Monday, December 27, 2010


Well, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

Welcome to the family, Wii. With how much time the kids have spent looking at you, talking about you, and playing with you, I'm pretty sure you're the 6th member of the family.

(Anyone have any must-have Wii games for these newbies?)

Monday, December 20, 2010

like mother, like daughter


Today you made me extra glad to be your mom. I've always felt like you, specifically you, were sent to me. You have impressed me so many times. I can't imagine a better daughter.

You're so much nicer and kinder than I ever was as a child. However, there are so many areas where we are just the same. Your dad tells me you and I "snuggle the same way." We both take a long time to really wake up. Your dad also says we have the same attitude (that's ok, I promise you it will come in handy, just maybe not with him). We like shopping, especially when it's just the two of us and we find a good sale. We both have a soft spot for babies. We both like to cook goodies, and also eat them. I love that we enjoy doing these things together. But, as I said, today I noticed that you might be taking after me in another way. Even though your strongest subject right now is math (and it was never my strongest), you love words. Writing. I was an avid journal-writer, even when the things I wrote were silly and juvenile. I'm not the best at keeping up with my journal anymore, but I am pretty good about recording the important stuff.

I still have all my old journals. I don't always like to read them because they're so silly, but I am glad I have them. Today you were given a journal by our neighbor. Sure enough, when I sent you to bed tonight you asked - as you do every night - if you could stay up and write for a few minutes. When you pulled out your new journal and opened the first page I couldn't help but feel proud. I was even more proud when you came out and showed me what was on that page. You decided to title it "Emma's stories." You wrote about our family, telling a little about each of us and including our ages and birthdays; and you got them all right. You even included your little sister, reminding me that you know just what an important member of our family she is.

I saw a bit of myself in you tonight, as you wrote what you felt. I know you're going to record some wonderful and important (and probably some not-so-important) things in that book, and I hope you will keep it - your very first journal, with green and purple elephants on the cover - forever.

Thanks for reminding me just how important the small stuff can be.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

the season

I love this Christmas season. And I love the season of life I am smack-dab in the middle of.
Life events usually cause us to step back and take a look at our lives. Before Tanner was born I knew my life would have to slow down. I think we all know that life doesn't actually slow down with a baby but it definitely has caused me to re-evaluate and change my priorities. I don't get a whole lot done around the house anymore because I would rather play with Tanner. And I'm totally ok with that. This is probably my favorite age - 5 months - because babies are so fun and interactive at this age. He will only be 5 months old one time. Who cares if my floors need mopped?

I have to keep telling myself that just because there are a hundred good things I can be doing, the more things I take on the more things will pile up and knock at my door. I have to prioritize the best things. I can't help with every teacher request, and I can't help with every class party. I can't do everything. I've noticed that if I am really busy it takes a toll on my kids. And as much as I sometimes loathe the things that go along with having little kids, I really treasure the small moments. I treasure almost everything, including the messy diapers. Those messy diapers mean he's healthy. Being up in the middle of the night with the baby means that we have alone time that is quiet and is just the two of us. Listening to him cry (a lot) means he's got good lungs. Working on homework means I get to teach my kids how to do math and how to sound out words.

I love this season of life. I love that things don't come easy for us, that we have to struggle sometimes, that we go through trials, and that we get to see the small miracles that inevitably follow. I love that I get to stay home with them during this most critical time when they are little and are so mold-able (even if it means driving a 13 year old car), and that I get to help shape who they are becoming.

I also treasure the Christmas season. I love how it makes us all feel. There's lots of baking and eating and talking and wrapping. Here are some other things making me happy:
*The gorgeous Christmas lights Spencer and the kids spent so long putting up outside. Every night Tanner and I walk around outside and watching his eyes dart around to all the lights brings a smile to my face.
*I get to enjoy my little family at home for Christmas this year. The kids are getting some pretty awesome stuff for Christmas, and I can't wait for Christmas morning.
*Spencer gets to use his 2nd paternity week (haha, finally!) over the holidays. Just in time, and right before his work schedule gets crazy for the next 9 months.
*My little brother has been in Australia for 2 years and gets home just after the new year, so I get to be with my family - all of them - to welcome him home. I am so excited to see and talk to him, and to introduce him to his newest nephew.
*I get my two school-aged kids home with me for TWO WEEKS. I can't say how excited I am for this; I really enjoy them and would much rather have them home with me than away. I am so lucky to have kids I truly enjoy being around.

And even though it's at the top of my blog now, I am about to make another blog book so I want it in a post - here is our family Christmas picture. Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Do you enjoy thrill rides? I sure do. Or, used to. :) I grew up going to Knott's Berry Farm quite often. As a tween/teen, it was more fun than Disneyland (pre-California Adventure) because, plain and simple, the rides were better. My memories of Knott's Berry Farm include funnel cakes and rock candy, and rides such as Kingdom of the Dinosaurs, the soap box cars, the log ride, the spinny water ride that was supposed to be "under the sea," Boomerang and Montezuma's Revenge. We would go there for a day during family reunions in Newport Beach at "our" beach house, and we'd go with friends at other times. My aunt and uncle even took us with them when they went on their honeymoon! Without fail, I would barely be able to walk out of the park at the end of the night, purely exhausted.

