Friday, December 27, 2013

Bleh.

What is with my body and then end of pregnancy? I am seriously 4 for 4. Although this is a little earlier in the game than my usual end of pregnancy sickness. I had a cold a couple weeks ago... I got better in time for Christmas... and now I'm sick again. It sucks.

Trying to do as little possible. I managed to fold a bunch of clothes.. left them on the couch. Bad idea. Just a few minutes later Nathan was pretending to be some kind of monster and threw all the sorted folded clothes all over the room. I've kind of given up at this point. Bed time is near. The end is in sight.

All in all, for how little supervision my children have had today, the damage was pretty minimal. Plus, besides Nathan's destruction of the laundry, he did take an almost 4 hour nap today so he's still on my nice list.

I'm grateful for Netflix, new toys and kids who are best friends.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas 2013

I enjoy being a mom most days of the year. But man I absolutely LOVE being a mom on Christmas. Last night as I was wrapping presents for these three children of mine, and thinking about how by next Christmas there will be an entire other person in our family, I was just overwhelmed with gratitude. I was thinking of friends of mine that I know who struggle with infertility and want children so much, and I thought how hard this holiday must be. Putting up the tree, exchanging gifts, just like last year, yet again with a child. It broke my heart to think of it. I am sure each year you've got to be thinking this is the last year we will be childless, next Christmas we will have a  little baby. And then eventually maybe you even lose that hope. I don't know... but I got all teary eyed imagining that pain.

Then I thought about a friend in the hospital struggling with illness, and can't be home with her family on Christmas.

And another few friends whose husbands are deployed and won't be there with them to see their children's joy on Christmas morning.

And I am just so so grateful for our blessings. For my husband. For our families. For our children. And for the financial blessings we have received this year, that have allowed us to have a wonderful Christmas for our family, plus help a few others in need. It feels so wonderful!

I set my alarm for 5:00 AM to get up and make a nice big breakfast for my family this morning. We had ham, eggs, fruit salad, crescent rolls, orange juice and homemade scones. I have never had a scone before and oh my they were so good! The kids all sat and ate and listened while Aaron read the story of Christ's birth from Luke 2. I was impressed with their patience and somewhat attentiveness. Then, Olivia asked if they could open presents in order from youngest to oldest. I had just asked Aaron the other night if we could please not do an orderly opening of presents and just let the kids go nuts and open everything. He reluctantly agreed, but then when she ASKED for orderly, well how could I say no. So they took turns opening presents and hugging and taking pictures, Opie style. Their reactions were priceless and fantastic.

Although one lesson learned... kids don't really get the whole picture of a gift thing. We ordered a swing set and it will get here TOMORROW... so we printed a picture of it and put it in a box. They were mostly confused, even after we explained that it would be here tomorrow. Fortunately though Santa had us covered. He left a note saying he heard about the swing set not getting there in time and wanted the kids to have something to play on outside.... so he left them a trampoline in the backyard!! And it is a real wonder he was able to put that thing together all by himself, in the dark, after 11:00. Mrs. Clause was in no state to help in her given condition, and so she slept away while poor Santa worked alone, after assembling a couple bikes, a tool bench and a kitchen. That Santa is some guy, I tell ya. And their reactions were just amazing. Squeals and laughter and of course hopping on and lots of jumping.

Some other favorite gifts are Calico Critter families and houses for the girls. Cars, cars and more cars for Nathan. Abigail got Olivia a gumball machine, that you have to actually put money in to get the gum. Olivia thinks this is the most amazing thing ever and loves it. I never realized how LOUD gum is when it is rocking around a plastic gumball machine.

Now it's time to start a delicious Christmas Dinner. Feeling so blessed. I really don't want this day to end! Tomorrow Aaron is back to work, after a week off, and the kids will be on a post Christmas let down, and there is so much cleaning to do! Let's not think about all that yet.

Monday, December 16, 2013

My baby boy is 2!

I seriously love this little boy so much. Like so much. He makes me laugh every day, and he's so sweet, and watching him grow brings so much joy to my soul.

Some unique things about Nathan -- he is obsessed with fuzzy things. He can't say fuzzy, he says "bubby". And he will find any bubby and put it in his little fist and suck his thumb. He will seriously go and open the dryer and try to find some lint in the lint trap if he's needing a little somethin'. None of my other kids have seemed to have this kind of compulsion. Hopefully he will just grow out of it!

He loves to follow his sisters around and tries to play with them. A lot of times he just wants whatever they have and will pull their hair, or hit them to get it. But finally that is being replaced by them just all playing nicely together. Tonight they were all running around playing tag and even though he didn't get it, he just loved running with them.

Here are his first two years in pictures.






























