Monday, December 30, 2013

2 month old Elsie

Elsie is officially 2 months old now! She weighs eleven pounds and is 23 inches long. She smiles quite a bit and is usually a very happy girl. She still doesn't like bung put down, though. She sleeps in her bed at night, but won't nap there. I don't mind too much. It's my excuse not to do the dishes. :)  We love our sweet Elsie-boo!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

"Mom, is Santa real?"

"Mom, is Santa real?"

"Of course he's real, Lee!"

"I mean, have you seen him?"

Have I seen him?  As in, with my own two eyes, land on my roof, slide down my chimney, leave gifts, eat cookies, and slip out silently?  Have I heard his "Ho Ho Ho" or "Merry Christmas to all" bellow over the snow?  Have I felt his fuzzy beard and looked into his sparkling eyes and told him my deepest hopes and dreams?


Is Santa real, mom?  Yes.

There's something different about Santa Claus, you see.  Santa has a way of bringing out the best in people.  Nobody starts wars in Santa's name.  Nobody says "Santa hates you because you're different than me."  Santa simply brings people gifts, and does so anonymously and quietly.  He goes about doing good and never asks for anything in return.  Santa Claus knows everyone and loves them just the way they are.  He watches them and thinks about them constantly, and always puts himself aside to show that love to others.

Once a year, for a few precious moments, I get to be Santa Claus.  I look forward to it every year, and start thinking about it months in advance.  I get to pick out special gifts for my children that I know they'll love.  I get to hide things away and plot surprises and imagine someone's delight when the surprises are finally revealed.  And at last, on Christmas Eve when the noise from the bedrooms has fallen silent, I get to pull out all my hard work and stick it in a stocking and then lie restlessly in my bed as I anticipate the next morning and the joy that will ensue.  I know that all around the world, billions of other parents and guardians are doing the same thing; and at that moment, I know for a certainty that Santa Claus is real and that he has visited every home on Earth.  He's left his calling card and I can see it in every eye: love.  That deep love that a parent has for a child--that prayer for their well being--that gift of life--that selflessness and overwhelming desire for everyone else to be happy, no matter what--that's who Santa Claus is. 

"Mom, is Santa real?"

"Yes, Lee, Santa Claus is very real."

"I mean, have you seen him?"

"I have, my son, I truly have.  And he is amazing."

Saturday, December 14, 2013

It's the most BUSY time of the year

I bet your calendar looks a lot like mine: very full.  I can only blog because I'm feeding Elsie simultaneously.  Yesterday, Annalisa went to a birthday party and we picked her up and went straight to the ward Christmas party.  We have lots of Christmas projects to complete, extra work to do, and of course all the parties and meetings and stuff.  We're trying hard to teach the kids about the birth of our Savior, and I know they're getting it. But it's still very, very busy! Here's some pictures to let you know just a bit of what we've been up to:

Waiting to sing at the ward party

Elsie is seven weeks old!

And I thought taking a decent picture of three kids was hard...

Anna lost her first tooth last week

We hope you're having a great holiday season and getting a few minutes to breathe, and if you had the time to read our blog, that it made you smile.  :)  Have a great week!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

6 week old Elsie

 Elsie is 6   weeks old tomorrow, and such a little doll! She is very sweet and still loves being held and snuggled all the time. She has started smiling, but not frequently enough for us to get a picture yet. Her naps are lengthening, which helps me get things done. We've set up the Christmas tree, cleaned, and even done some holiday baking this week already. Amazing!
We have a busy month ahead of us. The kids beep bringing home schedules for their Christmas programs and I'm reminded that they're not babies anymore. Remind me not to forget the camera, because I know in just a few short years, we won't have preschool programs and primary parties anymore. That's okay. It's delightful to watch our children grow and discover the world and themselves.

