"I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life;
to put to rout all that was not life and not when I had come to die, discover that I had not lived." ~Henry David Thoreau

Monday, November 23, 2009

Daddy Loves

There is nothing cuter to me than seeing Cody love on our new babies.

He never gets terribly involved during the pregnancy. He doesn't show a lot of interest in feeling my belly or anything like that. I honestly think part of it is fear. What if something goes wrong? A lot of what ifs. Plus he is a guy and he is visual. Most guys have to see something to feel anything for it.

But once our babies are born, Cody can't seem to let them go. The only perk to having a c-section is that Cody is always the first to hold the baby. That is special for him. And then when I'm all loopy from pain medication and still getting over the anesthesia, he sits in the room and loves on the baby while the nurses and staff tend to me. I love it that he has that time with the new one...all to himself.

He is a huge support to me. People tell me quite often how rare it is for a guy to be so hands on with his small children, especially infants. I think if Cody could breastfeed he would. Okay, not really. But he really loves to be a part of the new baby experience. Since Devin has been so difficult lately, Cody is always right there to help me out.

Last night I could not get Devin to quiet down and it was really late. Cody needed to get to bed, but instead he stayed up past midnight to help calm his baby boy. I sat on the couch and watched Cody cuddling with him, talking sweetly to him, all while walking the floor. He stays so calm and patient.

And yesterday morning when Devin and I had BOTH had a hard night, Cody held him almost all morning while I got much needed stuff done for Primary and got the rest of the family ready for church. I snapped that top picture right before I had to leave. Cody said he wished he could give him a bottle because he wanted to stay snuggled like that all day while the kids and I went to church. But since I'm the only one who can feed him, I took him with me. Cody then quickly got ready and met us there.

I have an amazing husband. I grow to appreciate him more and more everyday. I've said it before and I'll say it again. He is not at all perfect. But he's great and I don't think I could have found a better daddy for my children if I searched for one hundred years. I am blessed.


What an enigma!! Figuring this kid out has been a real challenge. He gets so worked up and has a terrible time calming himself down, especially when his sisters are around to bother him.

The other night it was really late and Devin was SCREAMING. He was so worked up that he couldn't even eat. Cody suggested I swaddle him. It took me by surprise because Devin hated to be swaddled when he was brand new. In the hospital the nurses would always swaddle him before they handed him to me, and he would immediately protest.

But on this particular night I was completely out of gas and ideas, so I tried it. He squirmed for a few seconds, but then calmed down. It was amazing! I plugged a binky in his mouth and he was asleep in a couple of minutes. It has worked almost every time to calm him ever since. I've found the best way for him to take a nap during the day is to put the swing in our QUIET bedroom away from the kids, turn on the fan for white noise, plug his binky in, and swaddle him up nice and tight. It works!

What do you know- baby #4 and I'm still figuring things out. Each child is so different and what works for one doesn't always work for the others. I have to go back to the drawing board with every new baby.

Cody, you are a genius!

Devin- Six Weeks

We survived the first 6 weeks- or 42 days. That always feels like a huge milestone. Maybe it's because it is such a huge milestone in terms of my own physical recovery. I am now good to start exercising again and I started off the week by walking to pick Ethan up from school. It may not sound like a big deal, but for someone who hasn't been able to exercise in months and who is still recovering from major surgery, it's big. I packed Devin in the sling and pushed the girls in the double stroller. I was REALLY feeling it when I approached the school. It felt awesome! Now I'm going to dust off my lonely eliptical and start using it tomorrow...that is if I can find thirty minutes of time away from my extremely high maintenance baby.

Devin started off life as a perfect baby. Then at about week three he started to get fussy and throw up sometimes after eating. And I'm not talking about spit up- I'm talking about projectile vomit that comes shooting out and hits you in the face! His attitude progressively got worse and he was throwing up a lot, and now at week 6 we are all pretty miserable around here.

I took him to the doctor on Friday and he is sure he's got reflux, so he started him on a couple of different meds that day. I hate to medicate such a young baby, but I'm at my wits end. He stopped vomiting right away and hasn't done it since. But he is still in pain every time he eats and he cries so much of the time. I guess it's something that he'll grow out of, but in the mean time I am pretty frazzled.

At his appointment on Friday he weigh almost 11.5 pounds. What a chunker! Even though he is cranky a ton of the time lately, I am still absolutely in love with this little guy. I know it's just a phase that he has to go through, so I'm being pretty patient. Woo hoo! We made it the first 6 weeks!

The Best Big Sister

There is a reason that God made Hailey the oldest girl in our family. She is a little mommy. She has an incredible nurturing side and loves to take care of everyone. Today after lunch I changed Lauren's diaper and told her to grab her cup and blanket and go get on her bed. I had a few things to take care of before I tucked her in, so I told her I'd be in there in a minute to put her down for a nap.