Sunday, December 15, 2013

Confession: I forgot baby Jesus

We had our ward Christmas party on Friday night. The Relief Society was in charge of putting it together and I had the responsibility of bringing a doll for Baby Jesus, overseeing the photo booth, and helping make some salt dough for nativities we were making.

Well the day of the party I decided the photo booth definitely needed props. Originally it was just going to be pictures in front of a Christmas backdrop, but how fun is that? So I spent most of the day trying to put together cute props on sticks. With the help of my lovely three children this simple task only took about 3 hours. And I only burned myself twice with the hot glue gun. And I only swore at my printer for not communicating properly with my computer once. After all was said and done I was pretty please with my cute props, all hot glued on sticks because ya know that's the cool thing these days, right?

Then I emailed the play dough lady and asked if she needed me to make any more dough. She replied quickly that yes, indeed she did need about 4 more batches. So, again with the assistance of my lovely little helpers, cooking up some salt dough is just no problem. What could possibly go wrong with a 5, 4, and almost 2 year old and 4 cups of flour and water? Just use your imagination, and you will get a good picture of what my kitchen looked like by the end of mixing all that together. And of course they had to play with it to make sure it was good. And don't forget the paper scraps, glue mess, and cotton balls that were every where from the photo booth mess, that I didn't have time to clean up before starting the play dough.

And then I loaded it all into the car. The props. The costumes for the Nativity. The play dough. The kids. And then we left. Never once did it enter my mind that I was supposed to bring the doll to be Baby Jesus, like we had decided at the meeting a week ago.

We arrived at the party, and the person who was supposed to do the photo booth ended up not making it. So my props sat unused under the table.

And more people brought play dough than originally anticipated. So my play dough sat unused in a plastic bag on a chair.

And then it was time to get the kids ready for the Nativity. We quickly assigned parts and helped the children into their costumes. As I was helping Mary and Joseph into their costumes, I looked around for a doll. And then it dawned on me. I forgot baby Jesus!

I had spent so much time and energy on minor things that really ended up being of no importance, that I forgot the one most important thing. How can you have a nativity at a church without a baby Jesus? (Fortunately it all worked out. A new mom was willing to let us use her sweet new baby... plus there was a doll from the nursery, so yeah don't worry I didn't ruin the party.)

The metaphor is not lost on me. It is so easy to get caught up in all these things that really don't matter much in the grand scheme of things. Not just at Christmas time, but always. We find time to do whatever nonsensical thing that seems vitally important at the time (PHOTO BOOTH PROPS!), but do we take time to say our prayers? Or call our grandma? Or help our neighbor?

I realize I had plenty of excuses to forget the doll. And I'm not really beating myself up over it or anything. In fact my mother-in-law pointed out the symbolism to me, as I was explaining my frustration. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized I needed to write this little story down. I always strive to put Christ first in my life, but obviously I sometimes fall short. This story serves as a good reminder that those things that seem important at the time will often end up under the table, forgotten. But when we remember to do the truly important things, lives change. Differences are made that though they seem small and intangible, add up to great things.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Word Pictures

Abigail started this cute little dance class... and I forget about it every Friday until we have to rush out the door to barely make it on time. Usually with stuff that happens every week it's on my mind the night before, I wake up with a plan, and it goes rather smoothly. But for some reason I haven't gotten this class to stick in my head. I always forget! And today was her last class and they had a little recital. I was planning on going and running a bunch of errands this morning, and as I was slowly getting everyone ready for that, all of a sudden it dawned on.. DANCE CLASS!  It was 9:20, dance class starts at 10, and is about 15 minutes away. Just enough time to brush hair, find shoes, and put on dance costume, and run out the door like a crazy lady.

So I completely forgot the camera, and my phone wouldn't take pictures. So for my memory's sake, she was adorable. She had on her pink Sleeping beauty dress from Halloween. I braided her hair. And she was distracted and playing with her little wand thing more than actual dancing. But it was so cute. Then the teacher let Olivia and Nathan join them for a freeze dance. It was adorable.

Abigail can't do a flip. She wants to so badly, it's hilarious and cute. She kept trying, but only getting half way there then falling over. When I asked her if she wanted me to sign her up for the next course of dance class she said yes, because she still doesn't know how to do a flip! I thought it was sweet she didn't want to give up until she mastered the somersault. She's got rolling down though.

I'm not sure if we will do the next session because this baby is due right when it starts, and if I can barely remember to bring her NOW, I don't even want to know what life is going to be like in a few weeks! Plus she's starting softball and preschool in January. I guess we'll have to work on the flips on our own time.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

My Week of Compassion

So I set out to try to develop more compassion this week.

Honestly, I feel like I have been LESS compassionate the more I try. I have screamed more at my kids this week than probably any other in their lives. Why does that happen? I have prayed for compassion, and have been studying the scriptures and the internet to learn more about compassion. And I've tried to do some acts of compassion every day.