Friday, November 22, 2013

yes, we are still alive. :)

Every now and then, Elsie falls asleep or is being happy on daddy's lap and I think: OK, I can 1) make dinner, 2) clean house, 3) play with the big kids or help Lee with his homework, 4) take a nap, 5) update the blog.  Clearly, the blog typically is the last thing on my priority list, since it hasn't happened in 3 weeks.  I'm sorry, but not too sorry.  I've been spending my time snuggling the baby and enjoying the best post-partum recovery I've ever had.

Elsie is 4 weeks old already, wow!  Her newborn clothes are stretched pretty tight across her belly now, so it's nearly time to put them away.  She's worn each outfit we own about 3 times.  We really should share newborn clothes because they just don't use them very much.  She outgrew her newborn size diapers about the time we ran out of the first box--2 weeks.  She now opens her eyes a lot and is trying to learn how to smile.  Every day she focuses just a bit more and sheds more of her newborn-ness.  Fortunately, she hasn't lost all of her hair yet.  Knock on wood!  She is a super sweet baby and loves to be held.  She's also a very animated sleeper.  She sleeps well, but when she first falls asleep, her eyes roll around a lot and she moves her mouth and breathes rapidly--it reminds me of my dog Max when he used to dream.  I wonder what Elsie is dreaming about?  It's clearly very interesting.

As for me, I'm doing very well.  I keep wanting to volunteer for things and cook and bake and go on walks and hang out with people, but I don't have the time yet since Elsie is still so dependent.  That's ok--I love holding her and I know that it won't be more than a few more months before I can get back to a more normal routine, and, sadly, Elsie won't need or want to be held all the time.  We're trying our best to enjoy every moment.

Thanksgiving is coming up, the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary is tomorrow, we are having a great time!  Annalisa has been practicing songs for Thanksgiving.

So you see, yes, we're still alive and well.  We even got a sitter for the 3 older kids this week and just took Elsie with us while we went and got Sushi.  How I missed that!  It was delicious and great fun.  We hope you're all doing well also, and if you need more regular up-to-dates, follow me on Facebook. :)


Friday, November 1, 2013

1 week with Elsie

Today Elsie is one week old!  It has been a great week.  Elsie got to meet two sets of her great-grandparents, all of her grandparents, and some aunts and uncles as well.  She spent some quality time in the sunshine, helping to keep her bilirubin down (and it worked marvelously!).

She loves her older siblings already.

 The weather was beautiful this morning so we went out for a walk.  It felt great.  My recovery has been so smooth and easy this time around, and I know it's because of our beautiful house and amazing friends and family.  I haven't made dinner all week, haven't had to clean much beyond starting the dishwasher and taking out trash, and we've had several quiet hours each day while kids were out at school or doing other fun things.  We're so glad to have sweet Elsie home with us and that she's growing healthy and strong.  THIS is the way it is supposed to feel to have a baby--tranquil, joyful, and blissful.  Happy 1 week birthday, little sweet pea!

Halloween 2013

Because of Elsie, this has been a pretty low-key Halloween for us.  We mostly relied on friends and family to make sure the kids had fun, and then Cody worked and I stayed home and watched Doctor Who all evening and snuggled with the baby.  Still, it was a great Halloween and deserves to go in the memory books!

We encouraged the kids to pick simple costumes this year, since we didn't know who would be dressing them up.  Lee was a vampire, Annalisa was a witch, and Katie was a pumpkin.  They were all cute and very spooky.  Lee and Anna got to wear their costumes to school, and of course Katie had to be in the pictures too.  For a while she was wearing her clothes, her new ballerina leotard, and her pumpkin costume... in that order.  It was quite the feat to get everything off in time to go potty. 