I hadn't been back since before I had children. We were in LA for Thanksgiving last week and we went with my parents. It was so much the same as I remember, and so different at the same time. The Log Ride probably is still my favorite, and as we were in the log the smells of the water (do you know what I mean?) put me back 15 years! I was thrilled when Tyler said that it was also his favorite ride. Some of the rides I remember are gone, and lots of new ones are in their places. I only went on a few rides, but one of them was intense and crazy, and right before we took off I said to my mom: "What am I doing? I have 3 kids!"

My kids were happiest on the kiddie rides in Camp Snoopy. I am coming to terms with the fact that they don't share my feelings of excitement with scary rides. Spencer even said, "Sorry. They're kinda like me." But, watching them on even the little rides still made me happy; they ate it all up just like I used to. I even forgot my camera back at home (my home) and I must say that not reaching for my camera every few minutes really helped me appreciate the fun they were having in that moment and I wasn't missing things while getting the camera ready. (At the same time, I SO appreciate that my mom had her camera and was taking pictures...)

At the beginning of the year I was determined to enjoy the journey a little more. We did some incredible things this year and went some amazing places, and I really feel like we got the most out of it. It's been exhausting and fun and such a thrill, and I can honestly say it's been a great time.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

elf time

Imagine our excitement when we got back from my parents' house to see this little guy waiting on our shelf. Emma, the little mommy that she is, made him a cozy bed and wrote lots of notes for him to take back to Santa.

Hermey's our favorite. And he's even on TV tonight!

He's gotten off to a slow start in terms of remembering to hide every night. I think we need to get a "hide rock" (like a prayer rock) and put it on his pillow. Because remembering at 3 a.m., and then scrambling and stumbling around, gets old real fast.

We're glad he's here for the next month. Let's just hope this I'm-tired-and-baby-still-wakes-up-a-lot-at-night mom can make her brain function enough to keep the Christmas magic going strong...

Monday, November 22, 2010

8 is great

8 years ago I waited--with a bunch of grooms--for Spencer. For 20 minutes. We had just been married, and were about to go outside the temple to see everyone and take pictures. Yes, I waited for him. That image still makes me laugh - me waiting with a bunch of men. He blames food poisoning but I sometimes wonder if nerves caused the upset stomach. :)

I can't believe it's only been 8 years because it feels like we've done so much, and have gone through so much. He's smart and good and righteous and I am so grateful he was and is still so persistent. We are perfect together.

Can't wait for the next 8!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

times and seasons

I've had some internal guilt the last few months, since school started.

Last year I helped in Emma's class for 2 hours a week. I went to snack recess with her, where she much preferred hanging out with me than her friends. I know that won't last long. At our elementary school, you can really only help in the classroom during kindergarten. So you have to get creative to get into the classroom after that. Tyler is in kindergarten now and I wish I could make a weekly commitment to be in his class. It's just not possible with a baby.

One of my friends gave me some good advice: Do those things that will directly affect your children. So, at this point of my life, when my time and situation doesn't allow me to be in Tyler's classroom to volunteer, and I don't really have many options to be around Emma during the day, I had to figure out a way to make it work. Being in the PTA is a great thing, but it's not what is most going to affect my children. I decided to become an art docent in their classes. It's just once a month but I went one time already and they absolutely ate it up. Tyler was so flattered that I mentioned to his class how much he likes to paint. Emma's friends/classmates were so enamored that "Emma's mom" came to talk to them about art and music. I'm trying to squeeze every minute out of them still thinking that their mom coming to their class is "cool."

I like being in direct contact with my children while they're at school, even if it's just for 45 minutes once a month. While there are lots of things I could be doing that would benefit the school, I like knowing I'm benefitting the kids. Maybe someday in the future I'll be PTA president (ha). Right now I'd rather spend my time with my kids and their friends, even if just for a short time, than with a bunch of other parents.

Sunday, October 31, 2010


I remember being a young(er) mom with two tiny kids and not much to do. I remember telling a friend that if I ever went anywhere it was a place where I had to spend money. I couldn't wait for those days to be over, and for my days to be filled with tons of things to do and places to go.

After this past week I wish so badly I could transport myself back 5 years so I could enjoy the non-busyness and could once again just be with my kids at home, playing, reading and singing songs all day. Between school, dance class, teaching art lessons, school meetings, church stuff, Macie's bday, a field trip, getting chewed out over email, a parade and being heavily involved in two Halloween parties, the only chances I had to sit down this week were when I was feeding Tanner.

But, my cute baby perfected his pout...

And I think it's pretty cute. And cute pout = spoiled baby.

And these three had, perhaps, the most fun non-Halloween ever.