I have learned a lot about compassion. Let's start with the definition. The literal definition, broken down from Latin. "To suffer with", "co-suffer". That surprised me. Further into the definition and you learn it's empathy in action.

I was able to witness a beautiful example of compassion between my sweet daughters. We went to McDonald's for dinner before the Water Tower Lighting. On the way to the lighting, Abigail dropped her little McDonald's toy out the window. Both girls begged me to please stop so they could get the toy. Well for one, we were running late and Olivia was going to perform, and two, it was a pretty busy road and didn't particularly think the 50 cent toy was worth risking our lives for. So I told them no, which led to much crying. And I was surprised to see Olivia was also crying. Genuinely heartbroken for her sister's loss. She reached over and tried to hug Abigail, and then said, "Here Abigail, it's okay. You can have my toy."

That to me is the perfect example of compassion. Genuinely feeling someone's suffering, to the point where it moves you to action. Compassion makes you do things.

There was a lot of information from Hindu scripture and philosophers. They have three separate types of compassion. I liked thinking about each one and how they all work together.  

Three most common terms are daya, karuna,and anukampa.

Daya -  as the virtuous desire to mitigate the sorrow and difficulties of others by putting forth whatever effort necessary. Daya (compassion) is not kripa (pity) in Hinduism, or feeling sorry for the sufferer, because that is marred with condescension; compassion is feeling one with the sufferer. Compassion is the basis for ahimsa, a core virtue in Hindu philosophy.

Karuna, another word for compassion in Hindu philosophy, means placing one's mind in other's favor, thereby seeking to understand the other from their perspective.

Anukampa, yet another word for compassion, refers to one's state after one has observed and understood the pain and suffering in other. 

And now this is a real essay, since I just plagiarized Wikipedia. At least let me cite my source, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compassion.

Another thing that came to my mind was compassion in my marriage. And particularly this thought keeps swirling around in my mind, "Compassion, not competition". How easy it is to compare our days and our situations and get into this passive aggressive argument about who has it worse. We both end up feeling unappreciated, and angry. I mean, I deal with THREE children who make no sense! They throw fits about english muffins, and poop on stuff! I am pregnant! Isn't that like the ultimate trump card? Like no matter what you had to deal with today, at least no one was kicking your ribs FROM THE INSIDE! But if I take time to think about how hard it has to be to be on your feet for 10 straight hours, deal with coworkers who aren't getting along, and get yelled by angry people who are mad at you for nothing you did... I can feel compassion. I mean, yes I clean a lot of poop, and deal with a lot of nonsense, but really I can put on the tv and plop myself in front of the computer for a little while every day. I get blessed nap time, where I can do whatever I want for at least an hour or two. But I'm getting back into competition mode. It's not about how easy or hard my day is. It's about feeling what my husband is feeling. Being sensitive to what he's saying and thinking about how he feels. It doesn't matter what happened to me that day. Compassion is about the other person. Understand them, and serving them.

Compassion for my children... I think this is the area I need the most help. I keep in touch with a friend, Ashley from NJ (well we met in NJ, not that she's from NJ, but whatever this information is not important) via facebook and our blogs. She frequently mentions in her writing how hard it must be to be a little kid. How hard it must be to do all that growing, and to not have words for your emotions, and just how truly hard it is to grow up! I can tell she genuinely feels compassion for her children when they are tired, or grumpy, or even throwing a fit. I rarely ever think about how it feels to be 4. If I do, I'm usually thinking it must be pretty nice! Ya know, how we look back at childhood and how carefree it was. Well of course 4 year olds are not worrying about how to pay the bills, but they do have concerns and fears that are very real to them. Losing that McDonald's toy to Abigail, was like the equivalent of me losing my wallet, or something else valuable. Their little bodies and minds are going through so much. I'm sure it is stressful for them. I need to be better about putting myself in their minds, and thinking about how it feels to be that age.

Of course I was doing this to help grow closer to the Savior and that I can say has truly happened. I mean is there a greater example of "co-suffering" than the Atonement? Although I really can't completely wrap my mind around it, I know that somehow He knows me. And He knows my heart, and my suffering. And I know he's felt it. And He didn't just feel it, but He did something about it. He went let Himself be beaten and nailed to a cross and suffered a horrible death, so that I might live. So that the Plan of Salvation could move forward, and we could all return to live with our Father in heaven again. One thing I have never completely understood is why it had to happen that way. I am still not completely sure I get it. How does Christ dying help me? Why did the plan have to involve this sacrifice? Why can't repentance happen without it? I can still say sorry and try harder to be better. Why isn't that enough? I don't really have answers to these questions, but I have faith. I have faith that for whatever reason that was the Plan and the only way. And so I am grateful someone was willing to be that sacrifice. Someone who was the only option because he was the only Begotten. I am grateful for Christ's example of compassion, when he suffered in Gethsemane and then was crucified, for me.

