Wednesday, July 31, 2013

27 weeks

I haven't purposely been avoiding the camera... but I haven't been jumping in front of it either.  Consequently, this early-Sunday-morning-watering-the-garden photo is as good as I've got right now.  At least you can see the silhouette of my growing baby bump, and it looks like a baby bump and not just a thick waistline. :)

I'm one week into the third trimester and already starting to notice some of the classic signs of a further-along pregnancy.  My ankles occasionally are swollen, it's getting quite difficult to pick things up off the floor or to clip my toenails or tie my shoes.  Elsie now kicks hard enough for it to be visible, but she's not so big that it is uncomfortable--thank goodness.  I swing between being starving and eating everything in sight, to suddenly feeling kind of sick and not wanting anything to eat, often for 24 hours or more.  I still eat during those times, but not very much. Unfortunately, I'm still congested.  Some days isn't too bad, but just when I start to think that it's better, I have another wave of it and I'm back in bed with the humidifier, kleenex, and essential oils.  Today is particularly bad, so thank goodness I have Cody to help me and big kids who are quite self sufficient.  They really are SO good and I am SO grateful for them. 

Hm.  As I was typing this, Katie just came up to me saying "meow! meow!" and started licking my arm.  Silly girl!  Life certainly is an adventure around here. 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Vacation time

I don't think I've left home in six months... I can't remember honestly, but it's certainly been difficult to go do fun things since becoming pregnant.  I have awful motion sickness that's aggravated by pregnancy, making driving very, very difficult... and then I had that congestion that just wouldn't go away and Cody's new work schedule/position... needless to say, we have not been doing much traveling and it was high time for a vacation.  Since my second trimester was winding down and the congestion somewhat clearing up, and I hadn't had a bout of morning sickness for weeks, and Cody was able to procure some paid time off, AND all of this coincided with Cody's mom's 60th birthday, we grabbed the opportunity for a 4 day excursion south.

Tuesday we drove the 6 hour drive to Cody's parents house in Southern Utah, arriving around 3 in the afternoon, with enough time to help put together a really fun surprise party for Cody's mom.  Several of Cody's sisters were able to come, as well as many of mom's siblings.  We had a great picnic at a park and dodged rain while playing with cousins, singing songs, putting on dances, and gobbling up delicious Navajo Tacos.  Yum!

Wednesday was Pioneer day and we started the morning with watching Grandma in the Pioneer day Parade.  She's a member of the local chapter of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers and they'd made a fun float and were part of the "Rhythm band"--playing kazoos, shakers, drums, and singing songs.  We all came home with huge bags of candy... more than we've ever scored at a parade... and soaking wet from chasing the fire trucks that were happy to cool off the kids at the end of the parade. 

The rest of Wednesday was spent napping, enjoying the company of our aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents, eating some yummy dinner and watching a movie before crashing early. 

Thursday we loaded up a bunch of supplies and headed to the family ranch for the day.  We borrowed one of the cabins and Cody and his sister Raychel caught a couple of the horses to do some rides with the kids in the morning.  After lots of trail riding, we had lunch and the 2 year olds and grandpas took naps while Raychel and Paul and Cody took the bigger kids hand fishing and Grandma and I stayed at the cabin and pulled out my quilt material and worked on that.  The fishing party brought home 4 gorgeous 13 inch long trout, and had released several more.  Nobody even had leeches, although they were very wet and dirty.  We hung the wet clothes out to dry and waited in our swimming suits while we cooked up the fish and some other goodies for a great ranch dinner.  After dinner we loaded up again and went home to bed, though nobody got to touch their pajamas until after they'd had a bath. :)

Friday Raychel and Paul had to leave in the afternoon, so that morning they took Cody and all the kids up to a part of the ranch called Meyer's valley, which isn't grazing fields, but is a beautiful mountain valley.  A few years ago, Meyer's valley was burned in a wild fire, which was devastating to the family.  This ranch has been in the family for nearly a hundred years now, and up in Meyer's valley is a large stand of Quaking Aspens where family members have carved their names, even Cody's great grandfather had.  It was quite the rite of passage for Cody and I to hike up there as newly weds and pick out our tree, carve in our names, with the intent to go back and add our children's names.   It was very special place, and to see it burned so badly was very, very sad.  We still don't know if our tree survived; Cody couldn't find it on this return trip, but we'll go back and look someday.  It was inspiring to see the new baby quaking aspens coming up through the burned wreckage.  The troops went to the spring which hadn't been burned, and enjoyed a sip of mountain spring water.  Of course, all of this is only accessible by truck, hiking, horseback, or 4-wheeler, so the kids loved riding in the back of the pickup.  Grandma, Grandpa (who had hurt his foot and was in a lot of pain), and I stayed at home and worked more on my quilt.  I didn't think the bumpy road would be very good for baby Elsie, so we'll have to wait for next time.