We got a bounce house and had a party here. By the end of the night Tyler looked like he hadn't slept in days. Tanner missed out on jumping but he had lots of people to smile at. And cute Emma, wanting to "match" Tanner, decided to be a pumpkin princess. Love that girl.

Was it me or did October completely fly by? Oh well; Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 25, 2010


I can't fathom the fact that I should have a sweet little girl turning 2 today.

So, instead of being all sad, I decided to write about Sandy. I don't think I have mentioned on this blog the little "tender mercy" we experienced with regard to her.

But let me start at the beginning. On that warm October day just two years ago was when we met Sandy. She is a baby nurse at the hospital. The charge nurse had come and told her there was a fetal demise and that she needed to go to the operating room. She didn't want to; who would want to?! But she did. I remember when she brought Macie to me after I was in a recovery room. She held her small body with such care and love. She told me her weight and her length and, crying, handed her to me as if she were a squirming, living newborn. Right before I was discharged from the hospital she told me she wanted to see me back there at some point in the future.

Well, 2 weeks before Tanner was born, as I quietly lay in the hospital room during a non-stress test, loving every second of hearing his heartbeat, Sandy walked into the room. I was surprised to see her and she quickly asked if I remembered her. Of course I did!  She started crying (as did I) as she told me how glad she was to see me back. She told me she had been waiting for me to come back and would periodically look for my name in the patient files. We were both excited to find out she would be the baby nurse on call on July 15th, the day of my scheduled c-section.

Then Sandy wanted to talk about Macie. The tears got bigger as she said she remembered that day so clearly. She even told me just last week that she will never forget that day, and that she remembers it like it was yesterday.
She said, "Giving her to you was one of the hardest things I have ever done. But taking her back from you was harder."

Sandy then told me that after we gave Macie back to her that afternoon, she sat down on a chair in another room and cried. She cried that such bad things had to happen to such nice people. I'm sure I would have done the same thing. But Spencer and I were in another room, together, experiencing little miracles, miracles that somehow got us through the trial.

Sandy has become an angel in our lives. I was blessed to have her with me when Tanner was born. She let me lean on her as the spinal was injected into my back. She sat next to me and constantly asked how I was feeling. When Spencer and I heard Tanner's cry we both choked back tears. Tears of relief. Tears of gratitude. Tears that clearly said He's alive. Sandy got him and instantly brought him over to show me before cleaning him off. She made sure I knew he was perfect, to calm my fears. She took him (and Spencer) to the recovery room to wait for me. When I finally got to recovery I got to watch her, once again, hold my precious child with such care. This time it was Tanner that she bathed and handed to me. Once again I was so grateful for her kindness and sensitivity.  I know it helped her to see us come full circle. She will forever have a special place in my heart, as the angel who watched over two of my angels.

So today, we are celebrating the short life of our little daughter/sister. Spencer is taking the day off. We will throw her a bday party, send her some balloons, and all hug each other (and especially little Tanner) a little tighter. What a blessing she is to our family, and to some otherwise complete strangers.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

fruits (or vegetables) of my labors

So, if I can pretty much throw some stuff together (stuff = dirt, seeds, water) and grow a massive garden, I guess anyone can do it. After recognizing that I might have a domestic bone in my body after all, Spencer told me he's going to start calling me Betty.
Here's what we got this year:
  • About 350 tomatoes, Roma and Beefsteak. Originally we had 6 tomato plants and 3 were eaten by gophers. For once I'm grateful for those darn gophers! When the plants started to get out of control my dear friend suggested canning them (huh?) and then even took the time to do it with me so I could learn. Then she gave me an awesome salsa recipe. And, this week we made and canned marinara sauce. I'm going to start calling her Martha. (We also canned peaches! But we decided that is NOT worth the work. Good to know.)
  • 12 spaghetti squash. When the big leaves were covering part of the lawn for just too long Spencer picked them all (slightly before they were ripe). Lesson learned for next year. (They still tasted good.)
  • About 45 strawberries. The kids loved getting to eat a strawberry every day or two.
  • 15 carrots.
  • 10 pumpkins. Perfect for the next couple months! And I'm excited the kids get their own, grown in our very own garden.
  • About 50 zucchini. While I was in the hospital they grew a ton and by the time my mom was here and started picking them they were enormous. One was as long as my arm, and much fatter - about 10 pounds! Needless to say, we eat lots of zucchini around here. And we learned how to make a really yummy dish ("goulash") with all of it, in addition to some other veggies.
  • The cantaloupe starter we planted went nowhere and died. For the second year in a row. I'll need to figure out what I'm doing wrong.
I'd say it was a successful summer out in the backyard!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

the prowl

Man, I hate to run. I like the idea, but I hate actually doing it. This is ironic since I come from a family of runners. I have started it again - finally - because I'm trying to lose about 5 lbs but as I was telling a friend, "Once those pounds are gone, I am done!" I have a love/hate relationship with that treadmill.

I guess I should be happy that our school's one fundraiser a year isn't selling anything, but instead that it's a run.  I love how excited these two have been for weeks in anticipation, wondering just how far their little legs could carry them.