No one has asked me to go that far in my compassion. All I need to do is see those around me and reach out and help however I can.

Peaceful.

Yesterday's post was pretty whiny. I need to balance that.

Abigail came into our room at 4:00AM because she "had a bad dweam, and couldn't stop finking about it". So she ended up in our bed. Which really doesn't bother us, because she is the best little bed sharer. She is still as a statue and out like a light. And she'll let you cuddle her, which she never does during the day. So truth be told, even though it's becoming more of a habit (as in about once a week, almost) I truly don't mind.

Except today I couldn't fall back to sleep. My throat hurts, and I'm uncomfortable, and my mind just started going with things I needed to do. After trying to settle my mind, and find a comfortable position for over 40 minutes, I finally decided to just get up.

It's amazing how peaceful the world is at 4:45AM. At least my world.

A dog begins barking next door to us, every single night around bed time. It just started this week, but it's been every single night since, probably last Saturday or maybe longer. I get my kids into bed, I make myself my bath, which has also become a habit, and as soon as I lay there ready to relax, without fail this dumb dog starts barking his head off. The noise just never stops! I started crying the other night because I just wanted silence. To hear absolutely nothing for 10 minutes! Oh that just sounded like heaven. And this dog continues to bark until well after I have fallen asleep. Sometimes there's a few minutes of a break, but it's almost nonstop.  But right now... there is no dog barking. There are no children talking/whining/crying/fighting/yelling. There are no airplanes. No ice cream man music. No television. The soft hum of my refrigerator, and the occasional sound of our heat kicking on. Blissful, I tell you!

So I have a minute to update you on my compassion week.

I think I will give it it's own post.

Friday, December 6, 2013

How am I supposed to have patience for this??

Olivia literally just threw an all out fit, crying and screaming because it's called an "English Muffin".

"IT'S NOT EVEN A MUFFIN!" She wailed.

I sent her to her room to cry about it, because... seriously?!

My patience is very thin these days and I hate it. Nathan wants to watch videos of trains and garbage trucks all day long on YouTube. If I even think about sitting down near the computer, he hops up on the chair and points and says, "Choochoos!" And then doesn't leave me alone until we watch some choochoos. The only way I'm writing this right now is because he is distracted by his one other love.. playing in the sink. I wouldn't even mind the choochoos so much if it wasn't for the fact that after watching it for about 20 seconds he clicks on another video. And then another. And another. Never completely finishing an entire 2 minute clip. Why that drives me insane, I don't know, but it does.

We have entered the stage of pregnancy where I don't even think about how often the tv is on. Or how many fruit snacks have been consumed. Or how many times I have screamed, "STOP IT!" at the top of my lungs. I swear no one listens until I am a screaming lunatic.

And I'm tired. But I can never sleep. Well that's not true. I feel like if I could lay down in my bed right now, I'd be out like a light. But as soon as it's night time, and the kids are actually all asleep and the house is cleaned up... I am wide awake.

35 weeks tomorrow. Imagine if I had this baby early? Another 3 weeks of pregnancy sounds SO much better than 6. Perhaps it will be a Christmas miracle!




Tuesday, December 3, 2013

My Thoughts While I Can't Sleep

     In church on Sunday our Relief Society lesson was on a Christ centered Christmas. It touched me and I left the meeting with a desire to really try to focus on Christ this holiday season, and not get too caught up in all the stresses of decorations, presents, parties, etc. Of course there has to be some of that, but in my heart I tried to think of ways we could draw closer to our Savior, while also enjoying all the fun of the season. 
       So yesterday we set out to Home Depot to get a Christmas Tree and lights for our house, and a Nativity to put in the front yard as part of the Christmas decorations. We found the trees, we found the lights, but could not find a nativity. I asked an employee, who was working in their seasonal department where I could find a nativity. She stared at me blankly, then said, "I'm sorry this is going to sound stupid, but what's that?" I thought maybe she didn't hear me correctly. "A Nativity...." She replied, "Yeah, I don't know what that is." So I explained, "Ya know, like statues of Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus."  "Oh alright, alright, here ya go." She said as she led me to a box that contained a beautiful nativity to put under a tree. I asked if there was one that could go outside. She said, "I'm pretty sure you could put this outside and it would be fine." Well gee lady, I'm sure I could, but the figures were about 12 inches, and it wasn't exactly what I had in mind!
         I looked around at the holiday displays and was getting angrier and angrier. I mean they had a pig with a Santa hat! A peacock! Any cartoon character from Spongebob to Big Bird! But no where could I find a baby Jesus!
        Now I understand many people who aren't Christian celebrate Christmas just because it's fun. I also understand that you can trace all these holidays we Christians celebrate back to some pagan holiday, and Christ wasn't even really born in December if you look at history and blah blah blah.  But it makes my heart sad that more people than not feel this way about Christmas. It makes me think about how they kicked prayer out of schools, and mentioning religion in anyway is "offensive" and people make a big stink about it. And now we're kicking Jesus out of his own holiday, and replacing him with Spongebob. 
        I don't know. I feel like reserving a month of the year to focus on the greatest gift the world was ever given is a great thing. And I can't change the world and direction things seem to be going. But I can do what I can in my life and for my family to try to make this time more about the Savior and less about pigs in Santa hats.
        Step one was teaching my children what the word Nativity meant. Just in case they ever end up Home Depot employees some day!
        Step two ... I decided personally I'm going to try to work on developing more Christ like attributes. Each week I'm picking a different attribute and focusing on building that throughout the week. This week's attribute is compassion. I'll let you know how it goes.