Friday afternoon, after lunch and naps and sending off Raychel and Paul, we went browsing in downtown Panguitch, and Cody found himself a tan Stetson that he fell in love with and has now become his Christmas gift.  We went out to dinner with Grandma and Grandpa and went back to the house to watch 17 miracles and cry and cry and cry.  We packed up a bit and went to bed.

Saturday morning was just packing up the van and eating breakfast, and we were on the road by about 8:30 AM.  Of course, there was one unexpected stop during the windy road through the mountain canyon when Katie had mommy's motion sickness flare up... poor girl.  :(  Still, the kids enjoyed picking some wild flowers and then we were back on the road. 

We had to tease Raychel and Paul because they accidentally left so much stuff in Panguitch that we had to stop at their house and drop it all off.  It was a perfect lunch break, though, and we got home in the mid afternoon.  Now, we've been unpacking, washing laundry, putting away toiletries, working, and generally trying to get back to the routine.  It was a fun trip, but now we're ready to finish up the summer and start my 3rd Trimester and get ready for school to start in less than a month.  Happy summer vacation!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Summer growing

 The garden may be growing fast, but it's certainly not as happy or cute or exciting as our growing kids!  This summer, Lee has learned how to bathe himself entirely, and it is SO nice.  He is riding his bike without training wheels, no problem, and loves it.  We practice his speech every day, even if he doesn't always know that's what we're doing.  Annalisa is getting ready for preschool, even though I kind of wish she was just a couple weeks older and would be in kindergarten.  She is SO ready.  She loves to read the letters off of signs and asks me what each word spells.  Katie has potty trained this summer, learned to pedal her tricycle very well, snitches red strawberries and raspberries from the garden (she takes after me that way), and loves to do things on her own.  She sets the table better than any of the other kids and is so cute as she places each item carefully in its spot, saying "Nee, Nanna, Keetee, Mommy, Daddy..."  Adorable.
 Every morning (and afternoon, and evening for that matter) Cody loves to walk through the yard, checking on all the plants, yanking a few weeds, picking berries or vegetables, but mostly just marveling at the growth and excitement that has come from our hard work.  Look how big our quaking aspens, pumpkin patch, and sunflowers have gotten!  *we're hoping that in a few years, the quakies will be big enough to generally shield out our neighbor's 2 story shed/playhouse AKA "the monstrosity"... although I do admit it is much better looking now that he finally put on siding and shingles... having it unfinished for a year and half was quite the eyesore*
Can you find Lee?  I can't think of many places more fun to hide than a sunflower patch.  It's been a fun summer thus far!  Kind of odd to think that it's over half gone...

Saturday, July 20, 2013

So much for a sweet comeback.

I went to the store today.  I saw that Hostess products were featured front and center, and was excited to join the throngs of people celebrating the return of this iconic American treat.  So, I bought an apple hand pie, which has always been one of my favorites.  I came home and as soon as the kids got in bed and I wouldn't have to share with them (yes, for shame, I know... just at a dollar apiece, it was a bit beyond budget for us to all have one and... well... I'm the mom) I pulled it out and had a bite.

Wow.  Sugar and preservatives and more sugar.  The crust was thick and stodgy, the filling was flavorless, and the sugar glaze on the outside just sort of flaked off all over my shirt leaving a sticky mess.  I think they were always this nasty... I just managed to fall victim to all the hype and cave into a memory of how it should taste, rather than how it really does taste.  Needless to say, I don't think I'll be buying more any time soon, and while I'm still happy to see Hostess in production again, I'll be happier to keep my cart prepackaged-treats-free and remind myself that yes, homemade really is so much better. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