The school wants the kids to get pledges, to collect money for how many laps they run. Since I am not comfortable at all soliciting money for something like this (or ever, for that matter), Spencer and I just make a small flat donation. And that way, we're not out big bucks when our little speed demons run way further than we thought they could (like Emma last year).

In true form, Emma left another note for us last night, and at the end asked if Spencer could come watch her run. So he moved things around, worked from home, and was even on a conference call during her race (yay for headphones). Tyler ran in the morning, when it was still cool. That kid was a maniac and didn't stop running for the entire 25 minutes! He ran 9 laps around that track (2+ miles), while Spencer and I watched in amazement. I even told him he could walk if he wanted but he looked at me like I was crazy and kicked it up a notch.

Emma ran in the afternoon. She was more concerned about high-fiving all the kids who lined up to watch, as well as talking to her friends, so she did 7 laps. Maybe I need to take them out running with me; the conversation would be interesting and I would be too embarrassed to stop early. And I just might enjoy it a little more.

Thanks kids; way to show me up.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

this week

  • I got mastitis for the first - and hopefully last - time.
  • Tyler had one of the worst days of his life, that ended with lots of thorns in his hands and elbows.
  • Emma compared me to a pig and how they feed their babies.
  • Emma left me a note (notes are a nightly occurrence) saying when she's a mom she isn't going to yell at her kids (wanna bet?). Ouch.
  • Some of our good friends moved away.
  • I tried to let Tanner cry it out, but after 75 minutes couldn't take it anymore. It put me in a bad mood and I felt awful the rest of the day. His will is stronger than mine.
  • Spencer was gone for two days and by the time he got home I had never been happier to see him.
  • So...Spencer took the big kids to work with him yesterday (Saturday).
  • Tanner started interacting/playing with me. He's lucky, because that's the ONLY thing that saved him this week.
Saying I'm glad it's over would be an understatement.

Friday, September 17, 2010

best and worst

I can't tell you how many times the famous words It was the best of times, it was the worst of times have gone through my head in the last two months (and I don't even like that book)!

There is almost nothing I love more than a tiny baby. I love the smells, the snuggling, the feeling, the staring into each other's eyes. I love how it feels to hold and love someone who grew inside of me for so long. I love the purity of a baby, knowing that he came straight from heaven. I love showing him off, and hearing "he's so cute!" all the time. I love how he smiles at me, even when he's eating, and I almost cried last night when he (finally!) smiled at Spencer. And, I love being SO loved by the baby...I love how he calms down when I hold him and how he snuggles up into my neck, how he knew immediately that I'm his mom and that I love him more than anything. I love that after 9 weeks I am finally pain-free.

At the same time, I can't imagine anything more hard or emotional. I feel like my emotions are so heightened for the weeks after the birth. I get so frustrated when I hear the baby's crying for the 8th time during the night. I cringe when he wakes up every single time I put him down for a nap. I get frustrated when he wakes up every single time the car stops. And when he's so overtired from NOT sleeping, I completely run out of patience. I hate how sometimes I don't know what he wants. I hate that he won't take a pacifier, but I am persistent and continue to put it in his mouth even when he's asleep just so maybe, just maybe he'll get used to it and like it. It grosses me out that I have only changed ONE plain wet diaper in 2 months; the kid messes his pants at least 8 times a day. I don't like that I get nothing done. It bugs me that I often intend to vacuum for 5 days before it actually happens. I wish he'd grow up quickly and be a little more easy to handle, but the larger part of me is devastated that he's growing up so fast and I wish I could freeze time and keep him a sweet little baby forever.

So you see, I am either crazy with my ups and downs or I'm just a regular mom who experiences such drastic emotions with a new baby. Regardless, I sure love this kid. I love holding him and playing with him. Maybe because, as Spencer says, I had to be pregnant for 18 months to get him. And I'm so so grateful.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

tanner's day

Spencer blessed Tanner in church on Sunday. It was pretty low-key but it was just how I wanted it. Spencer did a great job, as always. Tanner was (shockingly) so good during the blessing, and just looked around and was quite alert, from what I heard. Maybe it had to do with the fact that he was wearing his BYU socks and they had just won the day before.

Or maybe it was because his Grandma and Papa were able to be here and hold him to his little heart's content.

Regardless, I'm glad he was happy and cooperative. He's such a sweet boy.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

i blinked

Will someone please tell me when we became old fogies? Old enough to have two kids in school? Now I can't stop thinking about how soon college will be here... (Emma was taking the picture.)

Someone else please tell me when I became so emotional! I cried the whole walk home! Thankfully, Spencer came with us this year and was able to console a sulking wife as we pushed Tanner home in the stroller. Thank goodness for Tanner.

At least this boy will still blow me kisses while my heart is breaking a little bit. When I picked him up he told me about all the kids who "didn't keep the rules." He is SO Spencer's child.

