"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

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Two Week Menu

I always mean to post our two week dinner menu, but never do. I like to archive it so I can look back and see what we ate and when, as not to duplicate too much. This is what's on the menu this month-

Mon 1st- Creamy pasta and chicken bake
Tues 2nd- Beef stew and rolls
Wed 3rd- Pork chop stuffing bake
Thurs 4th- Chicken pot pie
Fri 5th- Spaghetti and meatballs
Sat 6th- Chili and Texas corn bread
Sun 7th- Pot roast
Mon 8th- Italian cream cheese chicken
Tues 9th- BLTs and baked potato soup
Wed 10th- Hamburger and scalloped potato casserole
Thurs 11th- Orange chicken and rice
Fri 12th- BBQ pulled pork sandwiches
Sat 13th- Slow cooker lasagna
Sun 14th- Roast chicken
Mon 15th- Meat loaf

Anything good on YOUR menu?

"Halloween" Night

It is always awkard when Halloween falls on a Sunday and this hasn't happened since I was pregnant with Ethan. The good thing about living where we do is that most people celebrate Halloween on Saturday if it truly falls on a Sunday and it was the case this year. Leighann and Skylar came up from Provo to share our "spooky" dinner with us. In preparation for our dinner, the girls had fun helping me make these cute place cards and also planning our disgusting menu. A while back I found some awesome Halloween goblets and glasses and was excited to use them! They held blood to drink (black cherry kool aid) and we also had pumpkin barf and bones (orange tinted spinich artichoke dip and crackers), spider eggs (cheese balls), witches hats (upside down chocolate cookies with a Hershey Kiss on top), mummy dogs (hot dogs wrapped in crescent dough), rat guts (strawberry Jello with fresh raspberries) and deviled eggs (the "devil" simply implies spooky!).

While we were eating, it started pouring rain and getting really cold outside. We were all disappointed, and even moreso when I realized that all of our umbrellas were broken! So Cody ran to the store and got $28 worth of umbrellas while I got the kids ready and bundled up. Leighann and Skylar bravely took them out trick or treating, but they only lasted about ten houses. Devin stayed home with Cody and me in the dry and warm house to hand out candy.

After everyone was home, they changed into dry jammies and we watched "The Great Pumpkin". Then the kids wanted to stay up even longer while the grown ups watched "Ghost Busters". Yeah, that one had a few words that I didn't catch in time to mute. Finally kids were in bed at about 11:00. It was a late night, but lots of fun!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Kid Jobs

I'll admit I have been very hormonal and moody for a few weeks, but if you ask the neighbors who likely hear me through our open windows, I am just nuts. I hate it that I have been a screamer lately, but the kids have just stopped listening to me. This week I have had the full blown flu, and tonight I finally snapped and realized something has to change. Cody came home from work and I was about ready to bolt out the door, just to get away from everyone. But I didn't want to do that. Of course he came to the rescue and got the kids to behave like good children instead of what they have been acting like for me.

Why is it that Dad comes home and can get them to do what I struggle with all day long? It's a mystery. Maybe he's better at this parenting thing than I am.

Tonight we had a family meeting and we talked about respect. We talked about what it means to work together as a team in a family, because that is what we are. We talked about why Mom has been so cranky lately, but of course the kids had no idea that THAT is why I've been so cranky. Hailey says I take cranky pills. We brainstormed about different jobs that all the kids should be responsible for doing. They came up with their own jobs that they can do each day to help me out. I like that it was on THEIR terms that these things were decided. They picked the jobs, and they are accountable for them. They each have a few of the same things as each other, and then there are a couple of specifics to each kid. This is what we came up with-

* Make bed (pillows and blankets off the floor if that is where he chose to sleep)
* Brush teeth (2 xs a day)
* Clean up own toys
* Put clothes away
* Clean and wipe down table before dinner
* Homework (on the four assigned days)
* Vacuum living room (M & W)
* Put own dishes in the sink after each meal

