Sunday, December 30, 2007


Rachael picks #1 and opens Ratatouille with the option of
taking home a used TV. (from the Whitcombs)

The annual White Elephant was held last night at my parent's home in Belmont, MA. We started the night off with a wonderful dinner prepared by mom. Some of our siblings weren't able to make it along with my husband who had to work. It was a mild night with a few good laughs. Before I tell you who got what, I will fill you in on how we play this fun little game. We all pick a number from 1-9 and the person who picks #1 gets to choose first and last. We have a rule that you can either pick from the pile or choose somebody else's gift. Each gift can only be stolen no more than 3 times and number one gets to choose from anyone's pile. Some years it has gotten pretty crazy but this year we were good. This is how it went...Rachael got #1 and opened Jenny's gift, a movie called "Ratatouille" with the option of taking a used TV that they brought. Zach got #2 and picked Aaron's gift which was a box of used DVD's and all the stuff needed to throw a Luau. I picked #3 and got Zach's pile of used books. Lets just say that no one was eager to steal my gift. Mom picked #4 and chose dad's gift which was the coveted gift of the night. (his usually are) It was a tote filled with crafts for scrapbooking and such. Aaron was #5 and picked mom's gift which was a brand new frying pan. Roger was #6 and instead of choosing an unopened gift, he stole Aaron's frying pan which meant that Aaron had to open a new gift. He happened to choose mine which was a container of homemade granola along with some stuff that I tried to get rid of last year but ended up with it by the end of the night. He was groaning when he opened that part of the gift. (hee,hee) Jen was #7 and stole the tote from mom. Mom had to open another gift and chose Rachael's, which was a bunch of stuff for young mother's. (she happily shared with Alana afterward) #8 was dad who stole from Aaron because he wanted the homemade granola. Aaron again chose from the pile and picked Roger's gift which was a book on tape and the promise of homemade maple syrup in the spring. (yum) Alana was #9 and she decided that instead of opening a gift whe would steal the movie from Rachael with the option of also taking the used TV with it - she declined and kept only the movie. Rachael was the last one to go and had to open the remaining gift from Alana. It was a CD from the Tabernacle Choir called "The Lillies of the Field" and along with that she made a homemade cheese cake. Rachael decided to steal instead of keeping her gift and took the coveted tote from Jenny. Were you able to follow all of that? The pictures below are in order from first to last with a few steals here and there. We ended the night with homemade icecream (pumpkin and twix) that Zach and Alana had made in mom's new icecream maker. It was YUM!! Looking forward to next year when we'll have more siblings present.

Saturday, December 29, 2007


Last night was the third annual alumni basketball game for the high school that I used to attend. Because there are so many alumni that show up, we end up playing against each other. The two teams are divided into the older group and younger group. I (for 3 years running) am the oldest of all the girls by atleast 6 years. Hopefully we'll be able to round up some more oldies so that I don't feel so aged. Anyway, the game was a lot of fun and the oldies ended up defeating the younger alumni by almost half. The final score was 64-38. My son Kaleb was the only one from my family that attended this year and so to give him something to do I had him film and take pictures. For an 11 year old I think he did pretty well. I wanted to post some pictures to give you a little flavor of his flair for photography. He also took some video, but because there wasn't very much (I think he found videoing a little boring) I took some mini clips of what there was and put them together. You'll find the video at the bottom. It was a fun night and I'm glad that Kaleb was able to be a part of it. Thanks to my coach Ernie Bardier, he refs the game every year. It is always fun to see him. Hopefully I'll be able to keep this up for a couple more years...

Kaleb took this shot during the game.
I was at the foul line shooting two. This
is the only action picture out of many
that actually came out semi-clear.