And this girl...she asked me if she could be shy the first day. Haha. Check out her wardrobe. That's her grandma's influence.
How many days until summer break?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

my oldest

Before I even got pregnant with Emma, I knew we would be having a girl. The doctor surprised us at my first appointment, at 16 weeks, and told us they could already tell and that it was a girl (that part wasn't surprising). I was thrilled. And now I can say what a phenomenal baby she was, especially after having these two boys who weren't/aren't quite so phenomenal...

I am so lucky Emma came first. She is always asking for Tanner after I feed him, so he isn't permanently attached to me like Tyler was. And he loves her! He rarely cries when she's toting him around, even though he'll usually cry when I take him back. Basically Emma is eating up the whole baby thing going on around here, as evidenced by this picture.
(Doesn't he look so happy?)

I love knowing I am raising my own baby-sitter, and a future mother. After Macie died Emma told me she was never having kids, as all she knew or remembered of my childbearing experience was grief, but she has now changed her mind and wants 100. I'll settle for anything in between. I'm glad she's getting to mother this little guy - I think it's therapeutic for her and is also giving her some good practice. And I'm glad she's around for another week before she's in school FULL DAY (yikes).

I love this girl. What a blessing she is to me.
(Helping him play "Go Fish.")

Sunday, August 15, 2010

1 month

It's been a fun/stressful/busy month around here.

It's hard to go from having a 6 and 5 year old to throwing a newborn in the mix. The kids are so patient when I tell them they have to wait for things because I'm "feeding the baby." I had forgotten that it can take an hour to feed a newborn.

We traveled to LA for my only sister's wedding (3 weeks post-partum). I cried through the whole thing (and my head cold didn't help). All the wedding events were wonderful. So happy for them.

Spencer has worked more during this time period than ever before. It makes me wonder if we'll ever be able to use his 2 weeks of paid paternity leave...maybe someday things will slow down.

Speaking of Spencer...he has a new calling. So in addition to being alone on weekday evenings with the kids right now, I'm also alone on Sundays. Blessings, right?

Tanner has taken after his older siblings: not great nappers but pretty good night sleepers. I definitely prefer that, but sometimes during the day I wonder if it's worth it. (Don't let the yawn fool you.)

I start to feel great, then do "too much" (which is really nothing at all) and pay for it the next day. Incision is still sore.

Tanner has smiled at me - a real smile - 3 times now.

And, I finally got some newborn pictures of him. It took me until he was 4 weeks old but at least it's something.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


5 years ago, at 12:01 pm, I birthed this handsome redhead.

He still is a handsome redhead. I sure love this boy.

I also love that we can now stop talking about his birthday for a few months.
Happy Birthday buddy.

Saturday, July 31, 2010


I'm not a natural at this baby stuff. It takes me a few weeks to figure things out after having a baby. It took me until THIS baby to really "get" the swaddling thing. Emma never needed it (she was such a good, content baby), and Tyler was a belly sleeper. Then there's Tanner. I tried swaddling him a few times with some really big blankets. But the kid LOVES his hands. In fact, he was born with his hands next to his face, holding on to the umbilical cord. And he loves to touch his face and even hold his pacifier in with his hand. So...he can get out of all blanket swaddling, and could even in the hospital.

My wonderful sister in law (she must be psychic) sent me this "Swaddle Me" blanket sleeper. Spencer lovingly refers to it as Tanner's straightjacket. It has strong velcro in 3 places that keeps his hands in and keeps him from waking himself up with his hands.

The only problem is when he pees through his clothes, gets it wet during the night, and then I am left wondering what to do at 2 a.m. Maybe I need to buy a back-up.

Our "helpers" have all left and we're back to doing this parenting thing by ourselves. How grateful I am for parents and in-laws who took the time to come out and take care of me and the kids!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

the evolution of me + tanner


I'm glad I documented this pregnancy well because it was probably my last. I get teary whenever I think that, but with the things my body went through my doctor thinks we should be done. Part of me - a very small part - misses having him inside me and having that bond that only the two of us could experience.

Anyway, I am loving that this handsome little guy is now a week old. It's been an interesting week. I never really "got" the whole newborns just sleep and eat thing - Emma and Tyler were awake a lot and had to be entertained from the beginning. Tanner is showing me that he can be a real newborn, sleepy and all. He is so darling and we consider it a treat when we get to see him with his eyes open. I'm soaking up this newborn thing, because I don't want to forget just how precious this time is.

I feel so privileged that I got another chance to be a mother, and I'm so grateful to Spencer for being so full of faith. He had to give me lots of blessings throughout this pregnancy and always promised me that this baby would be ok. It sure was a rollercoaster ride and I consider myself the luckiest girl around right now. (I am also lucky because I've had my mom here this week - there is nothing quite like having your mom there when you need her...too bad the week is almost over.)

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Well, "baby week" turned out to be a little more dramatic than anticipated, starting with a failed amnio (two, actually) throwing a c-section in there and a heck of a lot of scar tissue (resulting in a ruptured bladder), and ending with me being the not-so-proud owner of a catheter bag that is basically attached to me for another week.

