"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

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The BIG Ultrasound

Whew. I can breathe a HUGE sigh of relief now that today is over. We had our big ultrasound and I am very happy to say that we are growing a completely healthy and beautiful baby. The tech was very thourough and only had good things to report. And then the radiologist and my doctor said the same thing. I can't express how blessed I feel to have another healthy baby. I have three friends who in the last few months, have all received horrible news at their big ultrasounds. Two of them have since lost their precious babies and my heart truly aches for them. So I was a nervous wreck going into this appointment.

I finally breathed a sigh of relief after the first ten minutes. I about cried as the tech kept checking things off her list, things that looked wonderful. It was a great experience for our family because we were all there together in the room. The tech was amazing and so sweet and she printed off keepsake pictures for each of the kids. And she gave Lauren a special set and instructed her to put it in the baby's scrapbook. I made a mental note to write a letter to her boss and tell her how great she is. Oh wait...her boss is my doctor and good friend. So I made sure to praise her during my OB appointment which followed. He wasn't at all surprised that she was so good to us because "she is just like that".

I drank a sugary drink half an hour before the ultrasound, which I always do to wake the baby up. One of the first things the tech checked out was the heart, and even though the baby was super active and wide awake, the heart BPM was only 136. I immediately thought it was a boy because that is really low. Hmmmmmm.....

I have been very worried about placenta acreta, which I am at risk for due to my multiple c-sections. But luckily the placenta is attached higher up and away from my scar tissue. The doctor thinks that as of now my risk is low, but it could change in the furture if the placenta decides to move. He does not feel good about me being pregnant a day past 39 weeks because it's toward the end that the placenta can get knocked around and change positions. So that puts this baby likely to arrive the first week of April.

Ever since we got home this afternoon, Hailey has been rubbing, kissing, and talking to my belly. She keeps saying "Mommy, thank you for growing a new baby in your tummy. It's going to be so cute!" I am on cloud nine. Is there is a higher cloud than nine? If so, I am there.

P.S.- that is NOT the cord between the legs! We for sure, without a doubt, are adding another boy to the family. Two little boys, back to back, at the end of our line...seems like the perfect way to complete our family. Can't believe there are SEVEN of us now. I do believe that SEVEN is our lucky number!

Monday, November 15, 2010


If you come to my house today-

You will be greeted by a pile of clothes and other household items that are heaping on the living room couch, waiting to be bagged up and taken to Deseret Industries. As tired as I am off seeing this ever growing pile on my couch, it only means that we are fortunate enough to have plenty more than we need, and that we are in a position to give to someone who has less.

You will see a trail of coats and jackets that SHOULD be hanging in the entry coat closet. But our coat closets and coat racks are overflowing and there is no more room for anything else. I should probably add some to the DI pile.

You will find a shoe basket near the top of the stairs. Even though this basket is often times filled to the brim and it gets moved around (even though there is a rule to keep it where it belongs) it means that there are many feet in this family, twleve to be exact. We are blessed with several people in this family who all love each other.

You will find at least ten cups and glasses randomly sitting on benches or chairs or countertops or tables. Yes, they are supposed to make their way back to the sink. But it means we have a seemingly endless supply of crsytal clear drinking water that is consumed in abundance around here, and water is our drink of choice. (With the exception of The Chudda who thinks she can't survive without chocolate milk.)

You will see the sliding back door and notice the handprints and smudges all over it. This is what greets you when you come in through the deck. I try every day to keep it Windexed and clean, but little ones are always pressing their noses and grimy hands against it as they run back and forth from inside to outside. These are healthy children who live here. Healthy enough to run all day and never stop.

Depending on the time of day, you may find Cody's work bag and other work related items on the floor near the front door. I get aggrivated sometimes when I see it laying there, but how fortunate we are that he has a great job and is able to provide for our family. I get to stay home with our children everyday and watch them grow. And it's all because of the hard work and sacrifice that he makes for our family. His job provides us with the ability to take our children to the doctor anytime they need to go. His job puts food on the table and clothes on our backs.

You will notice that our ever shrinking kitchen table is covered in stains and scratches and scrapes. Many family dinners have been eaten around this table. Many art projects, school homework, bill paying, sewing projects, priceless conversations, and sugar cookie decorating have taken place here. I'll admit that I wish I had $1,000 to buy the dining set that I REALLY want. But for now, I wouldn't trade the memories that are represented by every imperfection at that table for all the money in the world.