Thursday, December 27, 2007


Max with his best friend Tiger Sue

It's funny how different people love different breeds of dogs. For us, its PUGS. Who can resist their wrinkly, smushed little faces? The first pug we adopted was from the local humane society. His name is Tiger Sue. We have had him now for about 18 months. We decided that we loved the breed so much that we would look for another one. This time we wanted to start with a puppy so we did extensive research on the internet and found that they aren't cheap. After much looking around we saw that one particular breeder in NH was giving a "special needs" pug away at a significantly reduced price. He had some problems with his eyes. We snatched him right up. Tiger Sue officially belongs to Kayla and Max officially belongs to Kaleb. Stevie is wondering when her pug is coming. The funny thing about our dogs is that they love to have human contact and will get it in anyway they can. My favorite is when I have Ben in his beanbag and they hop right up and snuggle with him. Ben doesn't seem to mind. Occassionally I will have to remove Max from off of his head. For whatever reason, Max seems to think that Ben's head is a really neat place to lay. Aside from a few annoying things our pugs are great family pets. They hardly make a peep, are never seen apart from one another, love to snuggle and be carried around like little babies and love all of us unconditionally. What more could we ask for?

Ben and his buddies

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Becky opening her favorite gift on Christmas
I thought and thought about what I wanted to blog about today and decided that it was going to be about my favorite gift from Christmas. To give you a little background about this "book" that I am holding, I'm going to take you back to 1995 (wow...can't believe its been 12 years), the year my oldest daughter was born. I was living in Rexburg, Idaho going to colleg with my husband and my mom was out for a visit. While there my mom checked out the local Desseret Industries (comparable to Salvation Army) for a quick peruse. She happened upon this book called "A Creed for the Third Millenium" and decided (for whatever reason) that she would buy it - it was only a dollar I think. Upon brining it back to my apartment and browsing through it she realized that it really wasn't what she thought it was. After her departure I noticed that it had been left behind. (rude) So I called her and she said "oops, sorry about that." (uh huh) I decided that I would pay the couple of dollars to ship it all the way back to her in Massachussetts. (just to be a little obnoxious myself) Before I did, I wrote on the inside cover of the book a little note to warn her that she cannot get away with leaving her "unwanted" items at my house for me to dispose of and of course I told her how much I love her too. That is how this tradition got started. The next time I came into possession of it was during a visit back at my parent's home for Christmas. My mom somehow snuck it into my luggage for me to eventually find when we arrived back in Idaho and unpacked. It brought a big smile and comfort to me as we were far away at the time. This book has been passed now for 12 years and the excitement comes from hiding it in places where it will eventually be found. We always include a note and lately pictures to go along with it. One time I hid it on my mom's bookshelf amongst the hundreds of books when she was in Florida for three years. I think it took her about 6 months to find it. It has been such a treasure to me as I am sure it is to her as well. This year my mom wrapped it in a quilt that she made for Benjamin. I hope that this will continue on for years to come and that someday we will have the book filled. Below are some example of how we write our little notes to each other. Merry Christmas everyone!

Today we finally received the answer we were hoping for. Ben's cultures have finally grown out their susceptibilities and from the way they look, the infectious disease team thinks that it must have been a contamination both times. They can't be 100% sure but with the combination of the results and from the way that Ben looks we are all comfortable having him stay home. Hooray! Hopefully this will be it for a while. Thanks again for all that was done for our family during this crazy time of year. We love you guys!

Monday, December 24, 2007


Kayla, Stevie and Kaleb getting ready to
load boxes into the paddy wagon
Kayla demonstrates her wrapping skills
Sergeant Sharon (she's the woman!), Becky
and my hubby Officer Orton
Dashi (Bob Young), Becky, Officer Orton, and Carl Young
make a fantastic team together
Stevie shows her enthusiasm
Sergeant Sharon (the one who makes this happen),
Santa and Officer Liza
Becky and Steve in the paddy wagon making deliveries
Even Ben went out to deliver gifts to the
needy children of Laconia

The Orton family tradition on Christmas Eve is to deliver presents to needy families in Laconia. Sgt. Sharon does the bulk of the work getting the names of the families, making a list of needs, shopping for all the toys and clothes and wrapping and organizing the presents into boxes. On Christmas Eve, Officer Orton (my husband), Santa Claus and all the little helpers travel by paddy wagon and deliver these boxes to all the families in need. We have such a blast and it is such a rewarding experience to see all the little children get so excited to see the Police officers and Santa coming to deliver their gifts.