After school and homework, it was time to get ready for the Halloween festivities!  Well, not too much homework, just a bit of reading: Lee's primary homework for the day was a "Track your Loot" candy graph.  I thought it was mighty clever--teaching the kids how to graph and sort and some data analysis with their Halloween candy.  So anyway, we asked our next door neighbor kid, who is almost 13, to take the children Trick-or-Treating (note to self--probably should ask an adult next year).  Cody first took them down to our friend's house who was having a soup party, and then left the kids there with some responsible guardians, and he came back to work, bringing me a bowl of soup with him.  The kids then went out Trick-or-Treating.  Lee went with the bigger kids, Anna and Katie went with Katie's best friend Kate.  Kate and Katie are about 5 weeks apart in age and LOVE to fight with each other.  They are amazingly adorable together, though.  Anna got cold after about thirty minutes and came home.  Lee was next to come back, when he realized he didn't have a Trick-or-Treating companion any more (yeah, I'm still having a bit of a heart attack at the fact that a friend of a friend found him alone, but proud of Lee that he told them he was going home and came straight to the house safe and sound).  Katie stayed out the latest, with buddy Kate and Kate's parents. 

When all the kids were home, we took warm baths to warm up, sorted the candy and had a few pieces, and then went to bed only about 20 minutes late.  I finally turned off our porch light about 9:00 PM, since we weren't getting any more Trick-or-Treaters.  This morning, I guesstimate we had about 50 Otter Pops left from our box of 200 that I had set on the front porch with a note saying to take one.  So, that means roughly 150 guests, perhaps more.  It was definitely busy, and I missed saying hi to all the kids, but I'm glad I didn't open the door all those times.  All in all, the kids scored some hefty bags of candy, everyone was safe and had a great time, and we are well.  Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Lee and Annalisa are in school, Katie has a babysitter on Wednesday mornings, yesterday my mom and great aunt came and cleaned my house, and I have dinner being brought by my visiting teacher tonight.  It is so quiet around here.  I've been resting all morning with Elsie snuggled by me.  I can't explain how wonderful I feel.  We have so much help from wonderful friends and family, and I am so grateful for all of it!  I know it is helping me recover much faster than I've ever experienced before.  Last night Cody went to Scouts and I put the kids to bed by myself.  I realized that I'm not all better yet, which made me even more grateful for the help we've been getting--because I know without it, I'd be in a really bad emotional state.  So, thank you SO MUCH to everyone who has helped us out, even just in thoughts and prayers!  It has made a world of difference to us.  I'm also glad I worked so hard to fill the freezer and do the Christmas shopping and all the many many projects we've been working on for months.  It keeps the stressful moments at bay just a bit longer.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Enjoying Elsie

Elsie is 3 days old!  Life at our house has been a bit hectic, but it is wonderful to be home together.  Yesterday we had a lot of visitors stop by.  Today the kids are at school and we still have Grandma with us for a few more hours, and it is quiet and peaceful.  Our recovery and transition are going very well.

Elsie had borderline risk bilirubin--lower than any of the other kids, and not high enough to warrant daily checks, but at her newborn checkup today, Dr. Clark did want us to test to make sure it wasn't getting worse.  I really don't like these bilirubin tests, especially after having to test Katie every day for the first week of life... I know it's important to track and all, but taking the baby back to the hospital when I'm sore and recovering just for a daily test, only for them to say "Come back tomorrow and test again..." is very frustrating for me.  So... making a short story long... we went back to the hospital lab and had Elsie tested right after her newborn checkup, and small miracle #352 of this delivery, her bilirubin has fallen just out of the risk zone, hooray!  No more tests unless she looks really sick.  I'm happy.

Speaking of small miracles... I'm serious when I say #352.  This whole delivery and recovery is going phenomenally well.  I keep hesitating to say that out loud, because I know things could change at any second like they did after Katie was born and I started having gall bladder attacks and emotional breakdowns... but in the last few months I was given 3 separate priesthood blessings, all of which spoke of health and strength and a fast recovery.  I'm truly seeing the fulfillment of those blessings now.  My body is recovering quickly and Elsie's health has been spectacular.  Our hospital stay was the best we've ever experienced, and we have lots more help this time around than we did previously.  We love our neighborhood, our family, and friends who have been so generous in offering their support.  It is so appreciated.

