Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

my parents drove up to join us in snowy Ithaca for our last Thanksgiving.
We shopped, we ate, the kids went to see Frozen on Thanksgiving day, we saw the "Lights on the Lake" in Syracuse, and Drew even got to stay up late the night before they left to open an early Christmas present.

Of course a trip to upstate New York around Thanksgiving wouldn't be complete without a trip to Skaneateles. We went for our third and final year and decided that this was the coldest visit yet. 

We're excited to spend next year's Thanksgiving in New York City watching the balloons glide down 6th ave.

Monday, November 11, 2013


The verb wait means to stay in place until something else happens. As a noun, wait refers to the time spent waiting.

Homophones don't typically mean the same thing but right now weight and wait have a similar meaning to me. 

I started a new dose of anti-thyroid medication for my graves disease. Turns out one of the biggest symptoms is weight gain. I knew that before I started and decided that I would take it, adjust my thyroid, go to the gym 5-6 days a week and track all my food intake on I embarked on a Biggest Loser Competition with friends back home via the internet which included weigh-ins, measurements and before pictures. At this point I wouldn't mind if my before pictures were now my after pictures.
(Disclaimer: the scar on my stomach is from my kidney removal)
Drew already wearing Christmas pajamas back in September
In 9 weeks I have gained 11lbs and my thyroid still needs more medication to become "regulated."

And now I am a mental case. Looking to buy a parasite. Not leaving the house cause no clothes fit. Not wanting to buy clothes until I lose weight. I even took a pregnancy test to try and wrap my head around my growing middle. But alas, I don't have a uterus which makes that option nearly impossible. I got a rid of a lot of my larger clothes as a way to emotionally get over the fact that I wouldn't be pregnant again, and now I really need those clothes back. (my thoughts: If I can't get pregnant, I'll at least try to have a great body)

Drew saw me taking my tiny white pill and asked "are you sick?" and I said no. Then he said "why do you take that medicine?" ...I told him it's to just make me feel a little better and I realized how observant kids are at this age. I walked over and put our scale into the closet so that he wouldn't see me get on every morning and get off in disappointment and remember his mom as a crazy lady.  

My doctor says weight... I mean wait. And that waiting game is hard. I've been frustrated with my lack of results which has turned into a lack of motivation. But I am hoping to have this thyroid thing all figured out in the next few months and then I can focus on the minor things (weight) and slowly become a bit less psychotic. 

Last week I was standing in front of the mirror and I had Claire wrapped around one leg and Drew wrapped around the other and realized they don't care if my thighs measure 20inches or 200inches. They don't see physical flaws that I might see or use to compare myself with others. They just see their mom. 

So with that, we're off to the gym. 

I'm going to wait, and while I'm weighting I might eat a pumpkin cookie or two.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013


We've been busy.

End of September Drew started preschool. He loves it. He attends Monday, Wednesday, Friday for two hours.

October 1st Drew and Claire had there well checkups. We've got big healthy babies.

October brought a lot of quintessential fall activities. Apple picking, pumpkin patches, beautiful fall leaves, Ithaca's Apple Fest, cider and donuts,  farm animals, eating a lot of root vegetables, and nightly walks to name a few.

For the last two years one of the best things about October has been fall break. First year: Boston, second year: Philadelphia, and now we can add Montreal to the list.

Every city we have explored we have loved. I think it has something to do with the time of year that we visit. The weather in Montreal was absolutley perfect. We spent 3 nights in a nice little hotel with an awesome pool and great breakfast. We explored the Montreal Botanical gardens (which had been decked out in a Halloween theme) Notre Dame and Old Town Montreal. We walked along the St. Lawrence river walk and spent a few hours at a park where Drew played with little French Canadians that he couldn't communicate with. We drove through a misty Mount Royale cemetery on Canadian Thanksgiving and ate more poutine than anyone should.