* Make bed (pillows and blankets off the floor if that is where she chose to sleep)
* Brush teeth (2 xs a day)
* Clean up own toys
* Put clothes away
* Wipe down kids' bathroom counter
* Clean up all books around upstairs
* Vacuum living room (T & Th)
* Put own dishes in sink after each meal

* Make bed (pillows and blankets off the floor if that is where she chose to sleep)
* Brush teeth (2 xs a day)
* Clean up own toys
* Put clothes away
* Keep all shoes in shoe basket
* Try to make poop in the potty (everyday)
* Keep upstairs deck door closed
* Put own dishes in sink after each meal

These seem like super small and easy jobs, but when I am the only one doing everything around here, it gets to me. They need to learn responsibility and I think this is a good start. We decided that at the end of the day we will sit down and figure out if their jobs have been done to an acceptable degree. If so, they get a sticker in that square. If they fill up their squares for the day they get five marbles for their *marble jar. There is a bonus job for anything above and beyond that they choose to do during the day. Help me fold laundry, clean a dirty spot on the kitchen floor, keep Devin out of my hair for a little while, etc. They get one extra marble if they do a bonus job during the day.

Tonight after we read our bedtime story, Hailey was excited to run put the book away because it was "her job". I hope this takes off like I think it will! If not, we'll go back to the drawing board.

*We started a marble jar for each kid, which works kind of like an allowance system. When their jar gets full, it's tradition to go to the store and pick out a $10 prize. However, marbles get taken out of the jar for misbehaving, so lately it has taken a LONG time for one of them to fill up their jar, like two months or more. I'm thinking about changing the system a little to teach them more about the value of money. With only marbles, they never see the exchange of money because at the store I always just pay for their prize with my debit card. Instead, I'm thinking that when they fill their jar, I will actually give them the money for their bank. This way they SEE the money and maybe understand more what it signifies.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Pumpkin Carving

We have had eight pumpkins sitting on our front porch all month long. "When can we carve pumpkins?" Is what I hear on a daily basis. I've tried to explain that they will rot and get gross if carved too soon before Halloween, but I figured six days before the big night shouldn't be so bad. Really, it's that I could not hold them off much longer. Cody has been out of town for a week and he finally got back late last night, so tonight for FHE we carved our pumpkins.

I have the full blown flu, and have felt like death for three days. The fun thing about pregnancy is that your immune system gets suppressed (you know, so your body doesn't abort what it sees as a parasite...) and this illness has kicked my butt. Normally I am a 48 hour virus girl, but there is no end in sight. Depspite feeling like garbage, I put on my surgical mask and gloves and went to town making our traditional pumkin carving treats. Pumpkin chocolate chip bars with walnuts and cream cheese icing, and warm wassail. I only wish I could have tasted them, but my dang swollen sinuses.

The kids intricately drew their pumpkin face in a piece of paper. That is exactly how I was to carve them- no deviating. Lauren, bless her heart, is really into rectangles right now so all she wanted was a face made up of that shape. Easiest thing to carve! Devin was happy that we were all distracted so he could get into things we shouldn't, like the kitchen cabinets. Such a rascal.

Lauren was hilarious every time we'd cut the top off a pumpkin and open it up. She would cover her eyes and say "EEEW, I just can't look at the pumpkin brains!" Such a prissy little thing. I'd say that our pumpkin carving night was a success. PS- the only way to get Devin to sit near his pumpkin was to distract him with a toothbrush. Don't know why, but it worked!

Now if I could just beat this virus, life would be great again.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

15 Weeks

"Your growing baby now measures about 4 inches long, crown to rump, and weighs in at about 2 1/2 ounces (about the size of an apple). She's busy moving amniotic fluid through her nose and upper respiratory tract, which helps the primitive air sacs in her lungs begin to develop. Her legs are growing longer than her arms now, and she can move all of her joints and limbs. Although her eyelids are still fused shut, she can sense light. If you shine a flashlight at your tummy, for instance, she's likely to move away from the beam. There's not much for your baby to taste at this point, but she is forming taste buds. Finally, if you have an ultrasound this week, you may be able to find out whether your baby's a boy or a girl."

