Thursday, December 30, 2010


A few days late. (What?  I've been busy)  Steve and I don't typically exchange gifts. Our love is our gift to each other. (I KNOW, right?) But this year he surprised me with this thoughtful gift. (please excuse the teary morning look)  It's a mirror with laser etched pictures of Ben. Very sweet and I love it!
Kayla LOVES her new speaker/clock/radio dock for her IPOD.  Can you SEE how she is oozing with excitement? (she really is, just doesn't like morning pictures...can't say I blame her)
THANKS Grandma and Grandpa Orton!!!
 Stevie got JUST what she wanted  A new piano. (ours is less than desirable) She hasn't stopped playing since Christmas morning.
THANKS Grandma and Grandpa Orton!!!
 Kaleb was invited to play on an indoor soccer team.  So for Christmas he got a pair of indoor soccer shoes. I waited until a week before to pick up his shoes, but found out none of the stores carried bigger than a 13.  (SHOOT!)  I was left with online shopping.  That's when I found out that the color selection over size 13 is LESS than desirable.  (thank goodness his favorite color is orange)  I mean COME ON!  The kids feet are big enough without having the shoe companies offer only CLOWN COLORS for shoes.  Seriously, it was either this choice or florescent green and purple.  Good grief.  He seems to like them so I guess that's all that matters.  Merry Christmas Bubs and happy playing!
We had a lovely Christmas with my parent's this year.  I don't remember the last Christmas we spent with them so it was a great distraction for me and the family since this was our first one without Ben.  Thanks for a great weekend! xoxo

Monday, December 27, 2010


Nothing spells Christmas Vacation like:
 That and some hot chocolate and fried dough.
Thank goodness for the hired help...
because the man with the snowblower is down and out with a stomach bug.
I just might take these merry helpers to the movies later on.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010


We love you!
The Orton Family

Thursday, December 23, 2010


Just as I was lying down to take a nap, Kaleb walked through the door after a long day at school.  So much for resting.  The first thing he tells me is that he was too sick to eat lunch.  (please don't let it be the stomach flu)  I voice that wish out loud but he tells me not to worry because he's not really sick.  He just BECAME sick after watching part of the movie Jurassic Park 3.  WHAT?!?  I asked him what class did he see it in.  Science.  Hmmm...wasn't really aware that Jurassic Park 3 was on the curriculum.  He continued to fill me in on all the gory detail which included body parts being ripped apart by these dinosaurs.  No wonder he didn't have an appetite for lunch.  The second half of the movie they finished towards the end of the day.  Again he fills me in on all the horror.  I'm sitting there listening, but feeling enraged that the school would allow a PG-13 movie to be shown with out parental consent.  My kids have to be at least 13 to watch PG-13 and then the movie has to be approved before we will let them see it.  I've seen the first Jurassic movie and it's scary.  I just looked up the third and this is what it says about the rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sci-fi terror and violenceNot just for terror and violence, INTENSE terror and violence.  Firstly, (is that even a word?) I'm not a fan of movies being shown at school.  I feel like kids spend way too much time in front of screens.  School should be the LAST place they watch TV.  (unless it has an educational purpose)  Secondly, it's illegal to show a movie outside the privacy of your home unless you have a license to do so.  I will be following up with that one.  Thirdly, (I could go on and on) it's CHRISTMAS!  If they were going to show a movie, couldn't they have picked the classic Charles Dickens', "A Christmas Carol"? (or something of the like)  I'm annoyed.  I did call the principle and we discussed the matter.  Because the teacher's were already out the door, she will have to wait until after the break to follow up.  You can bet I'll be calling first thing January 3, 2011.  Any thoughts?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