Thanksgiving

I went through heck to get my girls matching outfits for Thanksgiving and I didn't even get a picture of them together!! We went up to Mesa for a quick visit for Thanksgiving. Wednesday night we went out to dinner with most of Aaron's siblings and parents. It was delicious and fun. Then on Thanksgiving we went to Great Grandpa Opie's. The kids had a BLAST which was so fun to see. Love knowing they are making awesome memories and I get to just sit and talk to other adults. I spent the day feeling so grateful for all these blessings, and even though kids require so much energy, they really do bring so much joy.









Abigail's Birthday

This cute girl turned 4.. oh you know like a month ago. I posted about it a bit, but here are some pictures from her fun party in Mesa, and her presents at our house on her actual birthday.

Pinanta Aftermath ... Having a Nov. 1st Birthday = great use of Halloween Candy!

Singing Happy Birthday



Thank you Aunt Becky for the awesome cake! Abigail asked for a chocolate cake with M&M's on it. I'd say Becky nailed it.




She asked me for a cake that was really a giant cookie. I made this cookie cake with homemade chocolate buttercream frosting... SOOOO good!

And Nathan showing me his hand. While not wearing pants. Just because.


Friday, November 15, 2013

Quiet Kids.

I just gave each of my kids a package of cotton candy and turned on cartoons so that I could have 10 minutes to myself. The plan was to use this time to do dishes, but I decided I wanted to write a quick update instead.

Abigail started dance class today. She was adorable. And Abigail is becoming more and more of a lone wolf. At her birthday party she was mostly off by herself playing by herself. Whenever we have playdates she usually goes off and does her own thing. For a while I figured it was just her age, but now she's 4, and I kind of worry.And sometimes she cries and says no one wants to play with her. Like when we are McDonalds and she's trying to join in some big kids game or something. I tell ya nothing breaks a momma's heart more. I sometimes wonder if she has gotten her feelings hurt so many times, so she would rather just stick to herself. But I think part of it is just her nature. I'd rather just hang out with one friend than a large group, and Aaron's the same, so she comes by it rightly. The other day Aaron asked her what her favorite cartoon was. She said, "Jake and the Neverland Pirates". When he asked her why she said, "Because there's not too many people." And that's just so her. But still, I worry, so today she started dance. And in January she'll start preschool. The dance class only has 2 other kids, so 3 girls total. Perfect for her, "not too many people".

Nathan is doing awesome going on the potty. Except he hates underwear. So as long as he's naked, we're good. But when we leave the house he asks for a diaper, and literally screams bloody murder if I try to put unders or even a pull-up on him! He's talking more and more. I love hearing the new words he says every day. He makes hilarious facial expressions and cracks me up all day. He really has been so good lately. He also learned to say sorry in the cutest little voice. It seriously makes everything forgivable.

And that brings us to Olivia. Well... I missed her Thanksgiving feast. Probably my biggest mom fail to date. I was supposed to send in money for to participate, and I totally forgot about it. I emailed her teacher because I remembered it was coming up, but couldn't remember when. Turns out I emailed her THE day of the feast... just after it was over. Fortunately they still let her go and be part of it, I just wasn't there. But I didn't know they let her be part of it, so when I read the email that it was that day, I cried a lot. I felt terrible and went to the bakery and got her a cupcake. And then she came home and told me lots of moms weren't there, and she still got to go and have fun. So guess it wasn't that big of a fail as I initially thought it was.

And I'm 31 weeks pregnant (well tomorrow technically) and I feel huge and tired and done. But 9 weeks to go!... or 10 most likely.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

We all know we're supposed to try and enjoy each moment, especially when raising little kids, because you hear about 1,000 times a day how quickly time passes. But when you're living it, it really doesn't feel like it's passing very fast at all. And sometimes when you're staring at the clock waiting for it to be a reasonable hour to send your children to bed, and that hour is still at least 2 hours away, and kids are screaming and fighting and whining, and crying... it feels like time stops. Not in a romantic lovely way, but in a "How the crap is it only 4:45?!" kind of way.

