"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

Saturday, February 26, 2011

40 Days

40 days.

40 days to go until I am never pregnant again. Ever.

40 seems to be a significant number in history. Jesus Christ fasted for 40 days. Noah and his family waited out a flood for 40 days. The Israelites wandered and survived in the wilderness for 40 years. I think I can muster the energy to endure this condition for a mere 40 more days. It's less than six weeks now and it's time to put on my big girl panties and do it.

As I type this, the three older kids are doing who knows what out in the living room. I am hearing crashes, bangs, screams, and a lot of laughter. Devin is sitting at the computer tower on the floor protesting because I won't let him press any buttons as I block everything with my left foot. Cody is laid up in the basement recovering from surgery, trying to get some rest.

I cried a lot this morning as I rushed to get the girls to the ballet studio on time for recital pictures. I was up at 7:30 this morning and we had to leave the house at 10:30. Even in three hours, the kids, my ill-fuinctioning body, and life didn't want to cooperate and we still made it to the studio with out a second to spare. Their class was lining up in the lobby for their turn for group pictures. I had a tear streaked face and it's all I could do to keep the girls from crying and smearing their freshly made-up eyes. Luckily I was able to pawn Ethan off at a friend's house so at least he wasn't there to whine about everything. But I hated how I must have looked to the other moms there. But here's the thing, ladies-

Each of you only has two children, and two of you only have one. None of you are eight months pregnant with four other small kids. None of you have a screaming 16 month old in tow. It's been a horrible morning. Don't give me that look. (*Not that two kids is easy. I remember those days, but it's an entirely different ballgame than we are playing in now.)

The studio owners were so sweet and efficient and helped me get the girls' hair pieces positioned on their heads just in time for the photographer to call them back. Then I got the kids Happy Meals on the way home as a peace offering.

I have a list a million miles long of things I need/want to do in the next 40 days. But the thing is, my body has given out. It is yelling at me "STOP!!! I can't do anymore!!!" Something has got to give. But I've hit a stage of panic as I think of all the things I need to do to get my house, life, and family in order before April 7th arrives. It's just not enough time and I don't have enough energy. Today I had to lay down three times just to regain the small amount of energy to do things like...load the dishwasher. Or change a diaper. Or sweep the floor for the sixth time today.

The kids bedtime can not get here fast enough. From right now, they will be in bed in exactly 88 minutes.

I hurt. I hurt so much that I want to cry when I walk up the stairs. My hips have fallen out of place and my pubic bone feels like it's been cut in half. My back...well don't get me started on the pain in my back. It doesn't help that I am sporting around an F cup sized chest and I don't have the neck and back strength to support it, along with a huge belly. I am having painful contractions at least four times an hour during waking hours, especially when kids are awake. I have the same circulation issues I've had the last three pregnancies, only worse this time. My heart is having a devil of a time making enough blood for my body to finction well. My blood pressure is extremely low (as in 73/50) and I nearly faint on an hourly basis. Because of all this, it takes me four time the normal amount of time to do simple tasks.

40 days.

I am having my fifth and final c-section on April 7th and normally I fear it like crazy. I am filled with anxiety as the time gets closer because I feel like I am bracing myself for a train wreck. But this pregnancy has been such a test of strength and endurance and it's leaving me saying "BRING IT! BRING IT ON!" As much as I cherish pregnancy and I appreciate the amazing miracle that it is, I have paid my dues. I am done. I have done this five times now and I feel like it's enough. There are things I will miss about never being in this phase of life again, but for the most part, I look forward to the furture. I look forward to having my health and strength back, and to be able to walk up a flight of stairs without being winded and having to recover afterward. I look forward to being able to care for my family and self in the way I'd like to. I look forward to having that energy back.

I guess that what I can mark off my list will be considered a small miracle. If things get done, they get done And of they don't, well they are not going anywhere and tasks left undone will have to stay that way until I am recovered from surgery. In 40 days I will be experiencing the worst afterbirth contractions (to go along with a excruciating and fresh abdominal incision) that I have yet experienced because they get worse each time as my uterus gets more tired. But at the same time I will be snuggling with a new baby, fresh from Heaven, and falling madly in love with the newest guy in my life. Thinking about that time makes me feel just a tad stronger, and gives me a second wind to get through the next 40 days.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Ethan Is 7

This boy is SEVEN years old! Can't believe it. I've been doing a lot of pondering lately, given that I was having my very first baby exactly SEVEN years ago, and now I am having my last baby exactly SEVEN years later. And we will soon and forever be a family of exactly SEVEN people. I do believe that SEVEN has become our new favorite number.
Ethan came home from school and was very excited to see his presents and sign waiting for him, along with the decorated house that he woke up to that morning. For dinner he chose home grilled cheeseburgers and fries. For his birthday treat, he wanted brownies. We are for sure a brownie loving family! Ethan would not let me make his burger for him, but rather wanted to do it all by himself. He was very careful and precise and I do believe he made a fantastic burger!

