Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Dear Sawyer,

Dear Sawyer-

To my beautiful boy on your 2nd birthday...has it really been two years since you were born and turned my life upside down. I thought I had a handle on it…life that is…until you showed up. But I had a thing or two to learn, and life has never been the same since.

Today I watched you maneuver your little airplane around in the air while making swishing sounds. I don't even know where you learned that. Two things occurred to me, the first being that you are most definitely a boy's boy, and the second that you are such a BIG boy. I can't believe how you have matured lately. You say thank you every time I give you anything, and you keep me giggling with all the cute things that come out of your mouth. The other day you brought me my hair dryer and said "off." I said yes it is off. You tried to turn it on and it wouldn't turn on so you said "batteries" and you dropped it to move on to something else. You are getting so smart. You can count to ten without any help, and any day you'll get all the way to twenty. You love to practice counting and your alphabets while we go on walks. We have to take frequent breaks from counting so that you can comment on the dogs or the birds or trucks. You can name ten different shapes. Mom didn't even know what a rhombus was.

Trucks and tractors are still some of your favorite things. You are especially fond of the garbage truck lately. Twice a week you recognize the sound of that truck as it turns on to our street and you run to the window yelling "darbash trut…wowee…onny…onny." Onny means I want to go for a ride. How cute is that! We will often go outside as the garbage truck passes and the garbage man keeps an eye out for you so he can waive at you. You think that is pretty cool.

Speaking of onny, you have this incredibly adorable habit of putting a "y" on the end of your words. I can't bring myself to correct you because it is so cute, and when you start saying everything correctly then it means you are growing up. My favorite was awhile back when you lived for Elmo. You called him "Omie." You would wake up every morning saying "Omie…beddy…Omie…beddy." We would snuggle in bed and watch Elmo to your heart's content, or until your belly started growling. Now you say Elmo, but you haven't let go of the beddy yet.

Here are a few of my favorite Sawyerisms:

bus= bussy

fridge= widgy

triangle= nangle

egg= eggy

octogon = on gone

ranch dressing or ketchup or syrup= dip it

I want that or I want to get on that= onny

love you= woo woo

garbage= darbash

lawn mower= mowlawn

fruit snacks= woot nack

guitar= tar tar

Grayson= ray-race

garage= drosh

You are a mover and a shaker, and with the strength of a little Hercules we can't take our eyes off of you for a second. I knew from the start that I was going to have my hands full. From the time you were born you could lift your head up and stand on your legs with a little help. Then at about 5 months I noticed that you started to lift your upper body with your arms. I told your dad that day that I better take the bassinet off of the playpen or you were going to get strong enough to pull yourself out. I didn't get to it that day, and sure enough the next morning we woke up to a loud plop. You pulled yourself out of the bassinet and landed on the ground. Unfortunately, this is one of many falls so far. There was the time six months ago when you mysteriously climbed out of your crib several times in a row. We were certain that you were not strong enough to pull yourself up. We put a hidden camera in your room to figure it out, and sure enough you hoisted yourself up and onto the ledge of the crib. Only this time you couldn't quite get to the right spot where you could land on the rocking chair, so while dad and I waited down the hall, we suddenly heard a loud thump and then screaming. OOPS! We now usually have the kitchen table chairs bungeed together or else you get on the table and walk to the edge with your toes hanging off and say "hi". The cupboards and drawers are all child proofed or you have proven that you will look for the sharpest item in the drawer and then come show me and start running away for me to chase you. The dvd case is taped shut so you don't break them in half like you did with that new piece of software I bought. Oh my goodness boy, you keep your mama running! But, maybe all this energy means you are meant for great things:)

With all this mischief and spunk comes the laughter. You have had us laughing since the day you were born. You have proven to be quite the little rock star lately, always playing your guitar and dancing like a maniac. You love talking to people at the grocery store, but you can be a little overbearing. You always start by saying hi to the passing stranger. They usually say hi back to you. You then proceed to say hi again. They will usually oblige a second time, but this is where it starts getting a little ugly because you want to keep the game going. You start saying hi louder and louder and they start walking faster down the aisle with a final hi. You smile and move on to the next victim. I try to get you to say hi just once, but you just can't help yourself. You LOVE a little attention:)

