary world where they have an exclusive super hero team called Team K. Apparently Bridgette had been left in charge of headquarters while the boys went on a mission, she had been tricked by their evil nemesis and allowed him to enter the headquarters whereupon he destroyed it! When the boys returned she was immediately thrown off the team. It would be several months before she was allowed back in, those were rough months! Her relationship has improved rapidly since the last two children came along, to the boys Bridgette is a regular kid now compared to two grumpy toddlers!

Here is a couple of photos. One is from Halloween 2011, she loves to be photgraphed. I would too if I looked like her! She is still lovely inside and out.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Ammon. When we were thinking of names for a baby while I was pregnant with our second child the name Ammon came up. He was a favorite missionary from the Book of Mormon for both of us, he is a favorite for a lot of people because, well, he's awesome! We had never intended to name one of our children something unusual  but Ammon just felt right. I was induced at 40 weeks and had what appeared to be a normal delivery. Ammon was a big baby, everything about him was big, hands, ears, head circumference. He slept through the night from day one and only woke up to nurse once every three hours during the day. I thought he was too tired though, I knew enough about babies to know that he was too sleepy.

When Ammon was about 3 months old he started to be more alert and was happy. It was easy to get a grin from him. He was fun. He was a floppy baby, carrying him was exhausting! It was even more exhausting as he didn't walk until he was 2. We also had trouble understanding anything he was saying. About this time we moved and we found a new pediatrician who began to suspect something was wrong. By this point I had a complex about Mothering! We moved again and joined the Air Force and met a nurse practitioner who referred us to a neurologist who informed us Ammon had suffered a stroke inutero or at birth, an MRI confirmed her diagnoses. I will always remember the moment the Doctor said stroke, I was shocked, can that happen to a baby? I was also relieved to know what was wrong, it was a like there was a weight lifted for a moment but then came the crashing reality that it was brain damage, it was permanent but fortunately it was mild . He began more occupational and physical therapy, he was already in speech and language therapy.

Ammon had the dearest most wonderful pre-school special education teacher in the world, Miss Patty, she was such a blessing. Miss Collette was his speech teacher, she taught Ricky as well, she was gifted. I think we moved to North Dakota for the boys, they needed Dakota Elementary on Minot Air Force base. Minot-now that's a whole other story!!

Ammon is 14 now, he is in 8th grade in middle school. He is the sweetest 14 year old I know. He is blessed with the very best of natures, he is handsome with dark brown eyes, he is a big guy! He is a little bit stubborn but has a great sense of humor, he is fun! He doesn't like school but he goes and the teachers like him. He would rather be home looking at his Pokemon collection and eating sandwiches and hanging out with his best friend, his brother Ricky. Ammon has taught us many things about patience, like, we need more of it. He detests contention of any kind and has a hard time when there is a trouble maker about. He also likes to point out the obvious. I remember sitting in a waiting room when Ammon started talking to a young man next us "Why is your nose so big?" says Ammon "I don't know" says the nice young man. I guess most kids do this but when your kid is not 4 anymore you are hoping and praying for the patience of the person on the spot. We learned recently from a respected pediatric neurologist that even if Ammon had not had a stroke he still would have had learning disabilities. We have decided Ricky and Ammon had come to this life the way they were supposed to, we are grateful for all they have taught us!

The photo below was taken at the Lincoln Museum, you should go, it was amazing. This photo of Ammon is a typical moment for him, with Ricky enjoying the joke!

Monday, February 20, 2012


My new blogging resolve is to post something everyday. It's something I have wanted to do regularly, especially since our extended family is so spread out and are always so happy when we actually post something and also to inspire me to keep a more complete history of our family. My journal writing has suffered the past couple of years so to think that a few people might be counting on me to write something everyday will be a motivator to keep going. I am going to write about each of our children this week.

 Ricky. He was born in Payson Utah a couple of weeks early, he was not breathing too well at first, he had to stay in hospital for a couple of weeks with chemical pneumonia and group B strep infection. He was healthy otherwise and so cute, I remember one of the pediatricians (who I called the "Baywatch doctor" because he was handsome and confident) said that Ricky was handsome, he said he doesn't say that to all the Mothers and then he pointed out another baby that was not so handsome. I was flattered, my baby is gorgeous, I knew it! Of course I was absolutely heartbroken each day when I had to leave him there.