The kid made out like a bandit. This has been a year of loving all things Legos and models. Pretty much anything he can build himself, he loves. Between Mom and Dad and grandparents, he got several new Lego sets. He has been working on those for a week now and is very good at putting them together himself. And thanks to a bunch of new plastic shoe boxes, he's been good at keeping each set together. He also got a Star Wars Y-Wing model kit and he and Dad finally got a chance to put it together today after church.
My brother Joseph and I loved Calvin and Hobbes when we were kids and I hoped to pass that onto my own kids. Ethan got his first Calvin and Hobbes comic book and at first he didn't know what to think of it, but within a few days he came to me and said "Mom, this is the coolest comic book ever!" Along the line of books, he also got the first Harry Potter book (he has really gotten into that story since seeing the first two movies recently). Aunt Kara gave him the complete "Little House on the Prarie" book set (and a McDonald's gift card). Yes, those books are for boys also and since there is a picture every three pages, he will soon grow to love those books as well. We love having another avid reader in the family!

He also received the traditional $10 in quarters from Grandpa, a Lego movie and book, Silly Bandz, Star Wars Episode I on DVD, and $25 in cash from his great grandmother.
We love you Ethan, and are so happy you are part of our family! Happy birthday!

My Favorite Thing

Tonight I was feeling exceptionally bad (because of a transverse baby putting pressure in very bad places) and I was dreading doing the dishes. I heard singing and fun coming from the kitchen and I walked out there to find this. It made my heart leap for joy. Two jammied girls healping Dad do the dishes and having tons of fun!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Girls Day Out

Cody's Mom's birthday is at the end of the month, so she came into town for the weekend and we treated her to a fun girls day. Hailey has been asking to see a "real" ballet in real life, and the University of Utah ballet department was putting on their seasonal ensemble this weekend. Tickets were reasonably priced, so Cody had the idea to combine that show with lunch and invite his mom as one of her birthday gifts. We then decided to invite her sister Lyn, and also Aunt Courtnee. Courtnee doesn't like sitting though the ballet, so she opted to just meet us for lunch. We ate at the Market Street Broiler...which is to die for. It's kind of a pricey place, but well worth the money.

It was fun getting a little dressed up, even though I'm sure we over dressed for the ocassion. Who cares, right? It was a special event for us. We made our way over to the university and got inside for the show. The place was packed! The show was great and I am in awe at those young dancers' talent. Lauren acted, well, three years old. She kicked off her tights and shoes and wanted to dance in the aisle, just like the ballerinas. Hailey literally sat on the edge of her seat most of the time fully engaged in the show. She kept asking me questions about the stories that each act depicted. She laughed at the right parts and clapped at the right parts. During the first act the dancers didn't wear the traditional pointe shoes, and Hailey was very concerned. "When are they going to wear their special shoes?" she kept asking.

We had such a fun day. Thanks, Cody, for putting it all together!!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Annual Physicals

Ethan and Hailey had their annual physicals today and they were given an "almost" clean bill of health. There always has to be something, right?

Ethan continues to be on the larger size for a kid his age, and Hailey is for sure a petite little thing. I often times wonder if they came from the same parents!

Ethan at seven years old
weight- 56.1 lbs = 73%
height- 49.5 inches = 76%

Hailey at five years old
weight- 34.3 lbs = 12%
height- 40.75 inches = 16%

I'm sure it will work to their advantages for Ethan to be on the bigger side for a guy and Hailey to be on the smaller side for a girl. Seems like that's how it should be!