Spencer laughed and said that I spent my time in Montreal trying to relive my childhood. Although there are a lot of differences between Eastern and Western Canada I was still able to find a few things that reminded me of Calgary... Costco Poutine. The best poutine of the trip. Tiger icecream (which we ate in the car and tossed at the border) Ketchup chips and plenty of Canadian chocolate bars (not candy bars) that barely even lasted us the 5 hour drive home. We went to four grocery stores before we found the tiger ice cream but even after four stores I still wasn't satisfied with my findings (Old Dutch chips?). I guess we will have to visit Calgary for our next school break.

October also brought Drew calling me "Momma Sara" and "Dude"
He started swimming lessons at our YMCA. Considering he didn't want to get his hair wet when he started and now three weeks later he'll jump into the pool and put his head under- I think they have been worth it.

Near the end of October we got some family pictures taken. First time we've done something like that and it was actually pretty successful. Our neighbor, Elyse, did a great job working with the kids and being patient with our lack of modeling skills. Per usual, the Ithaca fall leaves did not disappoint as the perfect background to our pictures.

I should probably leave the Halloween part of October to another post since we did an insane amount of things. The kids wore their costumes (Tinkerbell and Jake the pirate) 7 times. Not to mention their "alternate Halloween outfits" for days when their costumes were being washed. Oh, and Drew slept in Skeleton pajamas just about everyday of October. To say that he loves Halloween, would still be an understatement. We went to almost every local party (including Trick-or-Treating at Wegmans) His preschool class party, two different parties at the YMCA, our branch party and a couple other things here and there. The actual day of Halloween was cold and raining. We decided to go out when the rain stopped and said we would only go for about 30 minutes. Two hours later we came home with a very happy 3 year old and way too much candy.

October has been good to us. 

Wednesday, October 09, 2013


We've had a rough week around here when it comes to teeth.

Claire fell in the bathtub and chipped her front tooth on Saturday.

Today Drew was climbing on a play structure at the YMCA when he fell and hit his mouth.

He lost his first tooth.

The pediatrician and dentist both said there is nothing we can do for it but wait... wait for 5 years. 
He doesn't like looking at himself in the mirror because he hates to be reminded that his tooth is gone.
I think he'll be fine in the morning when he discovers what the tooth fairy brought for him. 

Spencer and I might have to start wearing mouth guards.
Here's to hoping that this is the end of the tooth escapades at our house.

Monday, October 07, 2013


Ithaca truly is Gorge(ou)s. I already know that our third and final year will fly by. Before we know it we will be leaving our little apartment and this tiny sleepy college town we have called home with tears in our eyes; the same way we arrived three years ago.

Spencer's "3L" year is awesome. As a third year law student he spends less hours in the library and more hours at home. We made the drive to a U-pick farm to enjoy some of his leisure time away from the books. The kids loved picking (and mostly eating) all the fruit. I loved that it was still warm out.

Since then the mornings have turned cool and misty. Fall is in the air. This is the best time of the year in Upstate New York. We are excited to enjoy it as much as we can before we leave behind this beautiful place.

Thursday, September 26, 2013


The Salmon Family Reunion 2013 was a success. A lot of people traveled a great distance to be there, perhaps because it was located in beautiful Destin, Florida this year.
We spent a week at the end of August in an awesome beach house 20 feet from a pool and a couple blocks from the warm ocean water and white sand beaches. Each family had their own home and we rotated where we played games and sang karaoke each night. Drew loved playing with all of "his kids" each day, all day long. We ate a lot of awesome food and stayed up too late catching up with extended family.
We had a dance party on the beach, a dolphin cruise (where we saw a lot of dolphins and a lot of seasick people throwing up) we went out looking for crabs during the nights, and mostly just relaxed.
 It was a perfect way to end our summer.

Sunday, September 08, 2013


I love Utah in the summer.
Everyday is beautiful and sunny and bright; and there is no such thing as humidity!