And then you read some blog post about how it's okay to not love every minute, and you feel better.

But lately (as in the past two days) I have been loving every minute more. I know it's crazy, but some day it will be really weird to get Nathan out of the bath, and while drying him off ask him if he's delicious, and then pretend to eat his tummy and make him crack up. When he's 1, that's normal and cute. When he's 20 that's totally creepy.

Maybe it has to do with Aaron's brother receiving his mission call (Russia!) and realizing that some day that will be my baby boy. I mean wasn't it just yesterday Samuel was 10 and eating paper? Time really does fly, and I'm feeling it. So tonight instead of putting on cartoons for my kids while I went on facebook/pinterest/whatever, I turned everything off and just sat and watched cartoons with them. I remembered sitting on my Poppy's lap in his recliner and watching Looney Toons. I loved having him watch it with me, and I distinctly remember being aware that he was enjoying it. Or at least he was doing a good job pretending to. In fact he did such a good job that I genuinely believed he loved Road Runner so much that I called him every single time it came on, to let him know it was on so he could go watch it. I was a thoughtful child like that. Never mind that it was a long distance phone call at the time! Anyway, as all three kids tried to cuddle on my lap, I could tell how happy they were that I was enjoying the cartoons too.

And when it came time to put them to bed I wasn't rushing to get the heck away from them and to my precious bath tub where I could unwind from the day, I lingered and sang a few extra songs, and tried to be patient with their 50 million end of the day questions. ("Is God the king of the whole universe, or just earth? Did the girl have a key for the secret garden? What are we going to do tomorrow?")

I know this is a phase, and surely I'll be going crazy again soon, but the last two days have been nice. At least in this regard. Let's not talk about how my brain is shrinking with each pregnancy and I can't form a complete thought, and today I may or not have backed out of my garage before opening the garage door all the way... yes slightly damaging both the car, and the garage door. And how I can't remember to plug my phone in and keep it charged for more than 24 hours. And how I burned dinner so badly tonight we ended up having cereal. Lest I led you to believe every moment is magic around here the past 48 hours.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Skip this post unless you really, really like reading about birth.

This question has been on my mind and I want to just write it out because that's what helps me think and form my thoughts. I've given birth 3 times now, each experience completely different from the other. Olivia - in the hospital with an epidural (after 26+ hours of hard labor!) Abigail - in the hospital with no drugs, but I certainly wouldn't call it natural! And then Nathan at home, which I would call a very natural birth.

Now getting ready to have baby number 4 and I can't stop thinking about how I want to have this baby.

What I loved about my home birth:
-Getting to sleep in my own bed.
-No nurses coming in at crazy hours to find out when my baby last pooped, or check my blood pressure.
-No fighting anyone for what I wanted - ie, no Hep B vaccine at birth, and no eye goopy stuff. It was seriously so nice to be in the care of someone who completely respected my opinion either way. Fetal monitoring limited to a stethoscope.
-Very, very minimal cervical checks - as in 1.
-No coached pushing. Literally the contractions pushed him out, and I just screamed. No pushing! Actually, if I'm being honest there was a moment when I thought, "If I push maybe this will just be over faster." And so with a contraction I gave the tiniest push, and out he came. There was no legs up in stirrups, no one yelling "PUSH!" it all just happened very naturally.
-Laboring at home, and not having to worry about going to the hospital too soon. Plus it was just comfortable. Walking around my own house, playing video games with my husband, talking to my best friend on the phone, folding laundry... all great labor activities! There's not that much to distract you from the pain in the hospital.
-Let's not forget my fabulous 3 hour massage. In my house. Seriously FANTASTIC, and every woman in labor deserves a massage.
-And this was unique, but we had the house to ourselves for 2 days with just Nathan, Aaron and me, because my fabulous mother took my girls for me. Yeah that was awesome. Got the "break" you get when you deliver at the hospital, but got to sleep in my own bed! I think that puts sleeping in my own bed on this list twice, but it deserves it. Sooo nice.
-Getting to hold my baby on my chest as long as I wanted, with no nurses waiting around to take him and clean him up. All mine!! I loved being the very first person to pick him up, bring him to my chest and bask in the magical moment. Of course he was screaming bloody murder, and the peaceful moment was more of a harsh reality check that there was now a third person I had to take care of!

What I didn't love about my home birth:
-It hurt. A lot.
-I worried I wouldn't be able to do it. I was never once worried about my baby. I trusted my midwife 110% and never would have done it otherwise. I knew she would be the first to suggest going to the hospital if something was wrong, but I knew she was equipped to handle 99% of what could happen.