I had an appointment with the midwife on Friday and everything looks great. I have no idea how much weight I'm gaining this time because I always tell the staff not to tell me and I hide my eyes while on the scale. I'm sure I am on the sixty pound track again like always. I was able to hear the sweet little heartbeat for the first time also and it was music to my ears! I was really nervous going in to that appointment because it was at fifteen weeks that my best friend, Brandi's, baby stopped living back in July. I was confident that things were fine, but still I was on edge. When the MW finally found the heartbeat, I about cried.

It was beating at 165 bpm, and at this point I am guessing girl. My boys have been consistsently in the 140 range at fifteenish weeks, while my girls are in the 160-170 range at the same stage. Of course most medical personel will tell you that is just a myth, but I am going by my own history. I have never done this before, but this week I am going to do that Drano urine test to predict the gender. I've heard a lot of people say it was accurate for them! The Chinese birth chart (which has also been accurate each time for me) says we are having a boy. All this vudu can make a lady crazy! The big U/S is set for November 17th, so a little over three weeks from now. I will be nineteen weeks, so they should be able to see all of the anatomy and tell the gender by then. Honestly, as always I am just praying for a healthy baby. But it would be nice if it also had a penis because that would make a few people in this house VERY happy. I know Cody really wants another son, and the other day Ethan and Hailey came to me for a little intervention.

"Mom," Ethan said. "I hope that baby in your tummy is a new baby brother. I just have no use for anymore sisters."

And then Hailey chimed in, "Yeah Mom. Sisters are way too much trouble. I think we need another brother too."

I'm pretty sure both of them were speaking in refernce to Lauren, who has been a grade-A pill these days. She is for sure at that age! But of course we love our Chudda no matter how obnoxious she has been recently!

These days I am feeling human again. I still want to gag most mornings if I have not eaten anything, but my energy has for sure returned. My belly is growing like mad (thank you progestrone) and I am in full maternity clothes, which are still a little big but way more comfy than normal clothes. Plus, they say "pregnant" and not just "fat". I have been craving chicken like mad! Especially spicy chicken sandwiches from Wendy's. The hotter, the better. Actually, anything meaty is yummy these days. I love Sundays because I always cook a big piece of meat, be it pot roast or a whole roasted chicken. Gravy. Potatoes. A huge salad with tangy dressing. My mouth is watering!

Only twenty five more weeks until we meet the final member of our family and I close this chapter in my life. It's bittersweet to think about.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

UEA and the Zoo

We had originally planned to go to Disneyland for the first time over UEA weekend, but the numbers didn't really add up. We will try again for next year, but Cody went ahead and took Thursday and Friday off as planned. We had a mini "staycation" at home. On Thursday we all went swimming at the Rec Center, and the water (although indoor and heated) is already freezing cold. Yuck. That evening Carson and Cole came over to spend the night and of course everyone had a ball terrorizing the house.

On Friday morning we got up early, I got six children ready and loaded in the van, and we all met Courtnee at the zoo for a day of fun. Everyone else in town had the same idea because it was a school holiday, so the place was packed. But we had a good time anyway and spent most of the day there. We had a picnic lunch and I swear saw every animal that lived there.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Costume Kids

Today after picking Ethan up from school we headed out to Wheeler Farm to take pictures of costumes. I found out a while back that it is SOO much simpler to do good costume pictures before Halloween night. Way less hectic, and it makes for much calmer children.
Ethan is still very much in anything super hero. He has gone as a super hero ever since he was two and a half, with the exception of 2008 when he was Darth Vader. But I guess he was a super hero to the Dark Side, right? This year was Superman, but it was a toss up between that and Ironman. He swears next year he is going as "The Ironman in the silver suit with a gun on his back".