 Everyone (except for Laura and Alan in Germany) was able to come out to Utah for Louisa's farewell. We spent a few days at a cabin doing some bridge jumping and playing a lot of games. The kids loved having a bathtub again (since they didn't in Manhattan) jumping on grandma's trampoline and playing in the sandbox.
We ate at our favorite Utah joints, but as usual the trip went by too fast. I was able to spend some time catching up with friends and Spencer was able to go to a BYU scrimmage game. Lucky for us we will be heading back to Utah for Christmas-- the Zupas soups are already calling my name.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


Spencer finished up his internship in New York and we flew to Salt Lake (after driving to Atlanta) to drop off the babies and head on to Mexico.

It was awesome. The weather was perfect. The food was... interesting. My travel buddy was great! I can't imagine visiting Oaxaca and not having Spencer's Spanish skills with us. He did great.

We were there for a week and we took whatever we could shove into our backpacks... our clothing choice was a little thin at the end of the trip. Most of the time was spent in swimsuits though, playing in the ocean and getting way too much sun.

Spencer served his mission in the state of Oaxaca nearly 8 years prior so it was fun for him to go back and see the changes, and it was fun for me to order piña colada's and lay on the beach.

We ate a lot of tacos, plantains, and elote (Corn on a stick)... as well as a lot of bags of "agua de sabor" fresh fruit blended up with a little sugar and water and served in a bag with a straw hanging out. Everything was delicious, but it was nice to eat some American food after a week of Mexican.

We want on a morning dolphin ride tour and ended up jumping into the middle of the ocean to swim with a wild sea turtle. I was only in the water for a few minutes cause I really didn't want to die. Another night we swam in a lagoon with Bioluminescence. The water was extremely warm, and every motion you made the water would light up like it was full of glowsticks. 

After a few days at the coast (Puerto Escondido) we traveled by van through the mountains. It was 6 hours of torture. It was definitely an authentic Mexican experience. Especially when we had to stop due to a protest on the road. The entire pueblo (village) had come out with chicken crates and anything else they could find to block the road so that their voices could be heard. We just grabbed our backpacks and as the only American's walked through the town, and got in another van on the other side of the protest and continued on our journey. 

We traveled to the capital city of Oaxaca and walked through the old town square to admire churches built in the 1600's, later we had famous Oaxacan hot chocolate on the Zócalo (town square). The following day we traveled up to Monte Alban. Monte Alban was home of an ancient civilization that lived on the top of a mountain, everything is in really great condition, considering how old it is.  It was unlike any American national park or reserve. You are left to travel around pyramids and structures built in 500BC with no rules, no guides. It was awesome. 

We flew home to happy babies that had a great time spending the week at Grandma Orton's house. I'm not sure when we will head back to that part of Mexico, if ever, but I'm glad Spencer was able to go see his mission as a non-missionary before he becomes a slave to his law firm next year.

Friday, August 16, 2013


The Big Apple.
The Concrete Jungle.
The City that Never Sleeps.

Whatever you decide to call New York City, all I can think about is a tiny 1-bedroom apartment (paying $2100 a month in rent), sweltering heat, and seeing Spencer a minimal amount of time.
100 Morningside drive
We had a fun summer in New York. Saw a lot of the touristy sites, and lived like locals stuffing our kids in closets and sleeping on futons. We grocery shopped in little stores that didn't fit the stroller. we ate pancakes and sandwiches and cold cereal for the majority of our at home meals. We went to plenty of public parks. We walked, we walked and we walked.

I kept a tally of the amount of miles I walked with the kids in the stroller. Before we went to the City I wasn't sure if our double stroller was worth the investment. Since then, having walked around most of the Upper West Side and beyond, I have deemed it one of our best purchases.

117 miles. (Mostly walked in flip flops) (and mostly planned around eating food)

Speaking of tallies we also had a little record of how many traffic violations we incurred.

2 parking tickets.
car was towed once.
pulled over twice.

-$145 in parking tickets, one for parking too close to a fire hydrant, and the other for not moving the car on a street cleaning day.
- The car was towed once in the night while they repaved the street. Kind of freaky to walk outside and not see your car. (No fines)
-Pulled over twice, one for speeding (a warning) and the other time for turning right on a red (a warning ) I never knew until that moment that you couldn't turn right on a red in NYC.