A few minutes later I heard talking coming from Ethan's room and I found Hailey sitting in the floor reading Lauren a story. (Ethan's book shelf has quite the spread of books so his room in always the gathering place for story time.) Hailey said she was reading Lauren her nap time book. She then tucked her into bed all by herself. It is the sweetest thing watching her take care of her brothers and sister.

On her preschool "get to know you" work sheet we filled out a few months back, one of the questions was "What do you want to be when you grow up?" You will never guess what Hailey answered.

-A mommy.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Letters To Santa

Yes, we realize that Thanksgiving hasn't even happened yet. But tonight for FHE we wrote letters to Santa. We decided to do that so we could teach the kids about charity and giving to others, and especially to talk about what we already have to be thankful for. We agreed that we do have numerous blessings in our lives and that sadly, there are many people out there who are not as fortunate. So this week we're going to go through toys and pick out some things to give to charity for children who don't have as much. And in return, Santa will be bringing us some new fun things. Thus the letter writing at the end of the lesson.

Even though the kids are little, we want to start instilling in them the desire to serve others. Tonight I based the lesson around Mosiah 2:17 which reads "And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God."

Then we wrapped it up with chocolate pudding and whip cream. Yum yum!!

The letters crack me up. Ethan wrote his all by himself with a small amount of help. Hailey had help holding her pen. And Lauren, well hers' was all over the map!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Lazy Saturdays

We woke up this morning to snow falling outside. It's the perfect day to lazy around, eat a late breakfast, and watch cartoons. No where to run off to. How perfect. We'll bust out the hot cocoa in a little while!

Friday, November 13, 2009


Oh how I love wearing this guy against my chest. When I first put him in the sling he gazes up at me for a long time, and then he gradually drifts off to sleep. He could stay like this for hours. It's simply amazing how carnal babies are. They know their mamas and there is nothing more secure to them. He is so cuddly!

Joseph's Monument

Over four months later and Joseph's monument was finally planted in the ground today. This has been my dad's baby and I've been touched at the great care he has taken to get it just right. He struggled over the perfect wording and the perfect...everything. He even designed on the computer the logo that Joseph had created a long time ago, the same logo that he put on his hard hat for work. Dad got it perfect and better yet, the monument maker got it perfect. It's the strange symbol at the bottom of the front side, in case you were wondering.

So today it went in the ground. Dad called me from the cemetery and told me. He sounded peaceful. I think it gave him some closure. I asked him to take pictures because I wanted to see it. When I opened the email from him with the pictures attached, I lost it. It was like seeing his coffin all over again. Seeing his name and his birth and death dates...it was too much for me.

But it is a beautiful piece of work. And I feel good knowing that he is laid to rest next to my dad's parents. I imagine Grandpa's big strong arms wrapped around him, keeping him safe and secure. Mom and Dad finally decided not to sell Bofe's Trailblazer. It's the car pictured with Dad. It is Joseph. Everything about that car is so personal to him. The smell, the bling, the running boards and heated seats, everything. It's so decked out. I remember the first time I saw him pull up in that new car and I said "Holy cow, how can you afford that?" He just gave me that cocky smile and threw his head back with a "Wuzz uuup..."

Dad has been driving it since a few weeks after he died. I like to know that it's staying in the family and that it won't be sold. It makes me feel like he is still close by. He's not gone for good. I know we'll be reunited one day and it will be an awesome day, to say the least. But how I ache in the meantime. I miss you Bofie. I love you, my kid brother. I will never stop feeling like this. Hang on because we'll all be together again one day. You just finished the test sooner than the rest of us.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Devin- 1 Month Old

This has possibly been one of the fastest months in my life. So much has happened in the last four weeks, and honestly it is all a blur. Devin is one month old today and I'm a little sad. I'm a little sad that his newborn phase is drawing to an end. I'm a little sad that he doesn't really feel content to just lie curled up on my chest and sleep. But on the flip side there is so much to look forward to!

I'm seeing his personality emerge more and more everyday. And a large part of that personality spells D-I-V-A. Can a boy be a diva? This boy can. He has to have everything a certain way and he will let you know if you are doing it wrong.

He has started into his night time fussy stage too. It all starts about 6:00 each evening, right as I'm trying to get dinner on the table. Nothing makes him happy at night, except to be snuggled in the sling against my chest. But I have a million things to get done during that time and even though I am hands free, it's still very hard to do things like bathe children. I know this phase will end, but right now it's pretty challenging for me.

Over all he is such a good boy and we are so in love with him. We look forward to all of his milestones that are yet to come! We love you Devin, and we can't imagine our family with out you in it!

Uh oh, someone has displeased him! Sound the alarms! Someone is going to pay!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Missing Joseph

I've always loved the Thanksgiving season. And I find it sad that Thanksgiving gets over shadowed being squished in between Halloween and Christmas. But it's been one of my favorite holidays for as long as I can remember.