Hailey likely inherited the bad eyes that run on both sides of the family (with the exception of my eyes that are really good). She has 20/40 in her right eye and 20/70 in her left. They tested her at the beginning and the end of the appointment and she did the same both times. The doctor wants her to see an optomitrist before she starts school in kindergarten. Other than that, things seem to be good and healthy with her! Now that she is 99% done with baths and mainly takes showers, she has not had a single UTI so even her kidneys and bladder are healthy these days. She was super excited about this being her kindergarten physical and was telling Dr. Allred all about how smart she is and how she gets to go to kindergarten in August. She was excited, however, until she realized she was getting shots so she could actually go to kindergarten. Oh boy. Drama drama drama.

Ethan has developed a bad snoring problem and he has enlarged tonsills. Cody and I need to start monitoring him at night to see if he stops breathing momentarily (sleep apnea). I suspect he is not sleeping solidly at night because of how he wakes up every morning. If we do notice apnea, the doc wants him back in for an adenoid xray to see if they too are enlarged. If so, we are likely looking at a tonsillectomy and an adenectomy. As if we don't have enough going on right now!

Valentine's Day

Oh how I love Valentine's Day!

For lunch the girls wanted to have a "Valentine tea party" on their newly finished tea party table and chairs. I am quite pleased with how they turned out, and you can read about those projects over at my
creative blog.

Complete with heart shaped peanut butter and honey sandwiches, heart shaped chocolate cakes, red raspberry lemonade, marshmellows, red candy pieces, and apples. Having little girls is fun.

The first half of the day was okay. Then I had to run some errands before I picked up Ethan from school, and that's when it happened. I felt my first contraction while standing in the baking section. And then my second while in the chip aisle. And then my third while...you get the idea. By the time I picked Ethan up from school and got home, I was doubled over in pain.

I tried my hardest to ignore them, thinking maybe it was all in my head or that just MAYBE it was a severe case of indegestion (I'd suffered my share of embarrassment by calling the doctor over that before). While making our fancy Valentine dinner, they started coming every three minutes. Panic set in, but I still tried to ignore them. The kids were sitting at the kitchen table finishing up some Valentines for Dad and they were acting like typical kids, but amidst the pain and panic, crazy Mom came unleashed and I started yelling at them to "CLEAN UP THE MESSES!!" Totally scared them. After three hours of pain, I called Cody and started bawling.

Our fancy dinner never came to pass. The chicken burned and nothing else went as planned. The cute place setting cards that the girls started to help me make will have to wait until next year. The bingo cards that needed to be cut out sat there on the counter, and finally, poor Hailey started cutting them out herself. After dinner they played bingo as I listened with my eyes clinched shut while laying on the couch. It is not how I envisioned spending one of my favorite holidays.

I keep telling myself that "it's only one year..." that things won't go as I'd like. Right now I have a list a mile long of projects I need to do before March when my body officially goes kaput. And then I reminded that this is my fifth baby in only seven years, and that here at 32 weeks my body has in fact already gone kaput. I must stop and certain things will have to wait. And it's driving me crazy.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Ballet Talk

Ballet has been the talk of the house lately. The girls' upcoming performance is in March, but we are busy going to dress rehearsals and doing other ballet related things. You would think it's silly for a three and five year old to have so many rehearsals, right? Their studio is a very serious ballet studio, the kind of place that graduates girls to go onto a college and professional level of ballet.

So the performance in March is a HUGE ordeal and each year they put on a full ballet. Last year it was "Swan Lake". This year it is "Romeo and Juliet". The principal dancers are of course the older girls, but the younger classes have supporting roles. Like this year, Hailey and Lauren's class is the rose petals. They will dance along with a senior soloist on stage. Last year it was adorable and I'm sure this year will be no different. So when the big girls get together for dress rehearsals, any supporting dancers have to be there as well. Our girls have a rehearsal this Saturday, then pictures the following Saturday, then two more rehearsals early March before the big day on March 12th. Whew!

They got their costumes today and they are very cute, and very classy. They are steamed and prepared to perform in, so the trick is going to be keeping the girls from playing dress up in them between now and March. Since they know they will be hanging in my closet, it's going to be hard!
{The pictures are poor quality because they are from my phone.} The last two weeks of class has been practice in the "big ball room". On Tuesday the moms got to watch and it was quite the scene. A bunch of little ones trying to keep up with their teacher was funny! Above Hailey and Lauren are waiting patiently for their turn.
Can you tell which one is Hailey? She is to the teacher's left. Lauren is two girls down from Hailey. It's a trip watching Hailey during class because she is uber serious. I think it's kind of odd for a five year old to take it so seriously, but she does. In this picture, the teacher had just said "Position!" Hailey's feet imediately popped out. Her body tightened and her chin was up. She was ready! She does this every class too. And when they stretch...look out. She doesn't joke around. The other day after she took a bath she was asking me about "the splits". Ha, I told her that once upon a time I could do that stuff, but not anymore. So then we pulled up YouTube and looked at a bunch of videos of dancers stretching. She got down on the floor and started doing it herself, then spent the next half hour until bedtime on the living room floor stretching. The next day at ballet she was excited to show Miss Christina her new tricks.