Glad to be back on the suburban roads again without a yellow cab in sight.

We truly had a great summer. Spencer spent most of his time at the office or doing events with the firm and built friendships with other interns. He spent 3 LONG weeks in Germany working in the Frankfurt office. He ate delicious gourmet food while I stuffed my face with Goldfish crackers. We went to broadway musicals, the Metropolitan Opera in the park and nearly all of the major museums. We walked the Brooklyn bridge, visited all 5 boroughs a couple times, drove out to New York's suburbs, ate a lot of pizza and hot dogs, and got pretty decent at using the 1-train.

And anything that we missed out on this summer we'll have the opportunity to do again next year.
My hard working little Spencey Baby got an offer from Clifford Chance.

I'm sad that we only have one more year at Cornell to enjoy the beauty of Ithaca, but we are excited that all of Spencer's hard work has paid off and there will be a job waiting for him after graduation. (Even if that job is located on the most populated and expensive island in America)

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Drew Boy

Our little Drew turned three years old on July 12th.
It was a low key day. We ate brownies for lunch and dinner, his orange scooter arrived in the mail, and we met up with his birthday twin (my cousins son) for some arcade games at the chuck-e-cheese in Harlem.

It's exactly what you think of when you hear "chuck-e-cheese in Harlem".
half the games weren't working, and the ones that you could actually play didn't produce tickets... but the kids didn't care at all.
 It was a great night, and a perfect way to spend Drew's third birthday while in our little one bedroom Manhattan apartment.

Drew at three is a sensitive sweet boy.
Claire has been in our family for over a year and he is still warming up to her...

He loves hard boiled eggs-- loves, is an understatement. He could easily put down a dozen eggs a day as long as the "seed" (yolk) has been removed.

He also loves any and all kinds of fruit. He has become our little fruit bat steering clear of proteins and most grains.

His favorite color is orange. He wants to wear orange clothes, color with orange crayons, and eat orange food.

One of my favorite things he says right now is "I love you (insert random number)". Instead of "I love you too(two)"it has become "I love you four" or five, seven, nine.

Happy Birthday to our sweet Drew Boy. We love you three!

Sunday, July 07, 2013

b&w babes

Both of the babies at one year.
Drew's picture kinda looks like an 80's glamour shot when I compare it to Claire's.

Saturday, June 29, 2013


until now I have mostly just cut Drew's hair in his sleep. 

I think we might be going back down that path shortly. 
This wasn't only a first for Drew, but a first for the hair dresser as well...

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

One Year

I think we just experienced the fastest year of our lives.
Happy first birthday Claire. We love you.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Graves' disease

After a couple months of badgering my weird primary doctor to do a complete work up of my blood he finally conceded... and then 24 hours later called me in a panic to tell me how wacky my hormone levels came back and sent me to an even wackier Endocrinologist (endo) in the middle of upstate New York. 

The endo (who received his MD from the University of Baghdad) sat me down to describe my levels and started asking me about other symptoms.

Heart racing: Yes. 
Anxiety: Yup-- but mostly associated that with moving to Manhattan
Insomnia: No, never have had that problem. I fall asleep the minute my head hits the pillow (or couch)
Excessive sweating: YES
Fatigue: all the time
Increased Appetite: is eating 6 bowls of cereal a day normal?
Weight loss: I wish, but maybe not enough to consider it a symptom 

Then he made me do the hand tremor test by resting a piece of paper on the back of my hand with my palm facing the floor, and it started to shake-- mostly  because the air conditioning was on full blast.

After the tremor test I followed his pen around the room with my eyes... then he got really close to my face and said "Just as I expected, your eyes are starting to bulge...and you're breathing like an obese pregnant woman."


Now that he got me good and scared he proceeded to tell me what exactly he suspected I had. The endo described Graves' as an autoimmune disease... "Like when an American soldier kills another American soldier in Afghanistan, it's out of confusion, your body is confused." (Thanks Dr. Baghdad!)