One of my favorite things in this world is watching your face light up when you hear the keys in the door that signals daddy is home. You always drop what you are doing and run to the door to tackle dad. You two roll around and giggle, and then dad usually chases you. Chase is one of your favorite things to do. This would be why you are always stealing brother's binki or bottle, or my cell phone, because it is so fun when I have to chase you around the house to get it back. You got daddy's body proportions where your legs are much shorter than your torso, so those little legs often have a hard time keeping up with your enthusiasm. For this reason, you are constantly bouncing off of walls or face planting on the ground. It never seems to phase you much. You usually get up and say "oh, facey" or "oh, chin" and rub it better and take off running again.

When we finish your story and tuck you in each night, you always make sure to get a kiss from mommy, daddy, and of course baby Ray-race. When we walk out of your room you yell "woo woo." We yell love you back. You insist on being the last one so we get to hear you yelling love you all the way downstairs until your voice fades and you zonk out. It doesn't get any better than that!

Who knew it would be this hard, but who knew it could be this great! I bet my mom did! Thanks for making me such a happy mommy little buddy:) Happy Birthday!!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Fall and Halloween

The other day Nate had the day off so we went to Red Rock for a little picnic and hiking (which 8 weeks post pregnancy means a light stroll in the mountains:) The weather was amazing. Not a bad little family pic for a self timer.

I totally love this family self portrait because of the tender little moment in the background. Sawyer loves kissing on his brother.

Trunk or treat with the Mexis Crew and Coen.

Our little monkey and banana.
A happy little camper on Halloween. We didn't actually go trick or treating because we were busy handing out candy and carving pumpkins, and before we realized it was too late. He loved handing out candy to the kids and you would never have known he missed out by this little smile.

Monday, November 1, 2010


I am sending out birth announcements right now so I didn't want to spill all the beans, but here are just a few pics of our handsome little guy.

Keeping daddy warm while he studies.

The pumpkin patch was definitely a highlight for Sawyer this Halloween. We went a couple different times and he loved it. It was right by our house so every time we drove past he would gasp and yell "punkin." This spinning swing was his favorite and every time we got off the ride he would ask for "moy." My sister brought her kids down from Salt Lake for a weekend while my parents were here, and so the cousins got to spend some fun time together.

I have to give credit to my awesome friends who gave me this adorable baby shower. Just look at all the little details, and that cake! Then each of them brought me dinner after the baby was born. Between our parents taking care of us and our friends bringing us dinner, I didn't have to cook for over a month. They are the best!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Grayson Mikah Mortensen

Our sweet little Grayson was born on Wednesday, September 15th at 5:31 p.m. He weighed 8 pounds 2 ounces and was 20 inches long. He is the spitting image of his big brother. So far, he is a pretty calm and good natured baby. I am relishing this tiny stage so much because I know now that it goes by SO fast. Sawyer is almost two years old. With Sawyer, I was always so anxious for the next stage that I didn't always take it all in. Right now, I just want time to stand still for awhile.

The big brother is adjusting pretty well so far. He really likes the baby and gives lots of kisses. The only problem so far is that Sawyer has laid claim to all of the blankets in the house. If they were here before the baby, they are Sawyer's blankets. We have to be careful if we put the baby on one if these precious blankets, otherwise, Sawyer will try to steal it from under him. Sawyer is not too fond of me right now; I am the traitor. He has grandmas and grandpas to keep him company until he finds the love again:)