BUT, there is a new man in my life and I am completely smitten. He was finally born on Thursday, July 15th at 7 lbs 5 oz. There was a split second in the operating room when Spencer and I heard him cry and we shared a quick glance that I know expressed some incredible relief, as well as a tear or two, before he was swept off to be cleaned up. I wonder what those last final minutes were like for him before he was born. I know they were emotional for me. I know he's been well taken care of.

He is so sweet, loves to be held, and reminds me a lot of his older brother. The kids adore him, and I finally made it home from the hospital today so we are all together again. There is something so special in the home when there's a new baby. I don't think much can come closer to heaven.

I hope I can recover quickly, because it's summer and I have stuff I want to do! For now, I'm off to hold this little guy some more.

Friday, July 9, 2010

oh yeah

Recently, a friend told me that she thinks how we are when we're pregnant is how we'll be when we're old. I have thought a lot about this, and I have mixed feelings about this theory. If when I'm old I can feel how I felt with my first three pregnancies, I'll take it. If I have to feel how I've felt this time, no thank you.

Before we lost Macie I had put together a blog post (and thank goodness never published it) on the things I would NOT miss about being pregnant. It was deleted soon after, but I'm pretty sure it included something about my crazy appetite, having swollen feet, getting lots of stares, getting lots of comments on how big/small I am, etc.

Funny enough, for the 15 months after that, I would have given my left arm for any and all of those things again.

And now, I am back to the "oh yeah..." stage where it starts to get a little old. Maybe I'm just getting "old" but I've definitely found more to whine about this time. However, this baby's movements are someting I am thankful for every single day. Those I don't complain about. Spencer is constantly asking me if I've felt him move lately, so I'm always grabbing his hand to put on my belly so HE can feel a snippet of what I'm feeling. As much as all the testing and ultrasounds are getting a little old, I love hearing how big he is, seeing where exactly his body is inside of mine. I love knowing that the movements on my right side are his feet and hands, and the movements on my left side are his bum and sometimes his hands and knees. My twice-weekly non-stress tests at the hospital reassure me that everything can actually be ok this time. I love lying there, listening to his heartbeat on the monitor. I keep the TV off and enjoy the peace and quiet. His movements (inside of me) I will miss.

Oh, but since I'm keeping it real there are still so many things I am happy to be relieved of:
*Having a hard time bending over, or getting up from sitting on the floor.
*How it's hard to give myself a pedicure.
*Being ravenous all the time, especially at night. (Luckily, this ends for me the second that baby is out.)
*Being sore.
*Using the restroom about 3 times as much as usual.
*Telling my kids I'm too tired/it's too hot to go to the park.
*Having to pay such close attention to movement, and worrying constantly about this baby. The stress is a lot more than I thought it would be.
*Gaining a lot of weight (luckily it hasn't been hard to get rid of yet but who knows, this IS my 4th...)
*Having red, itchy, dry eyes (weird side effect for me).

So, this week I bought a new swimsuit (NON maternity; I am excited to wear it!).

The kids made a countdown chain to their little brother's birth.

All the clothes are washed and put away. I have WAY more girl clothes than boy clothes, by the way...

But, the bedrooms are NOT ready. In fact, there are 3 or 4 dolls sleeping in the crib. I haven't had the heart to evict them yet. I guess I don't need to.

I hope we can figure out a name for this guy.

And, I hope I remember how to diaper a baby.

Friday, June 25, 2010

rediscovering the library

I remember reading Charlotte's Web in one day when I was 8 years old. Man I loved that book. Some of my other favorites included the books in the American Girls series (there were only 4 girls when I was young). I remember reading Jane Eyre and Grapes of Wrath before my freshman year in high school and absolutely loving both (especially Grapes of Wrath, surprisingly). I read Emma while I was pregnant with Emma...that probably played a part in how she got her name.

I remember when Emma was a baby and I had no friends and very few commitments, I would spend hours a day reading to her. She loved every second of it, and I think the reason she loves books so much now is that we spent so much time with our noses in all her little board books. I read to Tyler quite a bit but not nearly as much as Emma...I guess there's nothing like that first baby, and having all the time in the world. Over the last year I haven't been nearly as good and faithful at reading to them. When Emma had homework to read or be read to, I would struggle in remembering to write down the books. I also didn't like doing it just because it was "homework."

I used to take the kids to the library every single Tuesday. This was about 2 years ago (ironically, during the time I was last pregnant). They loved it and I looked forward to new books, and to getting out. Our library trips abruptly ended when Macie died, my life halted, and I lost a library book somewhere in the house, and then things just seemed to be crazy for a while. The habit died after that.

Yesterday, realizing the kids seriously needed an outing, and understanding that I am now quite limited in what I can do, we headed to the library. When I told them they could each get their own library cards, instead of just using mine, they were thrilled. (I don't know why I never did this before.) I loved watching them write their names on the back of their shiny new cards, and we walked down the hall to the children's area. Emma went crazy and picked as many as she could carry (10). She is SO my child. Tyler looked around for a minute and declared, "I don't want any." That kinda pricked I took him over and showed him how sometimes you can tell if you want to read a book by the pictures you see on the outside. I think the amount of books there was a little overwhelming. He found one that was familiar to him and chose it. I had to prod him to pick out more than just that one, and after he had 6 in his pile he was good to go.