(...we left the hospital last night around 5pm after having to wait around for lots of decisions to be made. The big pain of the day was the "Infectious Disease" team. They decided that since Ben had two positive blood cultures that they wanted him to stay in the hospital until the susceptibilities grew back seeing that he was growing coag negative staph. If by chance they came back matching each other they would hold him for further testing and treatment - ugh. I really wanted to get home and had the full support of the PICU team behind me. We made the choice to go home, but since he was still on IV antibiotics, they needed to switch him over to an oral one. The problem with that is that he has lots of allergies and so they made me hang out for a couple of hours to make sure there were no reaction to this specific med. Thankfully he was fine and we were able to leave. The gamble with leaving is that depending on what the cultures grow they told me I might have to come back the next day. we waited for the call and it came around noon time. We were told that the lab never even started the susceptibilities until this morning which means another day of waiting - ugh. They're killing me! We are supposed to get a call in the morning to know whether or not we have to go back. What a Christmas surprise! I'll keep you posted.... )

Sunday, December 23, 2007


Update as of 4:30pm:
Ben's doctor's told us that they would really like him to stay another night while the blood cultures grow out, results will be in the earliest tomorrow. However they do understand the desire to be home with family so they have left it up to me. We have decided to go home and take the chance that we might have to return to the PICU tomorrow. They are concerned that if the blood cultures (two of them) grow out the same that Ben is dealing with some source of infection in his body that we are unaware of. If that is the case we will come back tomorrow for more tests and IV antibiotics. Hopefully this is not the case and we will be able to stay home for Christmas. Please keep Benjamin in your prayers. Thanks to all!!!
Ben with Santa Claus

Now that I have created this blog, I thought I would take the opportunity to update everyone on Ben's progress. We have been here for 5 days now and he has done remarkably well. He is completely off his oxygen and c-pap which is wonderful. The reason we are still here is because he has had two blood cultures come back positive for the same bug. Initially they thought it was a contaminate and not a real infection, but because a second one came back positive it makes them wonder just a bit. He is on an IV antibiotic that they wanted him to stay on for 7 days which would have put us here through Christmas. (the "infectious disease" team that is) But...we have come up with a better plan. As long as the ID team agrees, I will be going home with Ben today and continuing his antibiotics "intramuscularly", meaning that I will give him a couple shots once a day for the rest of the duration. That means we can be home for Christmas - yay!!! We have been so blessed by friends and neighbors during this stay. Some have finished my Christmas shopping, others have fed us generously and some have dropped off random gifts as well. We can't thank all those little santa's helpers for everything that you have done for my family. We so appreciate the kindness and generosity. We are looking forward to Christmas so that we can be together again as a family. May you all enjoy this holiday season and remember to hug your kids and family a little tighter as there are still many children and families that won't be home for Christmas this year.

Saturday, December 22, 2007


Becky, Steve and Ben

Happy Holidays to my family all over the United States! As a Christmas Present to my sister Amy, I am starting a blog so that she and others can see and hear how we are doing. Right now I am in the hospital with Ben and don't have access to all my pictures and videos, but once I am home I will be able to share more with you.

Many of you remember the daily blog that Aaron kept and how much we all enjoyed it. The nice thing about this site is that it is SO easy to use. Even the grandkids can create their own page. On behalf of the family members who are far away I would like to invite all of my parents and siblings along with neices and nephews if they want, to create a page and start communicating more. Here's to a new and wonderful year!!! Happy blogging my family.