A little moment to help me remember

I love the chance to snuggle with my kids, especially when they first wake up in the morning.  Recently I've been waking up a few minutes before them, so I'm either up and at 'em before they come out, or they'll climb in bed with Cody and I for a few minutes.  Either way, the morning routine is pretty much the same: the minute Cody or I sees each child, we squeal their name with delight, give them big hugs and kisses, and then just hold them for a while.  I usually rub their backs, ask them how they slept, and tell them how much I love them and how happy I am to see them that morning.  I usually use some pet names too, like, "Hi there my sweet precious Katie bubble!  Did you sleep well?"  Or "There's my stud muffin awesome dude Lee!  What do you want to do today?"  or "Annalisa my beautiful eyes big smart girl!  I'm so happy to see you; what do you want for breakfast?"  Well, this morning I woke up at 6 AM and had to go to the bathroom, but was too tired to get up so I went back to sleep and in a rare occurrence, Anna actually physically woke me up.  She climbed in bed next to me, kissed my cheek, and when I opened my eyes she rubbed my hair and said, "Hi, my precious mommy!"  It totally brightened my whole morning.  Well, obviously, because I'm STILL talking about it. :)

It was one of those moments that I heard myself come out my daughter's mouth.  That happens frequently, actually, and all the kids do it.  It's the moments that I realize that they hear everything I say, for good or bad; and not only do they hear it, but they will repeat it, even if when I said it they pretended to ignore me.  Fortunately, this morning it was something I'm proud to have my children repeat.  Hopefully I can remember how happy it made me to hear those sweet words and actions repeated by my daughter, and give her lots more similar experiences to emulate. 

Note, the picture is from Cody's phone.  He's been trying some different settings, including this "motion" one.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

25 weeks and wrapping up the 2nd trimester

Pregnancy journal time.  This pregnancy has been zooming by, even for me.  I can't believe I'm 25 weeks along!  I have one more 4 week appointment, then I'm on to 2 weeks and then 1 week apart.  I only have a few more weeks of the second trimester.  I'm definitely showing now and I feel baby Elsie move quite a bit.  Cody has felt her move a lot too, and Anna has as well.  Pretty exciting!

Yesterday I had a checkup and everything is going very well.  I did my gestational diabetes glucose screening, and my sugar levels are great so no worries in that department.  My blood pressure was back to my normal levels, and I have gained 6 pounds this whole pregnancy now.  We even found a good strong heartbeat without any struggles whatsoever, so maybe Elsie has moved forward a bit and is overcoming the anterior placenta that was giving me such a headache a month ago.  Speaking of headaches, I'm still getting them and I'm still congested, but otherwise I feel pretty good.  It is getting harder to pick things up off the floor and tie my shoes, but I'm coping just fine.

I am so grateful to have air conditioning this summer!  I also love our garden because it's coming on with lots of great vegetables now, which really helps me figure out what to make for dinner, as well as being fun and healthy.  I'm having more food aversions than cravings, especially an aversion to meat.  I just can't stand the thought of putting a piece of meat in my mouth and gnawing on it forever.  Ground and shredded meats in small quantities are ok, like a hamburger or a taco or sloppy joes, but something like grilled chicken or steak... bleh.  So, I make meat quite rarely right now, and we've been eating lots of eggs, vegetables, and beans.  It's probably healthier that way anyway, but I have to remember to keep my iron intake high, otherwise the headaches and fatigue gets even worse than normal.  It's all a balancing act, and one that I'm not very good at. :)

The emotional strain from the hormones is the toughest part of this pregnancy right now, though.  I have been feeling so worried about the welfare of my children and guilty for all my imperfections.  I don't want anything bad to happen to my kids, and sometimes I wake up at night and just fret and cry for an hour or so, worried I haven't read them enough stories and let them watch too many movies, or worried that they'll be hurt or eat unhealthy or get in poison ivy or SOMETHING.  Mostly I just worry that I'm a bad mother and that I've screwed up my kids by not being perfect.  I know in my brain that none of this is true.  But the hormones are making me hypersensitive and I can't stop these panic attacks and depression.  All I can do is have a good cry, ask Cody for a blessing or a hug, and try again in the morning.  Usually having some special one-on-one time with each child, holding them and telling them I love them, and then helping them learn something new, helps me the most.  I just have to consciously tell myself, "I DID read them stories.  I DID play with them outside.  I DID help them clean their room.  I DID give them a bath.  I DID bear my testimony to them.  We DID have family home evening.  We DID do things as right as we know how to.  And most importantly, Lisa, They DID laugh and play and smile and say 'I love you mom.'"   ... Like I said, stupid hormones mess with what I know and what I feel. 

Life really is good, really it is.  It is a huge relief to know that the baby is growing and developing well and that everything looks great with the pregnancy.  We'll continue riding this roller coaster of life and... 15 weeks to go!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

10 year reunion

Today I am missing my 10 year high school reunion.  Wow.