We came home, went in on Emma's bed - like we used to do so often - and read about 9 of the ones they chose. It's just so much more personal being in on her queen bed - no distractions. And there is something different, so refreshing, about new books. I was just as excited as they were. We got giggling at one of the sillier books and I realized that this is precious time I need to spend with them. In a few weeks their lives will change a lot. It's been just the two of them for a long time, and I need to take full advantage of this short amount of time I have left to give everything I have to just them. I realized this while I spent several hours in the hospital on Wednesday, as the nurses had to stop my contractions. And while that meant I had to miss some fun pre-wedding things going on in my only sister's life this weekend (bigtime bummer!), I get to spend some extra quality time with my little munchkins. I can handle that.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

on we go

This past school year I have volunteered in Emma's class for 2 hours every Monday. While I would gripe about it beforehand, I would almost always eat my words as I sat there in the classroom. I loved seeing her interact with her peers and observe her helping those who sat at her table. And now I can't believe she's done with kindergarten! I'm glad I got to be a part of it. I love that she was proud to have me there.

Last week as I was in her class, I started prepping projects for next year's students. I realized that these are the projects Tyler will be doing in a few months. My little buddy, my sidekick, the boy who adores me will be permanently gone from the home for a certain period of time. After kindergarten, it just gets longer and longer until he's off to college/a mission, etc. I know it's excellent preparation for him, and it has to start somewhere - why not kindergarten with just 3 hours a day? I love that pre-school has prepared him so well socially and mentally for what is to come. I love that he has learned to deal with conflicts with friends and that he has learned to be on his own, and take ownership for something at such a young age. I love that he has new confidence from doing something totally alone. I love that he is learning about relationships, in a place where he has to be away from me and learn and grow on his own. But I can't help but feel nostalgia about him entering the school system.

In a way I am also starting over. I will have a new baby at home with me while my older two are gone. I get another chance to be that "better" mom that I think about all the time. I have been blessed with really good, pleasant children. I can only hope they stay that way as they are going to be faced with a lot. I can only hope that we've done enough where it matters most - in the home - for them to remember who they are and to continue what they have started. I really think they will be just fine, but sometimes I wonder if I will be.

In the meantime, I have been looking forward to the end of school, and to summer, for a long time. I am thrilled to have both kids home with me for a couple months. And I am so happy to have things slow down a little. Oh, and the end of the whole being out the door at 7:50 a.m. thing will be nice too. I am going to enjoy it, because it won't last long.

And, here is my little guy, in his graduation gear just tonight. I had a hard time not bursting into tears as he sat there and grinned at me. He and I sure have something special, and I love this kid more than anything.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Maybe it's from feeling eternally pregnant (one full pregnancy with no baby, and nearing the end of the next pregnancy, no baby yet) but I've had a hard time really picturing this stretching, hiccuping thing inside of me being a real human that will actually come out and need to be taken care of, and will need his own stuff. It's also hard for me to imagine I'm having a boy. I guess that I'm still sort of in girl mode. Maybe that's why when we bought this house, every single wall was painted (including bathrooms) except for Tyler's room. He kept asking for me to paint it red (um, no) and I just kept holding off, wanting to wait until we knew the gender of our next child, whenever that would be.

A few weeks ago we decided to buckle down and turn Tyler's room into the "boy's room." There were two separate twin beds in there (for when Emma gets kicked out of her queen bed/room for guests) and his room is small so we needed space for the crib. Thus...bunk beds. I sure knew what I didn't want but didn't know what I did want. After a lot of failed craigslist searching, we headed off to the store and found one that we really liked.

That was a Saturday. The beds were being delivered on the following Wednesday. Spencer was so excited with the idea that they were being delivered and put together for us (hallelujah for no grumpy husband) that he didn't take seriously my out-loud thoughts that the room simply had to be painted. BEFORE the beds came. He didn't want me painting, and he sure didn't want to do it himself.

So, I took matters into my own hands on that Monday. There are only about 8 million shades of blue, so it only took me about 6 hours in the store and online trying to find the perfect one. Blue is a tricky color to work with, and it had to be perfect. I came home, put samples on the wall, went in to look at the different colors a few times throughout the day, and hoped Spencer wouldn't notice when he got home from work.