The blood results showed the Thyroid hormone level producing three times the normal amount, and an ultrasound of the thyroid showed it was double the average size. 
Now I knew why I was having so much anxiety and was so nervous about moving here!

Over the next few days I did a Radioactive Iodine uptake test. 

Basically you just swallow a dose of radioactive iodine pills and are tested at 6 hours and 24 hours (by a something that kind of looks like an x-ray machine) to see how much of the iodine tracer is absorbed by the thyroid gland. The results produced from this test reaffirm the blood test and give greater insight into what kind of treatment is needed. 

Graves' disease is typically caused by stress or postpartum after pregnancy. I never really feel stressed so I'm thinking it's the latter. Now I just need to get all my hormones with in normal range and I'll be feeling great and won't have a resting heart rate of 116.

At this point I don't want to take my thyroid out or radiate it to death because I don't want to take thyroid hormones for the rest of my life (and perhaps have another doctors opinion!) So we are trying another option of taking anti-thyroid medication everyday to try and shrink the size of the gland and to reduce production. That was all diagnosed the two days before we drove to New York City. I'm feeling great and I go back in 6 weeks for a follow up. 

Monday, June 03, 2013

Gubler/Salmon Wedding

My little brother Nathan married his gorgeous bride, Marley in the St. George temple on May 25, 2013.

It was a beautiful hot day.
is this blog dead?

i have so much to "blog about" but somehow can never find time to just sit down and do it.

we moved to new york city.
it's hot, really hot.

i flew to las vegas/st. george with the babes for my brothers wedding.

we moved into a little one bedroom apartment in the upper-upper west side, near columbia university.

spencer works every night till 11pm.

city life is a lot of work and exhausting.

i have graves disease.

claire is very close to walking, and drew doesn't walk fast enough.

i will go into detail about these things at a later time.

we are alive, we are well, and we are learning a lot everyday about this incredible new city.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


- Claire's got 5 teeth and is walking around furniture. Just like her brother she received her fangs a few weeks ago and recently started getting the teeth between the fangs. Her hair is coming in great although she hates any form of headband/clip in her practically translucent-white locks.
Drew on the left, and Claire on the right. Not the most flattering picture of Claire, but the best one we've got showing off her vampire fangs. She's even changed the way she smiles now to specifically show them off. 

-I can confidently say Drew has been potty-trained for a month. I really wanted to have it all knocked out before we move to NYC with a summer full of changes and traveling. I would say it was a really successful way to spend spring break in March, and he cooperated really well. He is loving his spiderman underwear.

- I went to the city for a girls weekend this past weekend. (More about that HERE on Emily's blog)

- Spencer starts his internship in the concrete jungle in 4 weeks and I am getting nervous. "Getting Nervous" might be an understatement. We have found a place half the size of our apartment in Ithaca, and twice the price. Hoping for happy, easy babes that want to hang out in public parks all day for the 10 weeks we're there.

Thursday, April 11, 2013


-we decorated and rolled eggs.
-the babes found eggs and Easter baskets Sunday morning
My only request was to take pictures before church, but with all the excitement of chocolate and plastic eggs, that didn't happen. So we took pictures when we got home. Problem was Drew enjoyed a rootbeer float at church and spilled it all over himself so if he looks filthy, he is.
And finally, the only picture with both of them smiling. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

9 Months

Claire has graduated from pulling herself across the floor and has been crawling (normally) for about three weeks now. She also graduated from going to physical therapy twice a week, to once a week, and just recently every other week.
She smiles and laughs all day as she explores our apartment with her new mode of transportation.
She loves to eat anything and everything, but still LOVES her bottle.
We were hoping that at 6 months she would stop spitting up everywhere, but even at 9 months that doesn't seem to be happening anytime in the near future (really tired of the laundromat)
We finally had to lower her crib after we found her standing up after a nap.
She's got two lower teeth and is working on two top ones which has really messed up her sleeping- and in turn, messed up mine. When Claire is awake in her crib she can be found sitting up and clapping.
She really is so pleasant and content and easy to take care of.