You will find book after book covering the floor. Not any specific floor, but pretty much any surface that gets walked on in this house. We have an abundance of books and have never lacked for any. Our family cherishes reading and we are blessed to have so many wonderful books right at our fingertips. I can't count how many times a day a child finds me with a book in hand and says "Mommy, will you read this to me?" And then we stop and we curl up on the couch and before long each kid has joined us. And it never ends at just that one book.

You may trip over a laundry basket in your way. Or two, or three, or they may be lining the entire hallway. And they are usually filled to the brim with laundry waiting to be folded and put away. We never want for clothing around here. We always have plenty to wear and we are always more than warm during the winter months. And these clothes get washed in a washing machine and dried in a dryer. I have a set in my own home! Can you believe it? And they function perfectly. And if they ever STOP functiong, all I have to do is make a phone call and someone can come out and fix it (for a pretty penny of course, so good thing they have never broken!). Hot water runs through the washer. No boiling water and filling a wash tub to scrub clothes by hand.

You may look at me when I am not pregnant, or even when I am, and see that I have a lump here and a buldge there. Nothing sits on my body like it used to. But in place of the flawless twenty year old form that I once had, I now have stretch marks and scars and fat supplies that didn't exist before. And it's because my body is amazing and has carried babies and given them life. I have nurtured those babies and been capable of incredible things. And because of that, my body now droops. And I am okay with that. And I'm okay with the new gray hairs I find on a regular basis and the small lines that have started appearing around my eyes and mouth. I am in a phase of life that I simply love and I love every bit of "experience" that shows on my body.

You would see many large Costco quantity toilet paper, paper towels, diapers, wipes, and laundry soap jugs that didn’t quite make it to their destinations yet, and know that we are now in the two cart club when we go to the store.

You will find an upstairs family room that is often times covered in toys and messes and blankets and pillows. We gather there everyday and live our lives. That floor is met by knees when we say family prayers. The couch is crammed full of people as we have Family Home Evening on a Monday night, or watch a movie together on a Friday night. Kicthen chairs get dragged in there when we make forts out of blankets and clothes pins. We live in that room. The carpet may be stained in places and the room is rarely spotless as I would like, but it only means it is full of life.

You will see around every corner, in every room, in every knook and cranny, evidence that a family lives here. Messes and chaos only represent the six people who currently reside in this home, together in love. And a seventh will soon join the family and evidence of that makes my heart leap for joy. As much as I would love order and quiet and cleanliness in our home on a daily basis, I love the fact that my children are loud and playful and make messes because it means that they are healthy and happy and full or imagination and creativity. There is nothing in this world that I would trade that for.

As Thanksgiving is fast approaching, I am reminded of just how blessed we are. I am so thankful for all of the things in our lives, even the things that sometimes feel burdensome. I am thankful for a loving Father in Heaven who knows me and has blessed me with far more than I deserve. My heart is full.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Outside the Box

Tonight we had our first parent/teacher conference of the year with Ethan's teacher. She is a great teacher and I can tell she really loves her job. I've heard wonderful things about her. She has three decades of experience under her belt and she knows her stuff. I've felt for years that this day was coming, and it for sure hit us square in the face tonight.

Ever since Ethan was a baby we've known he has an analytical mind. When he was three years old we thought he had a "speech" delay (which turned out to be a load of horse hockey) and he started speech therapy. After a few evaluations, the therapist diagnosed him with an auditory processing disorder. Or in plain English, when he was told something or given an instruction, he would do things in a different way. Or he would explain things in a different way. So people thought he was not processing it correctly.

When he started preschool his teacher noticed he had trouble following directions. She would tell the class to do something and they would comply as any group of four year was expected to. But Ethan did not. He would put things away in different places or do things completely off the wall. Often times resulting in the same outcome as the other children, but went about it a different way.

Then in Kindergarten his teacher would tell us that no matter how she told Ethan to do something, he would do it differently. A small example is how he held his pencil. Instead of holding it the "traditional" way, he insisted on holding it a different way and it drove us all batty. He could still write as well as the other kids, but he had to do it differently. The way on holds a pencil likely sounds trivial, but it's a small example of how Ethan has always done things.

Now in first grade things are bizarre. His teacher showed a LOT of frustration with him. She was sweet and kind, but I could tell she was near the end of her rope and was out of ideas. She said that every few years she has a child like Ethan and it's difficult. It's difficult because her job is to keep order in a room of twenty five small children. And when one of them marches to the beat of a different drummer and insits that THAT is the correct way to do it, it's hard.