The birth experience was pretty amazing and totally crazy at the same time. My contractions started at about 4:30 a.m. I could not sleep but I just tried to relax and get as much rest as I could. I woke up Nate at about 6:30 and told him I was pretty sure that I was in labor. I started keeping track and my contractions were about 6 minutes apart. We called the families so they could get on their way, and we just went on with our morning. I wanted to stay at home for as long as possible, because I felt that it would help me to go natural if I could labor at home through the majority. I just packed, and cleaned and prepared that last few things, just pausing to breath through the contractions. Nate kept telling me to sit down and relax, but staying busy helped to distract me and forget about the contractions. We were trying to make it to 11 at home, because my little brother Nick had an exam until then and we needed a babysitter. I hadn't arranged for a babysitter to watch Sawyer because this was a few weeks early. I am sure any of my friends would have done it at the last minute, but it was just easier to keep Sawyer home if we could. It started getting a little unnerving, because at 10 my contractions were consistently 3 minutes apart. They hadn't gotten any closer through that hour, so Nick got there at 11:10 and we rushed to the hospital. Of course, I still had a long ways to go...but it felt better to be safe than sorry.

I got to the hospital and at noon I was dilated to a 5 and nearly 100% effaced. Things sort of progressed slowly for awhile. By 3:00 I was dilated to a 6, and by 4:00 I was dilated to a 7. The pain was definitely getting pretty intense by this time, but I was managing it well and felt totally in control.

They had been asking to break my water for several hours, and I finally decided to let them after 4:00. I should have known what I was in for. The nurse said that she thought it would go pretty fast because I was totally effaced and once the water broke then his head would drop and make me dilate quick. Bam...it was on! Once the water broke, the contractions kicked into overdrive. The next hour and fifteen minutes are a blur. The silent, calm, hypnobirthing techniques went out the door; I went primal. I remember trying to rip out Nate's hair, clawing, grasping, screaming....pain I cannot comprehend. Nate later told me that he didn't know that person and did not ever want to see her again. Towards the end, I knew it had to be coming soon. They kept telling me that I was 9.5 and had to dilate a little more. My nurse was this sweet lady that sounded exactly like Mrs. Doubtfire and she would say "alright deary...you need to stop pushing...just breath"...and I would yell back "I CAN'T STOP." They finally decided to look between the legs and there was a collective gasp in the room. Nate told me I had made it and I was almost there, and those were welcome words. My doctor was not there yet and the nurses were frantically trying to put on gloves and call in the on call doctor. I had been pushing whether they liked it or not, and after they finally gave me the go ahead to give it everything, it took one push for the head, and one more push for the body. The doctor made it in just in time for the body.
After the insanity they handed me the baby, and it was the most amazing, empowering, emotional experience that I think I have ever had. This is something that I really wanted to do for myself, and for the baby. For me, it was a rite of passage, and a true test of will and strength. I can't yet say with any certainty that I would sign up for that again; I need a little time and distance. I can say that I am really grateful to have made it through, and for the amazing little life that has blessed our lives.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sawyer and HED

We have recently discovered that our little man most likely has a genetic condition called Hypohidrotic Ectodermal Dysplasia (HED). This will be very long winded, but if you are interested here is how it has all played out...

It all started a few months ago when we switched pediatricians. Our new pediatrician became quite concerned that Sawyer was not growing at the rate that he should. He had steadily dropped to the bottom 1% in weight. She referred us to several specialists including a pulmonologist because of frequent respiratory infections, a gastrointerologist to make sure he was digesting his food properly, a pediatric dentist because he still has no teeth, and a geneticist.

Shortly after this appointment, we took Sawyer to an urgent care because of a sore throat. We saw an excellent pediatrician who spent nearly 2 hours with us because it was a slow night and she was concerned about Sawyer's sparse hair and growth restriction. She brought to our attention that Sawyer could possibly have Menkes Syndrome, otherwise known as kinky hair disease. Menkes is a very serious copper deficiency disorder which is usually fatal within the first three years of life. After doing some research we were definitely concerned, but the pieces of the puzzle did not all seem to fit. A few of the main characteristics of Menkes are neurological and physical delays. This includes very low muscle tone, failure to meet milestones, etc. Sawyer has always been full of energy and enthusiasm. We were cautiously optimistic that there was another answer.