10 things I've done in the last 10 years:
-Moved away from home for the first time, but have moved back in with my parents 3 times for different reasons... 2 of them while married with children, as we waited for houses to become available
-Got married! 
-Had a couple of different jobs
-Had Lee, Annalisa, and Katie, and now working on baby Elsie
-Built a house
-Really learned how to cook
-Gone skinny dipping (eeeps!)
-Donated my hair 3 times to Locks of Love
-Started a blog :)
-Rode the roller coaster of life.

I wish I could go back and visit my friends from high school, but alas, I will just have to reminisce from a thousand miles away. It's been an incredible ten years, and so odd to think that ten years have truly passed.  I know everyone says it, but we say it because it's true: it goes fast.  I remember so clearly being eighteen and ready to graduate high school and envisioning my ten year reunion... I'm proud to say that all my major dreams have come true.  I wanted to be married.  I wanted to be a mom.  I wanted to be happy and learning and loving life.  That's exactly where I am, especially the loving life part. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

7 year old Lee!

We sure love our Lee boy!  On Sunday, Lee turned 7 years old.  It's amazing how fast he has grown up, and how grown up he really is.  We don't know what we would do without this amazing big kid in our lives. 
Lee at the beginning of June... I'm afraid we were too busy with the party to take many pictures.  Thanks to friends for the rest of these!

Today (July 10) we had our friend party.  Cody has Wednesdays off at this point, so it was the best day to do it.  A few months ago I was browsing Pinterest and came across the idea to do a messy kid party, and thought that would fit well, since Lee isn't really into any of the traditional boy party themes like pirates or a specific movie; but a chance to play with friends and just be silly and get really messy?  Right up his alley. 

I've been watching for sales for the last month and collecting supplies and ideas.  Today we had our babysitting swap so the kids went to a friend's house in the morning and it was very nice to have 3 hours with just Cody and I to prep for the party.  We cleaned the house, cooked spaghetti, and baked Papa Murphy's pizza and set everything up.  The kids started arriving at 11:00 AM and since lunch wasn't quite ready, Cody turned the water on his homemade waterslide (an old piece of subfloor leftover from building the house plus a tarp, covered with black plastic and clamped to the edge of the trampoline so it wouldn't slide around, with a hose on it to keep it wet) which was a huge hit.  Once lunch was ready we ate, then the kids were just dry enough to come in and open presents.  At last it was time for the activities!

I had cooked 3 pounds of spaghetti and put it in a bit of ice water to keep it really slippery, which was meant to be spaghetti mustaches and hairdos, but turned into a huge spaghetti fight.  So hilarious!  Then we brought out 2 sheet trays with extra firm jell-o which started as a game of jell-o catch, but soon turned into (surprise) a huge jell-o fight.  Mostly the kids enjoyed rubbing the jell-o on Cody's head and putting it down his shirt.  I had 4 bottles of Shasta diet soda that we dropped Mentos in and made fountains, which I thought the kids would enjoy watching but they really just enjoyed playing under... again, SO funny!  At last, the best of all: pulling out 3 bottles of shaving cream, giving them to the adults, and smearing shaving cream all over the kids, the water slide, Cody, everyone; then turning on the sprinkler and hose and getting rinsed off.  The kids had so much fun with the shaving cream that they didn't even notice they were getting cleaned off!  When the last of the shaving cream was gone and everyone was rinsed off, we played in the sprinkler and jumped on the trampoline until it was time to go home.  The kids were all exhausted... I know because they were getting a bit grouchy and needy.  Once everyone had gone home, we gave our kids a full bath and then had them lie down.  All three fell asleep and slept until 5:00!  Cody and I both got a nap too, which felt great. 

We still have a bit of spaghetti in the grass, but by playing outside, most of the mess was well contained.  A lot of the parents mentioned to me that it was a super fun party and were glad I was willing to do it at our house.  I figure that once a year for a birthday party is perfectly acceptable to throw out all the rules of decorum and cleanliness and just be silly kids.  We spend so much time as parents telling our kids not to make messes, making them clean up messes, that sometimes we overlook their need to just explore and, well, get messy!  At first some of the kids struggled with the idea of letting loose.  One little boy said, "I don't want to participate in this activity," but after he saw how much fun everyone was having putting spaghetti on their heads, he figured it was ok.  By the end, everyone had tried out the different activities and was laughing and having a great time.  I'd highly recommend this type of party for any kid.  Of course, you, as a parent, are going to have to be willing to let go of the rules and have an imagination for a little while... but if you can, you're in for the funnest party ever!