It doesn't stop there. Lately Hailey has insisted that she is "done with junk food". WHAT??!!

She says "Ballet dancers only eat healthy foods, so I am only eating healthy food from now on." Crazy! And she is sticking to it for the most part. This worries me a little because if she does end up continuing in ballet and going on to a serious level, she has plenty of years to worry about her body image. She is way too young to be thinking like this! What is crazy is it's NOT the teacher who is telling her this stuff. She just has it in her head.

And then there is Chudda, who is just having fun being three years old. She likes to go to ballet, but again she is only three and acts like a three year old should. I like that. When Hailey came home from school today she found the costumes hanging up and went ballistic. She pulled her clothes off to try it on right away. She told Lauren to go put her costume on but Lauren is having a "three year old" day and was stubborn and wouldn't comply. Hailey was so mad and yelled at her "Lauren! Don't you know we need to practice, and I can't dance as the only rose petal! Go put your costume on NOW!!" The Diva was quite mad.

Monday, February 7, 2011

30 Weeks

30 weeks and 4 days along. I can't believe baby Gad will be here in less than two months! We will be scheduling the c-section at my appointment on Wednesday and Cody and I are hoping for April 6th. I hope it works out with my doctor's plans, and more than that, I hope Gad decides to stay put until then. My last two babies did not stay put until the appointed date. Isn't that rude of them? April 6th is Jesus Christ's birthday and what better person to share a birthday with!

Our little one is about 16 inches long and weighs about 3 pounds. I am feeling very tired these days, and having a 16 month old doesn't help things. Especially a 16 month old who doesn't have an "off" button. Devin is the reason I may go into labor earlier than planned! I contract a few times an hour on a normal day. They are all the fake kind, but it's enough to make me go "whoa...gotta slow down."

I get terrible leg cramps if I am on my feet for too long, and they've started getting pretty bad at night. Despite any supplement I'm taking, nothing has helped. That is until Cody suggested I start drinking Gatorade like athletes do to reduce muscle cramps. I drank a lot of it on Saturday and what do you know...no cramps that night. Gatorade has since become my best friend and our fridge is stocked. I have noticed a major reduction in cramps and I am much happier!

My circulation continues to be a problem like always. I have to be very carful not to let my BP dip too low or I will faint. There's not a lot I can do to raise my BP so I just take it an hour at a time and sit down when I can. Ha ha, that's funny.

I have severe mixed feelings about not being pregnant ever again after April. I have spent about 80% of the last eight years being either pregnant or nursing. Defining myself as something different will take some getting used to. But I am tired and done, and I'm looking forward to this new phase of life. The "I can lose the weight and keep it off and keep only ONE wardrobe in my closet" phase of life. I think it will be great!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Ultimate Joy

It is after midnight and I need to get to bed, but I fear I will never journal about this if I don't do it now.

There is something about this time of year that is just plain hard. January was filled with illness in our house. It started out with me having a severe case of bronchitis and a sinus infection that took forever to clear up {thank you pregnancy}. Then one by one everyone has been sick as well...multiple times. The flu, stomach bugs, diarrhea croupe, stomach bugs, croupe, and back again to the flu. To say I am exhausted is a huge understatement.

Yesterday the weight of the world hit me square on the back and I cried a lot during the day as I tried to keep my sanity in tact. I cried while I made dinner and the kids were all very concerned. But after the tears, I felt a sense of power and I made it through another sleep deprived night of playing nurse to people in this house.

Today while gtting ready for church, I cried as I tried to fit into my maternity dress that flat out doesn't fit well anymore. Isn't it sad when you have outgrown your MATERNITY clothes? I cried as I fixed the girls hair. I cried as I did a lot of things because I was so frustrated. The older three kids were healthy enough to go to church, so off to church we went while Cody and Devin stayed at home sick.