 One day I came in and he looked like a four ended cotton bud, his hands and feet were wrapped in white warm towels and they had been taped on. The nurse explained they were having trouble getting a good vein for an IV so they were trying to bring the veins to the surface. I was sent out of the room not long after and cried like a little girl into Rick's shoulder because I could not be there to comfort my baby. I remember looking down at Ricky in that little bed and thinking, he doesn't understand, is this what he thinks life is like? I couldn't wait to take him home and wrap him in soft blankets and hold him and nurse him and help him forget this place.

 Ricky was about one when we began to notice he was different, but he was also just like other kids, it's impossible to explain! Others tried to comfort us and told me not to worry, but a Mother knows, I doubted myself those first years, there were many dark moments, what am I doing wrong etc. He was tested for all kinds of things over the next five years. We heard about Aspergers, it was a brand new syndrome, not every doctor knew about it then. He was labelled with many things, somantic pragmatic disorder. pervasive developmental disorder. short term memory loss. Perhaps the lack of oxygen to brain at birth had caused damage, most babies die or suffer severe brain damage from a group B strep infection but since he was treated immediately with antibiotics he escaped the worst- we heard all kinds of theories from specialists. Eventually came the diagnoses of Aspergers and learning disabilities, we were told we would never know why. Why, it is pointless to ask it but we still do.

 So our dear Ricky is now 16, he is a sophomore in high school. He has struggled and floundered but also grown and become a wonderful young man, and he is still handsome, the Baywatch doctor was right! He is shorter than most guys his age but he has a strong build. He is unsure of many things but is absolutely sure of others. Morally he is a rock, you better not swear in his presence! He loves reading the Percy Jackson series, we eventually bought it for him. He likes the fact that Percy has what everyone in the world thinks is ADD but is actually part of his god like abilities, super powers. Ricky has an elaborate imaginary world he has created where he has numerous powers, it's been going on for about 10 years now. We don't know what the future holds for Ricky, we are trying to help him plan for the future but it's tricky. This is a whole other subject! So here is my favorite video from 2011, and now that you know a little about Ricky you will know why I cried when I saw it.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Well it's been over a year since I last posted. Why? Well for the very few that check here every now and again I have no explanation. I have been going through some tough spots in my life, a lot happened in 2011. Perhaps I didn't want to post about the not so fantastic things but I may in the future. We had a family photo taken in the fall. I figured this was a good place to start my return. I should say here that I love my husband Rick, he is a spectacular man and I know I am very fortunate to have him in my life. I have 5 wonderful beautiful children, I forget how blessed I am to have them even though I find them exhausting at times! 2012 is going to be great!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

White Christmas 2010

We had a great Christmas. Lots of parties. We received some lovely gifts and had the chance to relax and be together. We have had a crazy year and needed some time out, especially Rick who has had a lot going on. Last Christmas we got a dusting of snow and we were thrilled about it. This year we got an even bigger treat when we got about 2 inches of snow on Christmas Eve! It was not a ton but it was enough to go sledding and make the world a winter wonderland. This was what our yard looked like Christmas Eve.

The kids had to wait a while for us to get out of bed Christmas morning as Simon and Rachel had a restless night and we were up late finishing the wrapping etc. As you can see they were anxious to open presents.

Ammon with his Pokemon Wii game. They combined his two loves!

Ricky with his Sonic Wii game and controller. He had a great day playing video games with Ammon and Bridgette

Bridgette on her skateboard?? This was the one request I was confused by, she wanted a skateboard so Santa granted her request. We shall see how this turns out.

Simon with his Thomas the tank engine set, he loves it and will not be separated from his trains now.

Rachel with her little activity centre. She was busy getting into everyone elses toys on Christmas day.

I made homemade eggnog and Rick was trying to polish it off. This is a joke by the way, he just wanted to illustrate how good it was. I made it for a party we had gone to the night before and everyone was loving it. It really is a once a year treat as the calories are off the charts.

Christmas morning videos for the grandparents. The last video was taken after I set up the nativity sets and Simon was playing with them, it was so cute.