One last funny story just to end... I gave Elsie a bath this morning while the kids were at school.  Katie was home, though, so of course she got to help me.  We got all the things out for a sponge bath, and then I started filling the sink with warm water and washing down Elsie.  Katie suddenly gets an impish smile and says, "Yay, Bathtime!"  Then, she promptly stripped off all her clothes and ran around the house stark naked, calling, "Bathtime!  Yay, Bathtime!"  Hilarious! 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Coming home

We did it!  This is Lisa again, Cody has been released with honors from his position of blogger-in-chief. :)

Time for stories, from my point of view.

The labor and delivery were exactly as I had hoped.  The epidural was GREAT.  I always had control of my legs and could move, but it wiped the severe pain right off the map.  At the end, it was really interesting how Elsie was descending.  We kept having to move the monitor lower and lower.  She had her hand up by her face at delivery, so pushing was a bit hard, and Dr. Clark helped Elsie do some yoga and get her hand back by her side before she could come out.  I kept pushing and thinking, "Why hasn't she come out yet?"  But finally she came and when they put her on my tummy she looked straight into my eyes.  I thought she looked so tiny and beautiful.  I was quite surprised to find out she's our biggest baby yet.  I thought she'd be more Katie's size, in the upper 6 pound range, but nope, she clocked in at 7 lbs 14 oz, just shy of 8 pounds.  Perfect in every way.  Her APGAR scores were 8 and 9. 

She is an amazing baby.  She already has a great eating/sleeping schedule and is good at telling us what she wants.  Cody and I are both in love with her and the kids are too.  Apparently Annalisa told Cody's mom after they visited the hospital yesterday, "Our baby is cuter than any other baby ever!"  Sums up my feelings perfectly.  Katie keeps saying, "I wan-hold it!" and within a few minutes of coming home, brought Elsie her favorite stuffed cat and a blanket... adorable.  The kids were all on the porch waving puppets they had made with Grandma and cheering as we drove up.  It was the best reception ever. 

We're glad we have some help arranged for the next few weeks.  Already we can tell that 4 kids is going to be very busy!  But we are excited to be home with this precious new addition to our family.

Friday, October 25, 2013

picture of Elsie

Baby Elsie is 7lb 14oz 20in long

She was born at 2:30pm exactly

it is a girl!

Pictures to come soon

dr is here

at a 9


at a 7

Checked during a contraction.  She is at a 7.

5.5 cm.

We are making progress!  Lisa slid down the bed so we had to pull her up to not fall down more.  Back in shape and ready to get the baby going with regular contractions again.  Things can happen pretty fast. Now. Not sure how much I can  blog without missing the baby coming out soon. Not sure if I start misspelling then something exciting might be happening,  Lisa said thehkioerekknv behest to hert and she is getting some. Ice now and jnkfk vhkw Al sass

will be checked soon

Last checked Lisa was at a 4.  Dr is on call and will be coming when she gets closer.  I (Cody) ate lunch, which was a ham and sub sandwich.  Had a tomato, mustard, mayonnaise and lettuce.  The tomato was nice.  Lettuce pretty good too.  I like their drink selection.  Lots of choices.  Grape juice orange juice, apple, even cranberry juice.  Also I brought my hantan jacket so I am super comfy.  Lisa looks like she is ready for her afternoon nap.  Lisa has not eaten much.  She has had a few popsicles and some Ice chips.  She did eat some breakfast at about 5am.  Baby we think would be coming around 2 pm or so.  Maybe a little bit after that the way things are going right now.

lisa is at a 4.

Feeling more comfy with the epidural and with the zofram that helped with nausea.

back in business of waiting,

We are back into waiting.  The epidural has been placed and we are ready.  Lisa is feeling a little sick but not bad.

Dr is placing Epideral

Epidural is getting placed right now.  Lisa is starting to feel it pretty heavily that she is pretty uncomfortable. 

water broke.

The water is broken!
Looks like we are going to be going much faster now.

Epidural is ordered but not here yet.

Dr should be coming soon to break water

Last checked about an hour ago, Lisa is at a 3.
The Dr called and said he should. Be here soon, maybe 10 min or so to break the water.