(Sometimes) I love his lack of observational skills. He didn't notice. But my sweet, easily-excitable children had to show him how "mommy had painted on the walls." Oops. He just looked at me, sighed, and said, "I guess we're painting." Now that he was on board, or I guess had resigned himself to the fact that I wasn't going to be told "no," I was ready to go. I bought the paint, did all the taping, and had the kids clear out all the toys. Spencer took out the heavy stuff and did the "hard" painting but still let me do some of the painting. And...I LOVE IT. The blue is absolutely perfect. We put the last coat of paint on about 8 hours before the delivery guys showed up. They got the bunk beds in, we figured out where to put everything else (i.e., the crib), and voila - the room was ready.
But...this week I was doing a lot of vinyl projects for a friend, and realized that while I had my stuff out I might as well put some up in the boys' room. So...I began my online search for cute phrases. It took me several days (man, I hate transfer tape) but it is DONE, except for a few things to go on the walls. And we're all pretty darn happy with it.
(It says "To become a real boy you must prove yourself brave, truthful, and unselfish." - Pinocchio)
Tyler loves that he gets the top bunk (until/unless he pees the bed, and then I'm kicking him down to the bottom). Emma loves that she has a "2nd bed" and that we let her sleep in there if she wants. I love that the crib is up, and really really hope that we can use it this time. And I also love that now we have painted every single surface of this house, in just under 13 months' time.
Now to get this boy here safely... if the number of doctor appointments I have is any indication, he's in good hands. I've still got a while but you never know...

Monday, May 31, 2010

long weekend

I really have enjoyed this extra long weekend. More on what we did the first half of the weekend later in this post. But...yesterday and today have been perfect. I must say I find it slightly ironic that we spent some time at the cemetery yesterday, honoring our daughter/sister for Memorial Day, and we spent today getting things ready for the new baby. I love the cemetery where we chose to bury her (minus the Sunday Farmer's Markets they hold right outside the gates). They line the driveway with flags and also place them all over the grounds for the patriotic holidays. Emma, as always, picked some of our flowers to leave on Macie's headstone. We wondered what she is doing, and agreed that she is probably spending some time with her little brother, among other things.

Today we found the carseat, put together the crib, and are organizing Tyler's room. We've been busy in there the last week or so, and it looks pretty incredible if you ask me. I have been washing bedding, thinking of cute "boy" vinyl phrases for the walls, and wondering how I'll get through the next 2 months without losing my mind out of sheer worry and panic.

But the first half of our weekend...
Back at the beginning of the year, I made a decision to truly focus on some really exciting things that would be happening in our family. I was determined to enjoy the ride a little bit more and put more of a focus on keeping things fun and exciting - really living in the moment and not just getting through it. And right as summer is about to start, I keep thinking what a really FUN 6-7 months we have had. We went to Disneyland and Legoland (both almost entirely free!), we had a busy and fun Spring Break, I feel like I have cut back on my stress level, and Spencer and I got to travel around Europe (among other things). We still have a few more big events coming this year.

One such occasion happened this weekend. I guess there is something about camping that--when you're a kid--is just magical. I remember loving camping with my family. We eventually got a trailer that made it a little more comfortable, but I would argue that it didn't make it any more fun. And now I don't love camping. I don't love it, but I do love that my kids love it, even though it requires so much work.

This was our 3rd year going camping at the same place. It is the only time we even go camping all year. When we had to make a decision about going this year, it was literally while we were on our way to the airport, about to head off to Europe (we didn't include our kids in the discussion because we knew their thoughts exactly without even asking). One more trip didn't even sound fun at that point. We had a hard time committing, but we finally decided that we had to do it, for the simple fact that the kids LOVE it. Nevermind that I was going to be 7 months pregnant, or that we were slightly sick of traveling. We knew we had to go. For the kids.

And really, Spencer likes this almost as much as the kids do. I like it because nothing makes me happier than seeing my children have so much fun. We were only there 2 1/2 days but that was perfect for all of us. 5 hours of sleep at night and my very swollen ankles reminded me why I really enjoy my own bed. But the Ewok village, the river, the banana slugs, the campfires, the swinging for hours, the s'mores and the solid family time reminded me why we create these experiences for our families. The 8 loads of laundry (and the surprises I find in the laundry), the cleaning of crevices for days, the car sick-ness from windy roads, the bug bites and the pure exhaustion really is all worth it when we look at the pictures and remember the fun. I have a daughter who actually documents things better than I do, and watching her draw dozens of detailed pictures (along with putting our last name on the camping chairs) from camping this weekend, along with lines on the opposite side of the page (for journaling) sealed those sentiments. I would argue that they look forward to this more than Disneyland, and they talk about it more than any other vacations we go on. I guess that's why we create these experiences for our kids, even if it involves a little bit of sacrifice on our part.
I love the mischievous look on his face, about to squirt the boat full of girls. Well, and Spencer.

Emma was nervous to climb up the log and jump off, and I love seeing the pictures of the coaxing involved, as well as her expressions.
She and Brooke did it together. The dads waited patiently...
Love her face in this one. And Spencer's.
They were so proud.

Being pushed on the swings (and pushing your dad) is always a good time.
While Spencer was busy playing with the kids, one of my friends said "Your husband is so cute," (meaning, cute in playing with the kids). Spencer more than made up for my slack, and it made his day when Tyler said, "Dad, you're the best." Ahhh, success. And the lingering smell of a campfire.