I won't go into details, but before we pulled out of the driveway I had a grade-a fit of hysteria. I'm sure I terrified the kids as I yelled and screamed at them. I blurted out "I hate being a mom today. You guys make me so unhappy." And as soon as I said it, I regretted it. It was so untrue, but at that moment, it's what I felt. Guilt hit me in the face and I cried some more. They were completely silent on the way to church and folded their arms more out of fear than anything as we walked through the building.

Ethan had to give a talk in Primary. He had given talks before, but this was his first "real" talk to give in senior Primary and he was going to read it all by himself. We had been practicing it and he was ready. Nervous but ready. I stood by the pulpit to support him and he read all three paragraphs flawlessly. No pictures or visual aides. It was a grown up talk and I was beaming with pride. I felt the spirit as my big boy read those words.

And then in Relief Society the lesson was directed at me and only me. It's as if the words being said were meant especially for my ears. It was all about finding our own happiness in life and being in charge of it. Again, I sat there and cried. Thank you President Uchtdorf, I really needed to hear that inspired message.

When I left Relief Society and walked down the hall to get the kids, I saw Ethan and Hailey walking side by side holding hands. He always goes and gets the girls from their classes and we meet halfway in the hall like this, every Sunday {Lauren was already with me today}. But this time it made my heart hurt with love as I met them. The kind of hurt where it feels like your heart may burst from your chest.

As I helped each kid into the van, I stopped them and hugged them ever so tightly. I breathed them in. I had been horrible to them that morning...these precious gifts. The ultimate joys in my life. As I buckled myself into the van, I told them how sorry I was for treating them like I had that morning. I apologized as sincerely as I could, but even then it didn't seem like enough. It seemed trite. However, all I heard from the back was "It's okay mom. We love you so much."

My eyes stung on the way home from church. I listened to their chatter about Primary and what they had learned. It's my favorite part of Sunday, getting to hear all about their classes and what they did for Sharing Time. Today was no different, or maybe it was. It was better. The spirit was very strong with me all day and I thanked God over and over again for the beautiful children that he gave me; the same children that I don't deserve but cherish more than I can ever say.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

My Relief

There is a certain time each day when I have a silent mental breakdown. It happens like clockwork, and usually between the hours of 5:00 and 6:30 in the evening. I can usually be found standing at the kitchen island trying to concoct something edible for dinner. My attention is needed in at least ten different places. One child is yelling at me from the potty that she "needs help". What I don't know is that she has smeared her own feces all over the bathroom in an effort to clean herself up. Another child is climbing on something extremely dangerous and is about to commit accidental suicide. Two other children are screaming and fighting and just might kill themselves as well. "MOM!! MOM!! MOM!!" Everyone is needing something from me.

In the meantime, the phone is ringing. I do my absolute best to NEVER call someone with small children between the hours of 5:00 and 8:00 for the exact same reasons, but obviously other people missed that memo and so my phone still rings. The machine gets it and I sigh because it's one more person I need to call back, one more reason to feel guilty about something I have not had a chance to see to yet. I hate the machine.

The doorbell rings. Same hate for the doorbell as the machine. Oh and the somewhat edible thing that is cooking on the stove? It's now burning. And the smallest person in the house is hanging from the oven handle and I pull him away from it just as the burning hot oven creeks open as a result of the 25 pounds that was hanging from it. That was a close one.

Still, everyone is screaming at me. Some are crying, some are yelling, some are throwing things, some are running circles around the kitchen island while I stand there and try desperately to collect myself. Inside I am screaming and crying and kicking things. But I won't do that on the outside because it would scare the little people in my house. Instead, I start to shake and I look at the clock. 90 minutes until relief comes. 90 minutes. And I don't know if I can make it even that long.

But like always, relief does eventually walk through the door. He is cute and is about 5 foot 10 inches. He carries a black work bag slung over his shoulder. He has the mail in one hand and he still sports his office ID badge around his neck. He has distinguished grey hair right around his ears and right now, he's never looked better to me. I breathe a huge sigh of relief. "Daddy!!!" They all yell it in unison.

Relief came at last.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

2 1/2 Year Olds

While working on a project, I randomly came across these pictures of my girls. They were both about 2 1/2 years old in them. I am sometimes in awe at what beautiful daughters I have, both inside and out. I am sad that they are growing up so quickly, but excited about what the future holds for us all. I am so blessed to be their mommy.

Hailey Jane
late summer 2008

Lauren Elizabeth
early spring 2010