I've had my red van now for 5 years.  It's been a really good vehicle for us.  Our good mechanic knew we needed a new (used) van and hooked us up with a 2001 Chevy Venture for a steal.  I was so grateful to have a back door that opened again, (had to carry Ben everywhere because I couldn't transport his wheelchair with a broken hatch) AND to have windows that rolled up and down AND to have heat in the winter and A/C in the summer.  What a luxury.  5 years later my driver side window won't roll down (that's fun when going through toll booths), the heat is barely a whiff of warmth, the A/C is gone and the gas gauge has never worked.. back door still opens and shuts.  Ah...the gas gauge.  No big deal, right?  We just keep track of the miles.  Five years we've been doing this and never had a problem running out of gas, until now.  In less than a month I've done it twice.  TWICE!  I just can't figure it out.  This morning I loaded my middle two children and the cute neighbor girl into my car and headed up our street.  It had snowed about 1/2 an inch and so at first it felt like the car was slipping a little bit.  (DUH!)  I got to the top of the hill and turned right onto a major road, rt. 11.  The car was still slipping a little, except now the roads were clear.  We headed up for about 1/2 mile when I knew that something was wrong.  (maybe because my 'check engine' light was FLASHING!  I'm smart like that.)  I wasn't really sure what to do as this road has no good pull-offs.  The car sputtered and stuttered and finally came to a complete stop.  Have you ever tried to maneuver a car that has no power?  Good times.  I jammed on my breaks to stop us from rolling and then turned my hazards on.  That's when I threw my car into neutral and decided to let it coast backwards, the wrong way down rt. 11.  (closer to my house and hoping to get off the busy road)  My kids played the duck and hide role out of extreme embarrassment, especially since it was rush hour school traffic and all their friends were staring at us as they passed/drove by.  (I love when my kids are mortified by me...makes me laugh)  "Everybody smile and wave!"  I say in my most sarcastic and cheery voice.  We made it back to the Gunstock Inn's parking lot which is located just up the street from my house where a working truck with 3 guys were sitting and waiting for me to pull in.  I jump out of the car since the windows are broken, still in my pajamas, and yell "I'm all set thank you!"  My phone starts ringing off the hook.  (it's a small town)  Not more than a minute later I have a couple of friends taking the kids to school and me to my house to get the gas can.  I say good bye to the kids and wonder what kind of story the neighbor girl will have for her mom when she gets home from school.  Maybe she'll tell her what MAD reverse maneuvering skillz I have.  Then again...maybe not.  In the meantime, I promise, cross my heart, that I will never (hopefully) let my car run dry again.  
And in honor of my 'RESCUE-EES', I made these.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


 THIS came in the mail last night.  What a thoughtful gift from our cute friends in Australia.  I love that Lisa bought one for Ben AND Noah.  She took a picture for me so that I could post it.  I'm not as good a photographer as Lisa, but I wanted a similar shot.  I wish I could have taken it with my real Ben, but this was the best I could do.  (the lighting is not good either because it was taken at night)
(This sketch of Benny is from our trip to Disney World, it's hanging right next to our tree)
Thank you Lisa...for making my day a little brighter.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


My poor twin Benjamin out in Utah recently suffered a severe concussion from a basketball game.  Unfortunately he didn't seek help from the doctor right away and continued on with (somewhat) normal life for a week after.  6 days later he passed out/blacked out, earned himself an ambulance ride as a result of a 911 call and landed himself in the ER with the diagnosis of a class 3 concussion.  Pretty much the worst kind.  He's now on complete bed rest and is out of work for at least three weeks.  He's been living in a dark room with sun glasses and earmuffs to block out noise.  Any stimuli causes him to become nauseous, dizzy and blackout.  He's in bad shape and could certainly use all the prayers you can muster.  Today was the first time he has personally communicated with us.  Here is a snippet of his email:  "Good news – I no longer have to wear sun glasses at all times of the day. Any kind of light was so painful – nauseating – and noise, oh, man. I’ve been wearing shooting range ear thingies to block out noise. Those are only on some of the time now."  I couldn't help but laugh as I associated THIS picture of my Ben with my twin in Utah.  
(guess their names aren't the only thing they had in common) 

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Remember when I purchased my very first pair of kickin' (brown) boots?  It was just about a year ago.  Since that time I have acquired a second pair (black) of boots because I love them so.  Today I was getting dressed and pulled out (what I thought were) my brown boots, zipped them up and walked out the door for church.  30 minutes later I was sitting next to Bubby during Sacrament Meeting, rubbing his back while listening to the speakers.  All of sudden Kaleb sits straight up, leans over to me and whispers, ", you have two different boots on."  What?!?  Couldn't be.  We were sitting near the front of the Chapel and at that moment I felt like all eyes were on me as I peered over my knees and down at my feet.  Yup.  I was wearing my brown AND black boots.  Laughter bubbled up from below as I tried to stifle it.  My eyes were watering from laughing (silently) so hard!  It didn't help that Kaleb poked his dad on the other side of him and pointed out my fashion faux pas.  He immediately broke out in laughter and poked his two girls to LOOK at mom's feet.  They in turn poked those sitting next to them.  It was a Domino effect of epic proportion.  I just want you to know that I stayed.  I braved out the rest of the 3 hour church block with my high fashion, mis-matched boots.  I think I'll start a new trend.