Hailey was a wicth again this year, but in a different and more traditional costume. She accidentally left her little black cat at home, but we'll for sure get a picture of that on Halloween night.

Lauren wants to do whatever Hailey does, so she wanted a witch costume as well. And honestly, have you ever seen a cuter pair of witches??? The stinker did not want to keep the hat on though.

Devin was the Devil, or I guess you could say he went as himself. This is the same exact costume Ethan wore on his first Halloween, and when the girls found it they went crazy. This was about five weeks ago and they immediately started stripping off the poor boy's clothes and dressing him in it. All while he screamed for his life! But I must admit that he makes a dang cute devil, just like his brother did six years ago.

The Pumpkin Patch

For the last three years I have chaperoned the preschool pumpkin patch field trips with the kids. Because of that, I've never seen the need to head out to the Patch a second time with everyone else. However, this year I've decided that the Patch field trip is becoming too much because I have to tow the little ones along with me. So instead, we've started a new tradition of going as a family.

On Saturday the 16th we went to Pack's Patch in Farmington. This is the one we went to for Ethan's first year of preschool, and this is for sure the one we will go back to year after year. It was exciting enough to keep kids entertained, but low key enough so Mom and Dad weren't too worked up. We had a really fun time, spent about $10 on pumpkins, and made some great memories. Can't wait to do it again next year!

The Best Things About October

- FINALLY getting to put up Halloween deco (Mom has a hard time holding off until October 1st)

- Listening to our favorite Halloween CD in the car

- Seeing the pumpkin display outside the grocery store for the first time that season

- General Conference

- Decorating ghost and pumpkin sugar cookies

- Watching a Halloween movie each Friday for movie night

- Dad's birthday on the 10th and Devin's birthday on the 11th

- The smell of pumpkin and apple cinnamon candles permiating the house

- Drinking warm apple cider

- Finalizing our costume choices and perfecting the accesories

- Watching and cheering for our Denver Broncos every Sunday

- Going out to Wheeler Farm to take our costume pictures

- Making caramel apples and watching "The Great Pumkpin" on the same night

- Wearing lots of orange and black

- Finding the perfect pumpkins at the pumpkin patch (we always end up getting too many!)

- Making pumpkin/chocolate chip bars (recipe to come)

- Going to the ward Halloween party

- Eating Jack-O-Lantern pizza from Papa Murphey's

- Soccer season coming to an end and having our weeknights back!

- Going trick or treating at Dad's office (but sadly, not this year)

- Smelling it getting chilly outside

- Carving pumpkins

- Rushing home after freezing at sports games and drinking hot cocoa

- Playing football in the backyard

- Trick or treating in the neighborhood!!!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Bench

Me, circa 1999.

My dad emailed me a blast from the past today. I opened my email inbox and there was a note from him with an attachment. "I found this on my hard drive, but I don't know who the author is. Could it be you? It was written sometime in 1999." I read through the attachment and found that I was in fact the author. It was an essay I wrote for a class in college and I guess I used my dad's computer and he still had it saved on there. The strange thing is that he obviously doesn't have the same computer he had almost twelve years ago, so it's a mystery as to how he found it.

The Bench
Shopping malls are crowded this time of year, namely the Willowbrook Mall in Houston. I guess it’s to be expected with any change of season. With big time sales and low, low prices on new lines of spring fashions, department stores have no trouble luring people from their comfortable sofas in front of their big-screen TV’s, into their stores to take part in their semi-annuals sales. I am one of the many Americans who was lured into one of these chaotic fun houses, and that’s where I recently spent a Saturday afternoon.

I find it a very interesting thing, to walk through the hallways of these great buildings, browsing in and out of stores, comparing prices, and of course, comparing people. There is such a vast variety of people from all walks of life that inhibit the shopping malls, and it fills my mind with wonder as I sit and watch the shoppers go by.

