Tuesday, May 16, 2017


David has done a lot of growing up lately. Some of its been rough, some of it has been a lot of fun to watch. This last week we had a fun moment.

Two weeks ago David came home talking about the 5th grade jobs. There's always the Safety positions, helping the younger kids get to where they need to be. He helped cover one of those jobs while the 5th grade kids were at 5th Grade Camp. He enjoyed helping, and I was grateful his teacher recommended him for the job. But while David really liked that job he really wanted a different job: a news anchor position for the school. This job was a little more coveted and he wasn't sure he could get it, but he wanted to try. There was an application he needed to fill out and turn in to the Media tech. I didn't think the application was that big of a deal, but when I went to sign it the day before David needed to turn it in I realized it was a bit more involved than I'd thought.

There were two questions he had to answer following a list of qualifications he had to check yes/no to. He could answer yes to all of the qualifications, but those questions... Hahaha! "Why do you want this job?" David's answer? "Because I think it would be fun." Oh dear.... We talked for a while about how to better present himself, what he REALLY wanted to do with the job. He worked hard to rewrite his response. "I really enjoy school and learning, and I want to lead other kids to enjoy school and learning through my example and enthusiasm." "What talents or skills would contribute to this position?" "I am a good reader, I am a fast typer, and I am enthusiastic and friendly."

And then he needed to get three staff members to sign his application as references. I asked which teachers he would ask to be his references. "Uh..... I dunno. Mrs. S?" "And....." He had no idea. I told him to think about the different teachers that could vouch for his hard work and dedication to a project. His tech teacher taught him in an after-school class last year, his music teacher always has high praise for him and how hard he has worked in her class, the art teacher praised his artistic abilities... I told him to think of the people who could have the most influence in getting him the job. I jokingly said, "How would it look if you had the PRINCIPAL as one of your references?" We laughed a little at that, but he actually took that and thought about it.

The next day, after dropping him off early so he could get his reference signatures, I picked the kids up and asked which of the staff he'd gotten to sign his application. He'd asked his teacher, Andrea's teacher, and he'd gotten the principal to sign his application! Apparently Mr. C signed it in front of Mrs. M, the media tech, and said "David would be great for this job!" as he signed.

Well, yesterday David came home with a special letter addressed to him. He opened it up, and excitedly read to us that he'd gotten the position as a news anchor!

He is one of three kids that got the job for the first half of next school year. I'm pretty proud of him. He's pretty proud of himself. And I hope he learned some fun life lessons through this process. :)

Monday, May 1, 2017


So let me set the stage. I am a drama queen, after all, and this story had lots of dramas. *eye roll*

When the kids and I got back from our cross country trip last summer I had a sneaking suspicion I was expecting. We'd decided in June to start trying, I was hoping it would take a few months, but there was a big fat positive test and that was that. And almost in that moment the nausea set in. I'd been slightly sick with Andrea and Peter, fairly sick with David, but it was nothing compared to this. I lost a lot of weight between 6 and 18 weeks. It wasn't fun. I was pretty miserable. I let everyone know how miserable I was. And then I was asked to give a talk in church in November. In the course of my studies, I realized how whiny I was being, and how miserable I was making everyone else in my family. I began praying for the courage and strength to bear, with grace, whatever discomforts I was experiencing. Ha. Haha. Heh. Don't do that.

After the nausea finally abated my pelvis started splitting. And everything just hurt. Walking was painful, sitting was painful, lying down was painful. Walking, though. It was pretty bad, and it just got worse. Because I was trying to gracefully bear (ha. haha. heh.) my discomforts, I tried not to complain. I failed. A lot. Although I never mentioned anything to my midwife or doctor...

In December I started getting a weird spasm, on top of a hacking cough. The cough was terrible enough, but that pain in my side was intense. But it wasn't constant, and I figured it was just some random pregnancy thing. I dealt.

By February the cough finally went away, but the random spasm turned into a sharp, stabbing pain in my right side. Every time it hit I'd have to sit and catch my breath. My pelvis was separating. Braxton Hicks were pretty regular.