Lisa is resting quietly on her bed.  I got her a Popsicle.  Contractions are getting stronger.  The light right above her head was bright and I could tell she was slightly annoyed by it.  So I turned off this red light switch and Lisa screamed out-"Cody, that was my oxygen!"

Signing Papers

Lisa is getting IV and Patocin started.  Our nurse is Nanci which is the same nurse that helped with Lee.

In the hospital!

we are checked in.  Lisa is getting her bed all setup.

Phone call results

we called the hospital and we  an go in at 6:15.

Waiting to call

This is Cody testing out our new Tablet while waiting for the Dr.  we will now wait unit 5 to call the Dr.  it is 4:52.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The night before...

Tomorrow's the day of the induction!  It's been a busy couple of days, but I need to take a moment to record and reflect before this big occasion.

I just called Lee and Annalisa to me (Katie is too young still) and had a very open and honest conversation with them detailing exactly what is going to happen tomorrow.  Annalisa was wondering how they would get Elsie out of me, so I told them.  I used terminology they would understand, like "Birth Canal" and "Special tube" and "squeeeezy contractions."  I told them it would hurt me, but I would be so excited to meet Elsie.  I told them I'd have special medicines to help me not hurt too much.  I told them I would bleed and need some special bandages for a while.  But I told them not to be worried and that they would see me soon and that most important of all--I love them and am proud of them.  We had a big hug and they handled everything SO well.  I know they are prepared and excited as well, and now I have confidence they won't be scared either.  I spent the day with just Katie today as we worked on applesauce.  I hope the time alone with mommy will help her to feel loved as well.

Now, I'm wondering what Elsie is doing tonight.  We are deeply religious and I know we lived with God before we were born.  I have a feeling she's having a goodbye party tonight--hanging out with her deceased grandparents, perhaps future siblings or her own future children, and giving them hugs and loves just like we would be if we were about to go on a big trip.  Perhaps Heavenly Father is taking her aside and explaining exactly what's about to happen, so she won't be worried or scared either.  I know He's taking the time to give her a hug and a kiss and make sure she knows He loves her, just like I did for my kids today.  He doesn't want her to be scared either.  I have a feeling he's also sending a hug for me... and I honestly can't wait to get it. :)

We are excited and nervous about tomorrow, but we are ready. Baby Elsie--I hope you're ready too!  I can't wait to hold you and meet you, even though I already feel like I know you after carrying you these last 9 months.  One thing I know most of all: I love you.  See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

38 weeks, 5 days report

My doctor is back in town and I had an appointment today.  It went like this.

"Oh, I see you're still pregnant!"
"Yes, unfortunately."
Weight gain for whole pregnancy: 15 pounds
BP 122/70
Urine sample just fine.  :P
Elsie's Heartbeat, a bit tricky to find as usual, 155 bpm.
No major change for me, 1.5 cm and 40% effaced.
Dr Clark's recommendation, after reading notes from my previous labors that even I didn't know about--Elsie needs to come sooner rather than later, and since he has this weekend off and wouldn't have to be in the office taking patients or doing clinics, he suggested it would be the best time for her to come (or we could wait until Nov 1, but I really don't want to have birthday mornings after staying up late Trick-or-Treating).  So, despite my careful planning and mental preparation to wait another 2 weeks, when he told me that it would be better for the baby, I totally caved.  I have an induction scheduled for this Friday, October 25!

It's officially go-time.  We're finishing Elsie's bassinet, doing laundry, packing the hospital bag, and arranging the babysitting/carpools/substitutes/time off of work.  It is exciting and amazingly nerve-wracking as well.  Fortunately, like I said yesterday, we're in good shape.  3 more days, here we go!

Monday, October 21, 2013

The state of the To-Do list

I was just re-reading this post from when I was pregnant with Katie and it made me laugh.  I am still myself!  As much as I think "I don't remember it being this busy or uncomfortable with any other pregnancy," it's not true.  This is definitely how it was all the other times.  My to-do list looks nearly identical and even the timing is the same. 