As I was thinking about the new month we're in and making plans for the upcoming weeks, my heart suddenly sank. I realized it was one year ago that I saw my dear brother last. We drove to Texas to spend the holiday with my family after I'd suffered a devastating miscarriage earlier in the month. It was healing to be around people I loved so much. That week is filled with some of the best memories of my life. Nothing spectacular happened, but there was something almost magical about that time. Maybe the Lord made it that way for us because He knew it would be our last.

I don't think Thanksgiving will ever be the same for me, or for the rest of my family either. There will always be something missing. It's been four months and one day since Joseph was taken from us. And to be honest, it hasn't gotten much easier. Everyone has told me that time heals the wound that death leaves behind. But no where near enough time has passed. I still miss him and it's still as raw as it was four months ago. I guess the only thing that has gotten easier is that I don't "belly flop" near as often as I did in the first few weeks. I think my mind has almost accepted the fact that he is gone. But the pain is still there and it burns. I don't think it ever stops burning. At least I can't imagine it not burning anymore.

It's like a terrible itch that I can't scratch. And no matter how badly I want to scratch it, it's just unscratchable. That's what his death feels like for me. I can't bring him back. I can't talk to him like I could before. I know one day I will be with him again and he'll give me one of his huge Joseph hugs, but in the meantime all I can do is imagine that day. And cry.

This time of year is hard. I miss you, Joseph. I always will.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A Halloween to Remember

There are moments in parents' lives that they never forget. The birth of each baby, milestone birthdays, graduations, and especially holidays where everyone is sick. Halloween 2009 is a memory that will last forever.

The day started with mom feeling terrible. Not because she was sick, but because of post baby related stuff. Recovery this go around has been very difficult and she was feeling very sore and weak all day long.

To make things worse, Ethan and Lauren were running fever and Lauren had a really bad head cold also. To top it off, all day long Hailey had been having pee-pee accidents in her pants every half hour. Mom and Dad's nerves were shot. Oh, and Devin had been colicky the whole night before for some unexplained reason. We were all exhausted, emotionally and physically.

In the afternoon Hailey started running fever too. She then started screaming and crying every time she tried to go to the bathroom. Putting all the clues together only meant one thing- a urinary tract infection. And on Halloween! After much deliberation about whether to let the kids go trick-or-treating, we finally decided to let them go to at least a few houses. It just wasn't worth the fight making them stay home entirely.

By dinner time Hailey was feeling TERRIBLE, but she still really wanted to go. So we quickly got them all dressed, snapped some pictures, and they were off with Dad. A really tired and sore mom stayed home to pass out candy to the 1,000 trick-or-treaters who showed up.

As soon as Dad walked back in the door with the kids, mom quickly got Hailey changed and ready so Dad could take her to instacare. Luckily there were a few open even with the holiday. So mom stayed home taking care of the other sick kids, and Dad and Hailey got back home around 11:00 that night. Yup, Hailey for sure had a UTI. As a bribe to get her to pee in the cup, Dad promised her a McDonald's milkshake. She walked in sporting the shake and was very proud of herself.

The nurses and doctor (who's last name happened to be Pepper...no joke) loaded her up with lots of stickers and handfulls of candy. What a lucky girl! Except for the whole UTI thing. What an eventful night! Good thing we gained an hour of sleep with the time change last night.

It was a Halloween to remember!

A witch
A ladybug- notice the costume change from the day before! Still refusing to wear her fairy costume that she picked out.
Happy Halloween!

Dad's Work Party

Every Halloween Daddy's office holds a little party at the end of the day for all the employee's families. The kids always love going because they get loads of candy at this one since they get to trick-or-treat at all the offices. This year was no different.

Getting everyone ready to go on time was a feat for me, especially since I've only done it a couple of times with no help so far. Four kids feels like a LOT more than three kids right now. It would have gone smoothly, except when I was getting Lauren dressed in the fairy princess costume that SHE picked out from the store, she suddenly turned into a two year old and threw a tantrum. So I tried to appease her by gathering up every costume we had that would fit her.

She went back and forth between a cow, a tiger, a lady bug, and back again to a fairy. This went on for quite a while and I was going insane. At one point she was wearing the tiger costume and we were running late so I decided that she would wear that, no ifs, ands, or buts. She cried. "I don't want a tiger!!!!" What a fun time. As you can tell from the picture, she isn't that happy.

Devin was a cow and stayed tucked inside the sling the whole time and even though he was hidden, I knew he looked absolutely adorable! More pictures of him to come.

Carving Pumpkins

"Who wants to carve pumpkins?"

"Me! Me! Me! Me!"

We gather all the tools, roll up sleeves, and it holds the kids' interest for maybe five minutes. Mom always ends up doing all the work. Why is that??

Chubba Bubba

I think my milk is pure cream.

Enough said.