There is a lot to it and I don't have the time or energy to journal about it. But the more she explained the ways of Ethan, the harder it was for me not to laugh. Cody and I kept eyeing eachother, almost able to read one another's thoughts. Yes, this is the Ethan we know and love and the same Ethan that we realized years ago would go very far in life. The teacher gave example after example of what he is like in class. She was baffled at the fact that he will be sitting there doing his work and then out of nowhere, go dead cold and stare off into space. "What is he thinking when he does that?!" She said in frustration. I cracked a smile because I KNOW what my guy is thinking when he does that. I know that expression well and when I see it, I know it's hard to pull him back to where I need him to be at that moment.

It could be any number of things. The revolution of the earth. How to make a rocket go faster and further. Why oil and water don't mix. Why the sky is blue. Why there are 365 days in some years and 366 days in others (yes, this is something he has asked me about). Why some bacteria in our bodies is good for us and some is bad for us. What makes some peoples' skin freckle and some to not. These are the type of things that randmoly pop into his head at any given time. And when he runs to the kitchen to grab a pencil and paper I know he is about to make some sort of picture or diagram or graph or explanation of his question. This happens on a daily basis.

So THAT, Mrs. Smith, is what goes through the boy's head when he suddenly stares off into space.

She gave many examples of Ethan's "problem" and one of them made me laugh all the way home. The other day they were doing an art project with construction paper. They were to take an ectra large piece of black paper and design a mosaic type pumpkin on it with orange construction paper. Then they were to trim the black paper down. Mrs. Smith showed us Ethan's project and it looked great. There was nothing out of the ordinary as far as we could tell. SO what was the problem? She then told us that she had laid all of the supplies out on the table and instructed the kids on what to do. There was the big black paper and the smaller orange paper next to it. There was glue. There were scissors.

During the time when the kids were gathering at the table to get their supplies, Ethan went to the cupboards, dug through, and found a smaller piece of black construction paper. He then used that to make his mosaic on.

We all pondered this for a minute and I realized that the problem was how Ethan went against his teacher's instructions. Rather than using the supplies on the table, he took it upon himself to find something else in a place that was "off limits" to children.

Cody sat there and stewed as the teacher told us how this was blatant disrgard for her instructions, and that Ethan does this a lot. He then piped up and said "So you are saying that Ethan looked at this prject and found a more efficient way to do it. Rather than gluing orange paper onto a very large piece of black paper that would then have to be trimmed down, Ethan found a small piece of black paper, eliminatig that step completely. If you ask me, that shows a an advanced level of creative thinking." The teacher did not like that.

After listening for a while longer, Cody said "The thing is, I work in an industry that pays a LOT of money to a person who can come in and figure out a more efficient way of doing something. Those people get rich. Not a lot of people can do that kind of thing or think in that way." The teacher did not like that either, but she did not disagree.

The bottom line is that Ethan is in fact the absent minded professor. He is almost too smart for his own good and it can be damaging at times. Rather than looking at something as it is, he looks at it and wonders what it could be. What it could become. How it can be improved upon. But the problem lies in the fact that he has a decade to go in the public school system and this kind of thing is frowned up. And I 100% understand Mrs. Smith's frustration. As much as she loves Ethan thinking outside the box on almost everything, she has a classroom to keep in order. She can't let twenty five kids do what they want to do in any way they feel like doing it. There are set rules and guidelines for a reason.

She explained that she has a grown son who was a lot like Ethan at this age. But they never saw the need to help him channel all that creativity and brilliance into anything constructive. He always marched to the beat of a different drummer and was smart far beyond his years, but he bored easily and never learned valid life skills. Her big concern is Ethan finding a balance of following instrcutions the way that society expects him to follow them, while at the same time being free to follow his passions and use that genius mind in a way that is conducive to living in the world today. Is it possible? Where does the balance lie? How does a kid like him thrive and function is a classroom that simply does not allow for his kind of thinking? I'd love for him to be free to grab a piece of large construction paper if he feels it would be a more efficient way of completeing a project. It seems so simple, yet that sort of thing can cause pandemonium in a normal classroom.