Fortunately, that famous to-do list is pretty short now.  I wrote it a few weeks ago.  There were over 30 items, none of which were small 2 minute projects.  All of which, in my opinion, really can't wait for Elsie's birth.  Here's more or less what it looked like:
-Clean Van
-Clean carseats
-install carseats
-make applesauce
-glean and store onions (*note, we had a friend who was able to glean an onion field for free, so that's where this one came from)
-clean closet and convert into a baby-nursery (yep, that's where Elsie will sleep, in our spacious, heated, quiet master closet)
-clean, set up, and stock changing table
-wash, sort, and prepare baby girl clothes
-finish Christmas gifts for all cousins and siblings
-give everyone haircuts
-wash winter coats and get out all winter wear
-put away freezer meals
-parent-teacher conferences
-set up carpools
-big shopping trip to stock up on post-partum supplies, diapers, quick-fix meals, etc
-pack hospital bag
-arrange substitutes for Primary and write lesson plans for the remainder of the year
-put garden away for the winter
-winterize lawn and house, including cleaning windows, mow, fertilize, blow out sprinklers, change furnace filter, put away AC unit, spray for bugs, clean gutters
-write and submit the Hendricks Herald (semi-annual family letter)
-put up Halloween decorations, get kids' costumes, arrange for Trick-or-Treating, and generally prepare for Halloween
-Do lots of fun things and enjoy every day

Seriously.  That's the list.  It is written in a black spiral notebook that I'm keeping all my planning in right now, since our laptop tragically broke a few weeks ago and the computer I'm posting with is just a little bit harder to access.  Also in this same black notebook is the family schedule I wrote up, detailing who goes where and when, that I can hand off to a babysitter if needed, a list of phone numbers of everyone we need to contact if/when I have the baby, my huge shopping list for my huge shopping trip, the packing list for the hospital bag, and a list of menu ideas that I can make double batches and freeze half of (like enchiladas, meatloaf, chili, etc).  Lastly, there's a bunch of kid's drawings because for some reason, when mommy is writing in a notebook, 3 cute kids want to as well. 

The best thing of all the past few weeks has been every time I get to cross something off the list.  I get this big smile and a great sense of accomplishment.  Today, happily, I crossed off the last 2 really major things--clean the van and install carseats.  There's a couple of things that still aren't crossed off, particularly in the Halloween preparation category and winterization of the house and lawn category, but pretty much everything else is done.  I should make it quite clear, though, that while I usually cross the item off the list, Cody is the one who actually did the work.  I'm so grateful for him and all his help.  Now we're left with the last item: Do lots of fun things and enjoy every day.  OK, self, if you insist. :)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The best distraction ever

I've been so caught up in my own discomfort at the end of this pregnancy that I knew I needed some kind of distraction to help me make it a couple more weeks.  I planned a trip to the apple orchard with my parents and hope to make applesauce next week.  I planned a girls-night-in with friends, painting toenails and eating chocolate fondue.  I'm even planning pumpkin carving and other fun Halloween activities and going to Grandma and Grandpa's fun concert next Saturday.  I also have my big list to keep me plenty occupied.  But the best distraction of all came Friday.  Happiest distraction? No.  Fun distraction? Definitely not.  But does it yank me out of my world of self-pity and get me completely focused on something else in a way that nothing else can?  Yes.