After a few weeks of nervously waiting and trying to get an appointment with a geneticist (there is one in Nevada and an 8 month waiting list), we began the appointments with the other specialists. First we saw the Dr. Nakamura, the pulmonologist, who took a detailed history about Sawyer. We discussed the thin, sparse and patchy hair, and how it had been brought to our attention that Sawyer could have Menkes. I then mentioned that Sawyer still has no teeth. The doctor looked intrigued asked me how Sawyer's sweating was. I told him that Sawyer does not sweat. His eyes got really big and he said "Really?" I told him it was true and that we had always had a hard time regulating his body temperature. Even as a newborn sometimes he would have to sleep with just a diaper because he would get overheated easily. The doctor said he would be right back and returned a minute later with some paperwork. He said that based on his findings Sawyer does not have Menkes, but rather HED. He handed me the paperwork explaining the disorder and it was like a hundred light bulbs went off one right after another. Suddenly all of the little quirks that we always thought were so unique to Sawyer were all connected in a way we never could have imagined. The primary three defining characteristics are lightly pigmented,thin and sparse hair, lack of teeth, and lack of sweat glands. But the list goes on. Almost every possible symptom that related Sawyer to HED, he had. Some of the others are lightly pigmented skin and hair, prominent and full lips, flat bridge of the nose, dark circles under the eyes, wrinkled skin around the eyes, very thin skin, sensitive and dry skin that is prone to rashes, low set ears, smelly and abnormal nasal discharge, frequent respiratory infections, raspy voice, severe peeling and flaking of the skin at birth. I was amazed. I almost wanted to cry while sitting in the doctor's office, because although I was finding out that Sawyer did indeed have a genetic condition, it nearly ruled out the possibility of the much more serious disorder.Then I went home and did a little research of my own, and I was blown away. We always thought we had such a unique looking child, and then I saw other little boys with HED. It was like we found a lost family of brothers that all look like Sawyer.

Although we won't have an official diagnosis until we see the geneticist in several months, we are quite certain that HED is now a part of our family. Unfortunately it may not stop with Sawyer. The type that Sawyer has is x-linked recessive, which in my very basic understanding means that it was passed on from me. It makes sense because as a carrier I have a few minor symptoms, like insufficient sweat glands, some thin and patchy hair, and I was missing two teeth at birth. Being a carrier also means that there is a 50% chance that the rest of my children will also inherit the condition.

I think that the worst part is that Sawyer will likely go through most of his childhood without many teeth. We have been to see a pediatric dentist who confirmed that Sawyer likely only has two teeth under his gums, just the upper canines. At least vampires are cool right now, huh? We can try to get him fit for dentures, but this can be tricky for a growing mouth. He will also likely have to have surgeries in his teens to get bone grafts put into his jaw to strengthen it for implants, and then several implant surgeries. Aside from that, there are just minor adjustments we have to make. We will try to move out of the desert as soon as we can to manage the heat better (which might break my heart...I love flat, brown and ugly), we have to carry a water bottle and plenty of fluids everywhere we go to spray Sawyer down. We have to make sure Sawyer gets enough calories with the soft foods that he has to eat. We won't know if our new little baby will also have the condition for awhile. If he does, at least Sawyer will have someone to go through it with him.

The good news is that nothing will limit Sawyer's opportunity for a long and full life. We just have to strive to raise a confident and strong little guy, and hopefully the fact that he may be a little different will only make him a more compassionate and accepting person. We have an incredible support group of family and friends that will always be there, and the most amazing son we could ever hope to have. We are so lucky! Thank you all for your love and support.

Here are a few videos if you are interested in seeing more...