(thank goodness for Stevie's sense of fashion, most eyes were fixed on this beauty of an outfit)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


(Chronicled by Dad)
While I was busy helping to coach Kaleb's team at practice, Steve picked Kayla up from home and drove her to her first High School basketball game.  She's a JV starter as a freshman.  Here she is on the way to her game in Dad's 1990 Chevy truck.  Rock on! 
(can you tell how excited he was to capture this FIRST with his daughter?  Pretty dang cute.)
(And he makes fun of ME for capturing everyday moments.)  
He got a picture of her walking into the High School.
And then one of her walking into the gym.
(I love it, but it makes me laugh...I told him he's hired for future blog posts)
 Bubby and I showed up after his practice just in time for her game to start.  
 She forgot to put her knee pads on the first time around, so I made her go back again to put them on.
(the floor can be hard on girls with arthritis)
 And can you tell how much she LOVED getting her picture taken?  
Seriously dad, she's trying to focus on her game.  (sheesh)
And the game begins.
Gilford won by 20+ points.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Tonight was the Make-A-Wish annual Christmas party.  It's pretty much the funnest party EVER.  Of course we were really sad to go without Ben...he was always the guest of honor from our family.  I know he was there in spirit.  The theme for this year was "Under The Big Top" so we brought two of Ben's BIG elephants to represent.  The nice thing is that we were able to help out a little bit instead of completely receiving.  I say a little bit because you would be amazed at how many volunteers showed up to help.  WOW!  There were college kids and credit union people and random folks off the street.  It's always lovely to see so many people willing to help. I wish I had more pictures to share, but I was put on "picture taking duty" with our Wish Granters camera so SHE has all the pictures.  (hopefully I can get access to them soon)  There were lots of tables with so many things to do; sand art, face painting, beauty salon, ornament making, cupcake decorating, etc.  They always have a fun raffle where the kids win all kinds of donated gifts.  There were bouncy houses and basketball hoops, Santa's visit, photo booth, lots of characters roaming the party (Mickey, Minnie, Rudolph, Frosty) and FOOD!  Lots and lots of food.  The favorite every year is the chocolate fountain.  Our wish granters Maureen and Kim are the ones that pull the whole party off each year (AMAZING ladies), we feel so lucky to count them as family.  The news channel WMUR 9 showed up to do a piece on Make-A-Wish and Maureen approached our family and asked us if we would represent all the wish families.  How could we say no?  I'm not one that loves public speaking so Steve graciously stepped up as spokesperson while the rest of us stood there and looked pretty.  (ok, not really.  Kaleb was yawning in the background, I was teary, Kayla was embarrassed and Stevie had a giraffe painted all over her face)  Good times.  Hopefully they edit it to make us look good. :)  We are so grateful to this organization and look forward to many more ways to help give back now that Ben has passed away.  Thank you Kim and Maureen, thank you for making wishes come true. xo
On a side note, as we were driving home, we ran out of gas.  Thankfully we were just about a mile away from the gas station when it happened.  We pulled over into the breakdown lane, coasting about 10 miles an hour in neutral, when Steve told Kaleb to jump out and start pushing.  (he didn't want to completely stop the car from rolling)  10 miles an hour doesn't seem fast but when you're trying to jump out, it's a lot faster than it looks.  He did the 'tuck and roll' and had to sprint to catch up to us.  I think Steve anticipated the car coming to a complete stop but we were on a slight decline which kept the car rolling.  Kaleb couldn't keep up so now he's getting further and further behind (on the side of the highway, in the dark).  I told Steve to STOP the car but he didn't want to because it was moving steadily in the right direction.  I jumped out of the car and ran back to meet Kaleb who kept up a steady jog.  Steve finally slowed the car down enough for us to catch up.  He kept the car rolling, jumped OUT and maintained steering while I jumped INTO the drivers seat and took control.  (it was a three ring circus act...good grief)  I steered the car the last 1/4 mile while the two beefy boys in back pushed us into the gas station.  Nothing like an adventure on a cold, Sunday evening.  Thankfully I had $20 in cash (thank you Kathy) which gave us 6 gallons - enough to make it home.  
Here are some photo booth pictures from tonight...enjoy!

Friday, December 3, 2010


Welcome home Officer Orton...we missed you!

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Tonight was Kayla's high school choral concert.  She is NOT feeling well.  (as you can see in the second and third pictures)  A couple of the songs she was trying not to cough and draw attention to herself.  Hard to do up on stage.  I am including a video of one of the songs they performed.  You can see how miserable she is during the song.  Aside from the fact that she wasn't feeling well, it was a lovely performance.
Kayla is middle left.  Her best friend Kelsey is back row center right. (diagonal from Kayla)