Our poor sweet Katie is sick with the stomach flu.  Anna showed a few symptoms at one point, but hasn't gotten really sick.  Yesterday, Saturday, seems to have been the very worst of Katie's illness.  She spent the whole day resting and sleeping and only ate a few bites of cracker, which didn't stay in her poor tummy very long.  At bedtime after her bath she didn't want to put on more jammies, she only wanted her pretty Sunday dress so we indulged her and let her wear that to bed... hence finding her in the above pose at 3:30 AM this morning.  Cody thought it was so heartbreakingly cute that he had to take the photo.  He gave her a blessing in the middle of the night, and today seems to be going a bit better, although she's still very sick.  I obviously kept her home from church.  When I called my substitute, I said, "I wish this was me calling to tell you I need a sub because I'm having a baby, but alas it is not.  I just have a sick 2 year old."  So, sorry, I'm not completely out of my pit of misery and endless wo yet.  :)  But Katie has needed her mommy this weekend and helping her has made me grateful that Elsie is still inside of me.  She's not getting exposed to these germs, and I'm able to focus a bit more attention on my Katie Bubble.  The best distraction ever has turned out to be simply thinking of someone else whose need is greater than mine.  But I still hope nobody else gets sick and that Katie feels better very soon.  It's no fun to have a sick kid. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

38 weeks and approaching the longest 2 weeks of my life

Today I'm 38 weeks along; that's incredible!  I really do feel like this entire pregnancy has gone quickly, although I know these next two weeks will be the longest ever.  I always feel like time slows down at the end of pregnancy and speeds up with a newborn, and I wish it could be opposite.  I'm getting antsy to hold and snuggle my baby outside of my body instead of in. 

I've been having progressively harder days, more and more frequently.  I'm sore, I'm tired, I'm having pressure and Braxton-Hicks contractions, mornings are nauseous and I'm congested and headachey.  When the pressure and contractions set in I kind of get excited though, because I hope they're helping some.  My doctor is currently out of town and won't be back until Sunday (three more days), and since I've already met his partner who would deliver Elsie if I went into labor, and since I really don't have a chance of going into labor anyway and I'm very low risk, we chose not to have a checkup this week.  It's ok--one less uncomfortable internal exam and one less opportunity to be disappointed in my lack of progress. 

*Venting time... you can skip this paragraph if you want*  But the hormone-fueled grumpiness is starting to rear its ugly head.  I'm frustrated that I can't get anything done, that I want to do so much, that other people can go into labor and have babies and I can't.  I'm frustrated that my body hurts, and then when I feel good I'm frustrated that it doesn't hurt because it means more waiting.  I'm frustrated that I get starving hungry, eat a few bites, and am stuffed.  I'm frustrated that if I bend over or lie down I get heartburn no matter what.  I get frustrated when Elsie is moving so much that it hurts, and then I get frustrated (and worried) when she falls asleep and stops moving.  I'm just uncomfortable no matter what and am ready to be done.  I'm trying to rely on the decisions we've already made to wait until November for an induction, since I know there's some good reason for it, but every day it gets harder and harder to wait.  I look at the calendar and my eyes wander to October 24 and I feel this surge of  particularly fierce frustration knowing that my doctor would be willing to induce me at that point but that I'm going to have to tell him no... and even worse--since I WILL tell him no, it officially becomes my choice and therefore voids my right to complain.  So this is my last chance to whine away.  Maybe.  I'll probably still whine anyway. 

So, that's life right now.  The rest of the family is doing great.  The kids are fantastic helpers.  Right now is Fall break so there's no school for a couple days, and we had a good time making breakfast together.  We had the kids help, and at one point Katie and Anna were taking turns whisking eggs, and Katie had already mixed up the juice.  Lee grabbed the spoon for the juice and started mixing it--but Katie didn't like that too much and said, "No Lee, that's MY job!" so he gave her the juice.  Then Anna started mixing the eggs, and Katie yelled, "No Anna, my turn!" so she gave her the fork for the eggs, and for a few minutes Katie was stirring the juice with one hand and the eggs with another.  It was hilarious.  Fortunately, she did end up relenting and allowing her siblings to help her out and take turns.  We have great kids and really are doing well, I promise.  Cody is helping me cross off my list and we have even been able to spend some fun time on dates and hanging out with friends.  Life is great.  Granted, it will be greater with Elsie here, but there you have it. :)

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Trying to celebrate Halloween

To be honest, I recently realized I've been purposefully ignoring Halloween.  I was really wanting to have this baby before Halloween, so I've made plans for the kids to go trick-or-treating with a neighbor, I haven't even thought about costumes, and the extent of our decorating is what the kids could do themselves: put pumpkins on the front porch, stick our wooden ghosts in the ground, and draw a picture of a spider or two.  I really love this time of year, but I just wanted to ignore it because I didn't want to be a part of it--I wanted to be in the hospital or at home with a new baby. 