What I loved about My hospital births:
-Nurses to take care of you, and have three meals delivered to you each day.
-Hospital swag - ya know the free diaper bag, cute pillow, cookies at 3 for Mommy and me. That was nice.
-The pain relief. That epidural with Olivia was freaking amaaaazing.
-Not having to clean anything. In your own house you still feel the need to tidy up, and whatnot. No doing that in the hospital!

What I hated about my hospital births:
-Having to fight for every single thing, and feeling like people thought I was making ignorant decisions about my baby.
-Pushing. Legs in stirrups, all the yelling. I was SO swollen after pushing. I didn't have that swelling after my home birth.
-Ugly hospital gowns.
-The potential for things to go wrong because of unnecessary medical interventions. Like checking my cervix every few hours and somehow telling me I was less than I was 4 hours ago!! That was literally the point I gave up and asked for the epidural. I am just scared of doctors and hospitals in general, so it's really hard for me to relax and labor in an environment where I'm just not comfortable.
-A nurse forcing me to pee, or threatening me with a catheter... I hadn't had anything to eat or drink for hours, how on earth do you expect me to pee?!  Fortunately my hubby went to bat for me on that one, and saved me from further pelvic trauma.
-Lactation Consultants who tell you you're off to a very bad start, when you felt like things were going great.
-Waiting around forever to get to go home.
-Being forced to fill out paperwork, and having to convince a receptionist it would have to wait because I was about to have baby.

Okay so this list makes it seem obvious that I'd do another home birth, right? But that's not an option in Yuma, so I HAVE to have the baby in the hospital. I've been promised it would be as natural as possible, but I'm sure most of what I hate about hospitals will be unable to be avoided, so then I think, well why even bother trying to make it natural. Why not get that lovely epidural??

So then I wonder if some of the "problems" I had with Olivia were in any way related to the epidural. I needed oxygen while pushing, and we had a horrible time with nursing at the beginning. My milk didn't come in for a WEEK! And she had some breathing issues. Was that just her? Was that just because it was my first?

So after writing this all out I think I'm going to labor at home as long as possible and then ask for an epidural as soon as I get to the hospital. But I worry about other things that could go wrong, like infection and spinal headache, and future back pain. But really those chances are slim, right? And the only con on my home birth list is that it hurt, but man it hurts a lot!! I'm going to talk to my midwife at my next appointment and see what she says.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Four Years Ago today...

I was walking around trick-or-treating just a few hours before giving birth to a beautiful, amazing little girl. I am still in disbelief how that whole night went down, but nonetheless, I am so grateful for this little girl of mine. She's very quick to give her little brother what he wants, even if she had it first. Perhaps it's because she's tired of getting her hair pulled... But she is so sweet, and I am just so in love with her.

Here's her first three years in pictures.. http://mydotcalm.blogspot.com/2012/11/three-years-goes-by-so-fast.html 

And here are some recent ones...




Oh Abigail, I know you feel left out a lot, and your most common complaint is that so and so won't play your game with you. I hope you always know that you are so so special, and so so loved, and your games are awesome and whoever doesn't want to play with you stinks. You are smart, and kind, and thoughtful. Whenever something bad happens to someone, like say Olivia's balloon pops, you don't even think twice about giving her your balloon. Your heart is so good and genuine, and I absolutely love being your mom.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

My mom's visit, my birthday, and Oct. Break

We started out Oct. break by heading up to Mesa for my sister-in-law's baby shower. Then we headed home to pick up my mom at the airport! The kids were beyond thrilled to see her. It was fantastic having her here! I really don't think I would have survived October break otherwise.

We went to the state prison park. Doesn't sound nearly as exciting as it actually is. Olivia and I thought it was fascinating, and Abigail was scared out of her mind. She wouldn't run around or explore, and ended up sitting on a bench playing games on my mom's phone to distract her from her terror. Other highlights of this trip include being told I was a beautiful pregnant lady by one of the workers... or was it beautiful for  a pregnant lady? Either way it had my mom and I laughing pretty hard.

What else did we do?? We did one little outing every day, and now for the life of me I can't remember. We shopped a lot... but somehow didn't buy that much? We even left Target empty handed. Good thing I just wrote that down because I don't think it has ever happened before, and is likely to never happen again.

We also had a great time on my birthday. Aaron let me sleep in, and take my time getting ready and brought me breakfast in bed. Then we did something... I really can't remember! But my mom and I went and got manicures and pedicures, then did a little more shopping then went out for lunch. Then we relaxed a bit at home, and then Aaron and I went out to dinner. We went to one of Yuma's "fine dining" restaurants, which can be risky in a small town, but it was delicious!

Anyway my mom had to go back on Saturday and Nathan hasn't stopped asking for Nana since.