The thought has crossed my mind at times to homeschool him. There are pros and cons to it, but for his particular personality I feel that the cons are bigger. He already teeters on introvertedness and I feel that homeschooling would be too isolating for him, even with all of the homeschooling groups and resouces that are available. This child needs the daily eight hour peer interaction that a school setting provides. In an ideal world Ethan would be in a school for children just like him who are challenged to think methodically and do things in an unorthodox way, just to see it they can find a better way to do something. If you look at the billionaires and renowned scientists of the world, how many of them ever thought inside the box? Very few, I'd venture to say. Many of them saw yellow when the rest of the world saw gray. And yellow turned out to be better and it made them wealthy.

I'm not saying that my dream is for Ethan to grow up and be wealthy. But damn it if I don't want him to use that mind that most of us only wish we were born with! The box is not for him. He doesn't fit well inside of it and I don't want to stuff him into it and end up damaging him. But what do we do?

*The above picture is of "Ironman". Doesn't look like him? When Ethan was barely five years old I found him one day in the kitchen rumaging through drawers and pulling out all kinds of utensils. He constructed this and told me it was the silver Ironman at the beginning of the movie. I love the apple corer in the chest which is supposed to be his power generator. Man I love this kid.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Thankful Questionaire

Tonight for FHE we started our lessons on being thankful. I wrote a questionare for the kids to answer and their reponses were both sweet and funny.

Ethan, 6 1/2-
(He insisted in writing the answers himsef, and as you can see he only chose answers that were SUPER easy to write. That made me laugh.)
In the morning I'm thankful for- Jesus
At school I'm thankful for- Mrs. Smith
When I play I'm thankful for- Dad
At FHE I'm thankful for- Mom
At dinner I'm thankful for- Dad
Late at night I'm thankful for- prayer
When I pray I'm thankful for- (insert our last name here)
When I'm at church I'm thankful for- Mom and Dad
Something that's really hard but I'm still thankful for- homework
I'm thankful when my family- is nice
I'm thankful when Mom- is good
I'm thankful when Dad- is good

Hailey, almost 5-
In the morning I'm thankful for- eating breakfast
At school I'm thankful for- Mrs. Kari and her toys and my school friends
When I play I'm thankful for- my doll house
At FHE I'm thankful for- cookies and treats
At dinner I'm thankful for- the prayer and food
Late at night I'm thankful for- bedtime and sleeping with my bear and blanket
When I pray I'm thankful for- my books
When I'm at church I'm thankful for- songs and my class
Something that's really hard but I'm still thankful for- waking up in the morning
(And this is a HARD one for her!!)
I'm thankful when my family- says prayers and gives hugs
I'm thankful when Mom- loves me and makes dinner
I'm thankful when Dad- makes us lunch on Saturdays and reads books and goes swimming

Lauren, 3-
(Can you tell what has been a big topic of discussion in our house lately?)
In the morning I'm thankful for- chocolate milk
When I play I'm thankful for- pee pee in the potty, not in my pants
At FHE I'm thankful for- hot chocolate
At dinner I'm thankful for- saying the prayer
Late at night I'm thankful for- pooping in the potty (not in my nighttime underwear) and taking a bath
When I pray I'm thankful for- food
When I'm at church I'm thankful for- the little nursery potty
Something that's really hard but I'm still thankful for- making poop
I'm thankful when my family- goes to school and I grow into a big girl
I'm thankful when Mom- Mom poops in the potty
I'm thankful when Dad- he plays with me

Our "Thanks" Jar

We are really striving to teach the kids about being thankful and serving others this month. I made this jar and filled it with questions about giving thanks and service. Each night before bed each kid picks out a question and answers what's on the paper (Then they return it to the jar. If they draw a question they have already asnwered, they put it back in.). I'm sure as the month progresses it will be funny to hear their answers! This is what's written on each paper-

What food are you most thankful for?
What friend are you most thankful for?
What is the nicest thing someone has done for you?
What are you most thankful for at church?
What nice things does Mom do for you?
What nice things does Dad do for you?
What are you most thankful for in our family?
What season or holiday are you most thankful for?
What animal are you most thankful for?
What nice things do you do for other people?
What nice things does your family do for you?
What nice things does Heavenly Father do for you?
What piece of clothing are you most thankful for?
What nice things do you do for our family?
What is your favorite food at Thanksgiving?
Tell the story of the first Thanksgiving.
What is the best thing about the gospel?

Monday, November 1, 2010

16 1/2 Weeks

The belly at 16 1/2 weeks.
I am finally starting to look pregnant and not just fat.