But as time is running out and Halloween is drawing closer, I'm realizing that my dream of having Elsie a week before Halloween isn't very feasible.  My sister Sara made a good point that's stuck with me--if it's this busy this year, it'll be this busy every year.  I don't want to negotiate a birthday party right in the midst of all these fall events--it's just not fair to Elsie, not when I have a say in it.  So, as I become more and more at peace with the date November 4 or 5 for an induction, I've realized that I can't ignore Halloween and I need to do some fun things with the kids--both for their sanity and mine. 

We're planning on going to the apple orchard next weekend, but I don't think I have the strength for a big corn maze this year.  Still, I've got the girls' holiday hair bows out and we're making pumpkin pancakes and soup and stuff.  What are YOUR favorite Halloween activities?  Anything a 37+ week pregnant woman can do (I don't mind if it sends me into labor)?  Annalisa keeps asking to carve the pumpkins, but we don't want to do that until it's a little bit closer to Halloween, and we'll probably also make sugar cookies to decorate.  At some point or another I'm going to have to put some costumes together.  I did find a great idea for myself... but you'll just have to wait for pictures of that one. 

Anyway.  I hope you are all having fun getting ready for the holiday season. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

37 Weeks-- "Full Term"

Well, we've managed to reach 37 weeks without me spontaneously combusting, so that's pretty good!  This week has been more of the same: uncomfortable, tired, insomnia, nausea, food aversions, congestion, and all the other abnormalities that are normal with pregnancy.  Tuesday night/Wednesday morning was a particularly rough moment for me with some uncomfortable contractions and aching from head to toe.  I sure hope I don't have many more nights like that, unless it results in steady contractions that send me to the hospital to have this baby.  Ha ha!  Even my doctor doubts that will happen.

Fortunately, everything else is just fine.  I did progress just a smidgen this week: 1.5 cm.  We continue to count down the days and try to check off the to-do list.  Cody is better at the latter and I'm better at the former.  This week, he managed to clean the oven, take down the garden, bring in 2 yards of dairy compost to amend the soil, clean the basement and garage, rearrange the girl's bedroom, set up Elsie's changing table, and take me on a date.  Me, on the other hand?  Hm... I helped a bit with the garden (mostly I sat on a chair and played with Katie and watched Cody do it), I made some enchiladas for the freezer, and tried (but failed) not to complain too much.  :)  I DID win 2 tickets to a big football game and we went to that.  It was a great date, except our team lost and our star quarterback was seriously injured and is now out for the season... bummer.  I love my husband and kids and family and friends and how much help and support they've given us. 

Now, we'll see how much longer this pregnancy lasts.  Dr. Clark still says he will induce me at 39 weeks if all looks well, but I can elect to wait a bit longer too.  Considering the fun things going on the week of Halloween, I should probably wait until after my due-date.  But considering how uncomfortable I feel right now?  October 24 is pretty attractive...

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Goodbye, Garden; Hello, Autumn!

We had our first hard frost yesterday and now the garden is done, except for the chives and a small patch of spinach and lettuce I planted for a fall crop.  It has been such a fun garden all summer long, and we are sad to see it go, but we are excited for the new season and all the fun things coming up this year!  Halloween is always great in our very close knit neighborhood, and the colors are beautiful.  We usually have gorgeous fall days--perfectly cool and lots of great activities going on.  Not to mention, we have a baby coming in the next month.  How exciting! 

We picked the pumpkins and worked a bit on winterization of the garden and yard yesterday during general conference (we brought the speakers outside).  It was a beautiful day and the kids loved helping heave the pumpkins to the front porch.  They look so fun and festive now.  I love this time of year!