It was about two o’clock, and I was giving my credit card a break as I enjoyed a cherry icy. I sat on a bench that happened to be right in front of a ladies' apparel boutique, and across from me sat a man that looked to be pushing thirty. On his lap sat a baby girl, I imagine to be a year old. To the side of him was a baby stroller packed with shopping bags from various stores, baby toys, a diaper bag, etc. I watched as the man embraced this little girl, whom I guessed to be his daughter. It was such a sweet thing to see him hold her and stroke her hair with his big, masculine hands, so large in comparison to the size of the child’s head.

She began to whimper, so he reached into the diaper bag and pulled out a pacifier, which I heard him refer to as a “noo noo”. Soon, the baby stopped whimpering, and even began to giggle as the man made funny faces and kissing noises with his lips. He then kissed the top of her head and snuggled her in his arms, completely unaware of my watching eye through out this whole charade. I thought to myself, “He loves that little girl. I’ll bet he treats her like a princess at home”. But I wondered where the mother might be? Is there a mother at all? My internal question was answered as I saw a woman come out of the ladies boutique and join them on the bench. She was very attractive, with a thin waistline and nicely groomed hair. She took the baby from the man and put her in her own lap, making goo goo ga ga noises at her. After a few moments of conversing, the three of them packed up and left the bench.

I sat there for a few more minutes, recollecting on what I’d just observed. I wondered what it was like at the home of this cute little family. Do they get long well? Is there a lot of contention in their home, or a lot of the same love that I’d just witnessed amongst the three of them?

Moments later the bench was once again occupied, this time by three teenage girls all looking to be sixteen-ish. Two of them were blonde, and the other was brunette. They were all fairly pretty girls, but with all of the hair gel, the pounds of make-up, and the boxed hair color, it was hard to decipher what was natural and what was store bought. The girls laughed and talked, like normal high schoolers do, when one of the blondes reached into a shopping bag and pulled out a bikini with the tags still attached. I heard her say with a worried look on her face, “I am never going to be ready to wear this for spring break. Just look at my big butt!” She exclaimed this as she stood up and let her friends examine her backside.

I tried to contain myself from laughing, so I covered my mouth with one of my hands. I found it ironic that this young girl was worried about the body fat she’d accumulated during the winter months, yet she was devouring a pastry from one of the bakeries at the mall. “Oh don’t worry about it,” the brunette said with assurance, “you’re gorgeous! And I love those new high lights!” The three girls soon picked up their bags and left also.

The bench was once again vacant, only to be occupied shortly thereafter by an elderly couple. They had to have been at least eighty-five years old, but they were sweetest couple I’d seen of any age. The two of them were dressed identically, in black slacks, blue sweaters, and little black barrette hats. On their feet were matching paten leather lace up shoes. They were frail people, as most people of that age are. The woman’s hair was silky white pulled back in a low bun, and what was left of the man’s hair, was white as well.

I tried not to stare at them, but even if I was, they were too caught up in each other to notice me looking on. In both of their faces I could see life. Not just age, but life. With each wrinkle there was probably a new story to tell, a new experience, a new heartache. As I sat there watching them, I was conjuring up a story of their life together. They met during World War II; he was a wounded soldier in Germany and she was an American nurse tending to him. They fell in love, and after the war they met back up again in the states and were married. Over the course of the past fifty-five years, they worked hard, raised many beautiful children, saved all the money they could, retired, had twenty or thirty grand children, and attained matching wardrobes to wear to every public place.

Just during the three minutes that I observed them, I could tell that this little couple had experienced life together and was deeply in love. Even with the arthritis and all of the physical complications that come with age, they still had it in them to go out and enjoy each other, even if it was just sitting on a bench in a busy shopping mall, watching all of the young people race around.