Olivia is back to school and we are getting back into our routine. We have a lot of few busy weeks coming up with Abigail's birthday, and Olivia has a few performances for her singing group, and then Thanksgiving, and then of course Christmas will be here before we know it... and then it will be baby time in January! I am worried about how Nathan will deal with it. He hates when I hold his sisters, and he's very cuddly. I'm sure it will all work out, but I am the most nervous for this baby than I think I've been for the others.

And now some pictures...



Saturday, October 5, 2013

My daughters

Olivia and Abigail...

Watching their relationship change and grow as they get older is stressful and rewarding, entertaining and frustrating...

I don't know how to explain it. They love each other. Clearly. But I think they may love to torture each other more. There's this constant undertone of I got to do something you didn't. In almost all of their conversations. When Olivia comes home from school she goes on to tell me about what she did. Abigail tells her what we did, but both of them are not just trying to inform each other, they are trying to make the other one jealous. It's in their tone and the words they choose. What on earth is a mother to do about this? I am sure it's normal, but sheesh it drives me nuts.

They also argue and bicker about who gets to be the mom during every game. Olivia usually more bossy than Abigail, but Abigail isn't taking it quite so much anymore, and will refuse to do what Olivia says. Then she will sit in a corner and cry because "no one wants to play her game".

It drains me.  Olivia is always correcting Abigail. Correcting the way she talks, or what she thinks, or Heaven forbid they are playing a simple game of Hopscotch and Abigail picks up the rock on the way there, not the way back. Seriously it was like the world was ending. And of course it drives Abigail nuts, and she will start to do it back to Olivia too. Crazy crazy girls!

A funny example of the above... Abigail was saying her prayers and she was being really silly, praying for the "baby in daddy's tummy" and just cracked herself up over it. Well then it was Olivia's turn. She got out of bed and kneeled in the middle of the room and began to pray, "O God, please forgive my sister. Please forgive her for being so silly during her prayer. She did not remember who she was talking to. Please forgive her, she will do better next time. Amen."

Which led to a discussion about prayer for both of them... but seriously. My life.

They also have their tender moments where one gets hurt and they are quick to be there for each other. Trying to capture those moments as well. Right now they are actually playing really nicely together. It's lasted a whole 10 minutes! Let's hope for 10 more..

Saturday, September 28, 2013

So gross.

One time my dog smelled bad.

We gave him a bath.

Two days later (today) we found a dead bird in the backyard. Made a mental note to tell Aaron to somehow dispose of the carcase. Forgot to tell Aaron as I rushed out the door to a Relief Society Meeting.

Come home (tonight) to a very smelly dog.

Realize the dog doesn't just smell, he smells like death.

Remember the dead bird.

Make the grossest realization... the dog and the bird had some kind of contact.

Go in the backyard with Aaron to find and dispose of the dead bird... and find nothing but a few feathers. Realize your disgusting dog must have eaten the dead bird. *gagging*

Give the dog a bath, and try not to barf.

I am seriously scarred for life.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Our Family Vacation 2013!





Guess where we just spent three days??

Yup, a magical trip to Disneyland! It was great. Weather was great, park was busy but not crazy Christmas time crowded or anything. Our first day was probably the best for crowds and weather, but the rest of the trip was great too.

Things I want to remember... Nathan yelling, "Olivia!" And her turning and saying, "What? I'm right here!" Over and over and over again. It was really cute. He also really wanted to hold Abigail's hand a lot. It is fun to see the sibling bonding going on. Really the whole reason to take these vacations, if you ask me!

Nathan had the same reaction to pretty much everything, which was a blank stare. Good thing his ticket was still free! His favorite area of the entire two parks was this tiny little fake stream that he could put his feet in, and then a cave where he could put his hand and find his spirit animal. He did have some great reactions to seeing the characters from a distance. He would get really excited and happily freak out, and then we'd get close and he'd cry. Pretty typical of a 1 year old I suppose.

We also spent Saturday and Sunday with Douger and Allison and their 4 kids. We went to SeaWorld and of course the kids had a blast. They just love being together which is so fun. I have lots of pictures from there too but it is uploading weird. We fed Sea Lions, got splashed by a killer whale, went on super fun rides, and waited in a super long line for mediocre food, and had a super great time.

I am 25...24...26? somewhere around there weeks pregnant now, and I am huge already and so slow and I feel like this is what my body will feel like when I'm 80. I'm just slow and achy. Walking around the parks I felt like I was going as fast as I could, but literally someone passed me who was about 50 years older than me and walking with a cane. Poor Aaron had to slow down quite a bit from his usual Disney pace so I could keep up. And I was still always lagging behind.

Now it's back to reality, which is always hard after a nice 5 day vacation. But here we go!