Friday, July 9, 2010


Sawyer, not unlike his father, is a little obsessive. His recent obsession...driving. We may have the next Ricky Bobby on our hands. Since he has been with grandparents a lot lately, he is usually outside pretending to drive one of their cars, or he is in the house standing at the door saying, "drive, drive, drive". When it comes to his grandpas, ask and ye shall receive.
His preferred mode of transportation is a tractor, but he will settle for anything that has a motor. Whenever we are in the car Sawyer is always on the lookout for diesel trucks and tractors, and when he finds one he will point and say "wowee". It might have something to do with his grandpa Mortensen's slight obsession with cars, the obsession which Nate did not inherit. So, to make sure that Sawyer doesn't follow the same path, grandpa Mortensen and Sawyer have spent endless hours in his shop driving cars.
My mom was watching Sawyer recently, and they were in the garage so Sawyer could play on the four wheeler. He kept telling my mom "keys". My mom told him she didn't know where grandpa kept the keys and Sawyer pointed to a hook on the wall on the other side of the garage where the keys were hanging. She was pretty impressed.
Here are a few pics of Sawyer in action.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Cinco de Mayo

We had a big Cinco de Mayo party at our house on Friday night. We hosted with Nick and Megan, which was super fun because we got to meet a bunch of their friends and vice versa. We had a great turn out. My dad made us a sweet Mexican fiesta mix for ambience, which always reminds me of summer barbecues in my grandma and grandpa's backyard. Nate and Nick made Carne Asada on the bbq. All of our friends brought amazing salsas and desserts. In the craziness, I may or may not have forgotten to feed my child. I busted him stealing food off someone's plate, and every time I looked at him he had another margarita in his hands. We like to start them early:) It was a good time.
The first of many swinging lessons.

Sawyer was really good at hitting the pinata. Someone must have told him it was full of candy.

The kids collecting their loot.

Monday, May 3, 2010

It's a.....

I was pretty sure that there was more testosterone in my future. We are so excited to have another boy so close in age to Sawyer. They will be 22 months apart, and hopefully best buds. Sorry for the graphic content, but I wanted you all to see for yourselves:) That's ok if he is still in utero, right?

It's time to start searching for names. If it is up to Nate his name will be Magnus or Maximus, so let's just say it isn't up to Nate.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Number two!

Soooo...many of you already know this, but baby #2 is on the way. Am I crazy? Yes!!! Excited? Yes!!! Did I have an ongoing panic attack for two months after I found out? Yes!!!
I am already 18 weeks so this post is a little past due. I am over the parasite taking over my body phase, and into fat and happy stage (although I would be a little more happy if there was a little less fat involved:)). I am due September 30th, so with a birthday on October 3rd I could very easily have a big 30th birthday present.
Monday we find out the gender. I am thinking a boy because Sawyer needs a partner in crime and one crazy boy in my house is not enough (on a side note...my parents have watched Sawyer a bunch while I have been in Utah and they told me yesterday that they have no idea how I ever get anything done with that child around. Vindication!) ...but I would also love a girl. Stay tuned.....

Friday, April 16, 2010

Spring break

Spring break this year started off in Arizona with a trip to my brother's house in Phoenix for some spring training baseball and r&r. It was so much fun as usual. Thanks Isaac and Kels, for being amazing hosts. Isaac made pulled pork with a smoker that he converted from a rusty, old diesel engine part. It was pretty amazing.
Sawyer dipping it again. Don't even think of taking away this fry sauce, lest ye want your life threatened by a 16 month old.


The boys and their babes. My little brother Nick is on the left with his two month old twins, Crew and Coen, and Isaac is in the middle with Adlee.Sawyer playing with cousin Adlee. Adlee is five months younger and has way more teeth than Sawyer. Oh yeah, that's because Sawyer still doesn't have any!

When we got home we had a few days to chill, and then Nate's parents, grandpa Vario and aunt Lora came to visit.

Here is Sawyer looking for Easter eggs. He was throwing them like baseballs until he realized that they were filled with candy. Then it was over and he didn't care about anything but eating chocolate.

Nate's grandpa singing Johnny Cash on the back patio. Sawyer was loving it.

Four generations

We spent one day at Bonnie Springs, which is an old comboy town on the outskirts of Vegas. There was a petting zoo and lots of stuff for Sawyer to explore, so he had a great time.