It was nearing two fifteen, and I thought I’d go give the Gap a run through. This time it was me to pick up my shopping bags and abandon the bench I’d been sitting on, and I wondered if during my stay on the bench, if an onlooker had observed my own behavior. As I walked away, I looked back once more to see the elderly couple sitting there, still holding hands and smiling. In a mere fifteen minutes, I’d read into three different generations, three different types of mall-goers. All of them were from different walks of life, but they all had one thing in common. During those fifteen minutes, they were all able to teach me about people, about the individual person. I suppose that the best-learned lesson about people doesn’t take place in a psychology classroom. It takes place in a shopping mall.

Devin and Lauren's Check Ups

It's nice to have kids whose birthdays fall only three weeks part. Hailey and Ethan's yearly check ups are always combined in February, and now Lauren and Devin's will always be combined in October. Poor baby #5 will always fly solo in April!

On Tuesday the 12th I took Lauren in for her three year and Devin in for his one year. Both walked away with a clean bill of health, although we are all still puzzled by the strange deformity Lauren has on her left middle finger. It has looked crooked for two years, but after numerous xrays and measurments the bone seems to be normal. It's just one of those things! The doctor continues to keep an eye on it. Lauren also pee peed in a cup for the first time at the appointment. The doc always starts a yearly urinalysis when they turn three and she was very cooperative! She is still a tiny thing, but super healthy and is thriving. Here are her stats-

Weight- 27.3 pounds = 14%
Height- 35.25 inches = 11%

Devin weighed in a little less than what I think is accurate. Two weeks prior at an instacare visit, they sat him on the scale in nothing but a diaper and he weighed 23.5 pounds. At this visit, the nurse insisted that he stood on the scale, but he was leaning on me and had one foot off the whole time. I don't know why she she didn't have him sit on the infant one like always, but oh well. In the meantime I have yet to know what his accurate weight is, but these are his stats according to their records-

Weight- 21 pounds = 22%
Height - 29.5 inches = 41%

We feel incredibly blessed to have such healthy children. God is good!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Ethan's Essay

Ethan did his first "essay" in school about Columbus Day. He brought it home and I about hit the floor. I am more astounded everyday at the amount he is reading and writing. Last night while sitting on our bed he opened a book and just started reading it. Of course I helped him sound out some of the words, but he read about 95% of it himself! It's the neatest thing seeing his mind take of flike it has. It's as if things have clicked and he's now unstoppable!

Monday, October 11, 2010

365 Days Ago...

At 2:15 this afternoon my baby officially turns one and becomes a toddler. Although he has been "toddling" around for six weeks now, I think that real toddlerhood begins at twleve months. This year has FLOWN by, faster than any of the other babies' first years. Yesterday all I could think about was exactly what I was doing one year ago.

Saturday October 10th was Cody's 36th birthday. Devin's delivery was scheduled for Tuesday the 12th. I wasn't crazy about their birthdays falling so closely together, but we had no choice. Cody's parents came into town on Friday to stay through the week while I was in the hospital, and his mom was going to stay even longer after his dad went back to Idaho. I woke up Saturday morning feeling horrible. I was 39 weeks and ready to pop. I took a hot shower and the water made my achy back feel a little better, but not much. Cody's mom kept telling me to go rest while she did birthday stuff for Cody's dinner. She spent the day making his cake, homemade chili, and scones (all per request of the birthday boy). I felt so bad that I could not help her much, but I REALLY felt awful. So I sat on the bad and painted my toenails and watched Batman Begins. Yeah, I really hate that movie. Michael Keaton is the only real Batman.

My back continued to feel really bad and I started getting nauseous. Cody's mom kept telling me that she thought I had started labor. I didn't listent to her because I wasn't really contracting. Lance and Courtnee and kids came over for dinner and cake that night, and I spent most of the evening on the couch trying to ignore the back pain. After everyone left, Cody and I were alone in the bedroom and I started crying. I was feeling terrible but didn't want to have the baby on his birthday. It was about 9:00 so I figured I could wait until morning to call the doctor because I still was not having contractions.

I barely slept that night. At 4:00 in the morning I woke up to a pretty painful and long contraction. I got up to use the bathroom and they kept coming, but they were very irregular. I realized I had hardly eaten anything for dinner the night before and I was starving! So I did something completely against the rules and I ate a bowl of cereal and had a glass of juice. I knew that if I went to the hospital that morning, they would be unhappy if they knew I had eaten anything and they may pump my stomach or something. NO FOOD before surgery! But I was so hungry that I didn't care.

I laid down on the couch and timed more contractions. They didn't really hurt, but they were very tight and kept coming. My back is what really hurt! At about 7:30 I woke Cody up and told him what was happening. I then called my OB and he told me he had a mission farwell to go to that morning but to take a hot shower to see if I could slow or even stop the contractions. I sat on the bed and had a VERY hard one, the kind that about knocks you over, but I showered anyway and felt a little better.

Cody's parents were awake at this point and his mom said "Looks like we are going to have a new baby today!" Even though this was the fourth time I'd gone through it, I still started shaking with nerves. I was getting more scared by the minute. People had said to me "I'll bet you are a pro and don't get nervous anymore because you've been through this a few times before." On the contrary! It's because I HAD been through it three times before that I was so nervous! I knew exactly what was coming.

Cody and I gathered our things and said our goodbyes to everyone. I was about to cry. He then gave me a blessing and that calmed me down a lot, so we then headed out the door at 9:00.

I was astounded to see how empty and quiet the hospital was. I then remembered it was Sunday, and that they never scheduled things on Sundays if they could avoid it. We had the place to ourselves! Once we were in L&D I got dressed and hooked up to the monitors. One for my contractions, and one for the baby. The midwife came in to talk to me and said that they were always short staffed on Sundays (being in Utah and everyone wanting Sundays off) so they didn't like to do deliveries electively. Pretty much, I would have to be in real labor for them to admit me. Dr. Draper was still out with his family, but the midwife stayed in close contact with him all morning.

I don't know when this happened, but somewhere along the line I fell sound asleep. I NEVER fall asleep with out trying, so this was very strange. I must have been absolutely exhausted! Cody said I was snoring too. About four hours later the midwife came back in and said "Okay mom, Draper says to get you prepped. He'll be here in about an hour. You have been having really strong contractions for three hours now, and since you have three prior c-sections he doesn't want to let you labor any longer."

I was astonished that I'd been having strong contractions for so long and slept right through it. How could that have happened?

And then it happened like it always does. I got changed again, spent a while in the pre-op room, had to drink some horrible tasting neutralizing cocktail because I'd had food early that morning, talked to a LOT of people about risks and what to expect and all that, signed my life away (quite literally), was wheeled into the OR, almost fainted several times as the spinal was administered, got all hooked up to machines, got shaved and catheterized, the blue drape went up, and they started cutting. I explained before that this was the most amazing birth experience for me. Only crazy people elect and enjoy c-sections, but I am not one of them. As horrible as they are, I could not have asked for a more smooth experience.

Devin was born at 2:15 p.m. and was 7 pounds, 7 punces, and 20 inches long. He peed all over things twice before they even cut the cord! He stayed with me in the OR as I got stitched up and I had my arms free to adore him. Our time together in recovery was unforgettable. Never before had I been offered skin to skin bonding time but the nursing staff this go around did everything right. Devin and I had our first nursing session on my bare chest and he peed on me again at least three more times. And I could not have cared less! I was madly in love with this newest man in my life.

And then I blinked. A whole year has passed and I am left wondering where it went? I look at him today and I still can't believe the love that so freely pours from my heart to him. Even though he is my fourth, you would never know it. When you have more children, your love isn't divided. It multiplies and it's as if you grow a new heart each time. My sweet Devin boy, I love you more than I will ever be able to tell you in words. Maybe one day when you have a child of your own you will understand what I feel for you. I am so grateful to be your mama!! XOXOXOXO