Things finally reached a head the last week of February. My random spasm was no longer random, it was constant. It was tender to the touch, as was just about the rest of my body. But, not wanting to be a drama queen, I didn't mention ANY of this to the midwife. I also wasn't comfortable talking about it with her, I don't know why I just didn't fully trust her. If it had been Sarah I think I would have... Either way, its done.

On March 7th (Tuesday) poor Jonathan came home to a wreck. The kids were arguing and throwing things at each other. No dinner was on the table. And I was so overwhelmed with the pain, fatigue, a migraine, and hormones I was in a corner sobbing. That was when it was finally said: "THIS is not normal. You need help." He was right. Aches are normal in late pregnancy, but severe, debilitating pain is not.

The next day (Wednesday) I stayed on the couch, I tried to rest, every time I moved I winced. I was scheduled to meet with a dr at my practice the next day. The goal was to have her assess me and then prescribe some pain killers that would actually work so I could clean my dang house before Emma got into town. Jonathan got kids settled for bed and suggested we watch a movie. As the movie started I had the thought "You should pack an overnight bag for the kids. Just in case." It nagged at me for a bit before I finally decided that no, I didn't need to do that. I'd get my pain killers, get comfortable, Emma would get in town, and then sometime the next week I'd have the baby. I enjoyed the movie (Dr. Strange).

Thursday morning I woke up in so much pain. The kids quietly went about their morning routine and got off to school without any complaint. I sat down ready to go back to bed at 9:00 a.m. and was very grateful that I had an hour before I needed to get myself and Peter down to the car and head out for my dr appt. I again had the thought that I should pack an overnight bag for the kids, just in case. Again, I dismissed it because I just knew I didn't need it. I instead took a leisurely shower (hot water helped with joint and back pain) and got dressed. As Peter and I were heading out the door I glanced at my hospital bag, mostly packed, and had the thought "You should bring that, just in case." I decided it wouldn't be worth the pain to carry out because I wasn't having the baby until the next week. St. Patrick's Day, that's what we were aiming for, right?? Ha. haha. heh.

So I get to my appointment, I try not to move to much. At this point I'm trying not to breathe too deeply because it is killing me. Peter watches a movie on my phone, and I finally get called back to a room. In a rush I explain to the nurse what is going on, crying the whole time, and I say "I just want some pain killers that will work so I can function." She takes my blood pressure and comments, "Well that's a little high." I think, no DUH! I'm in pain, no kidding it is high. The doctor comes in and I explain what's going on all over again. She takes my blood pressure. And then she says, "Before I give you pain medication I'd like you to go to the hospital and be monitored for a bit, just watch that blood pressure for a while." I'm so tired I can't argue. I got checked out and drove around the corner to the hospital.

On the drive over I call a friend who rearranges her entire day to come get Peter. I called Jonathan just to keep him updated. When he asked if he needed to come to the hospital I said no. "They are just going to monitor my blood pressure for a bit and then send me home. No biggie, stay at work." When my friend got to the hospital to get Peter I told her that I'd drive by and pick him up on my way home from the hospital. She looked skeptical, but I assured her that nothing was happening and I'd be headed home with my pain meds soon.

Well, I got situated in the room, hooked up to every wire and contraption and monitor ever, and then had my blood pressure read every 30 minutes. Baby was a stinker, and had so much fluid around her she kept swimming away from the monitors. Unfortunately because of the pressure concerns baby HAD to be monitored constantly. Lots of plans were discussed, I asked for medication again and again, but they really wanted to know why my side was hurting so badly. After a round of IV fluids they were able to get their answer: my liver had had enough of being pregnant and was starting to act out. The pain I'd been feeling for a month and a half was my liver warning me that it didn't like what it was being required to do and it was quitting. (If it wasn't my placenta with Peter, it was my liver with this baby. Geez.) I was originally under the impression that my urine tests had come back fine, but after the IV fluids settled apparently they were finding proteins in my urine. At that point they came to me with a solid plan: One more high blood pressure reading and they were going to induce. If it was normal I'd go home. I waited the extra 20 minutes, and the next reading was 160/78. With that I was done. I was formally admitted as a laboring mom and they started talking methods of induction. At that point I called Jonathan and told him he'd better get an overnight bag together for the kids, I was going to be induced. Oh, and could he please throw a couple more things in my hospital bag and bring it? Thanks, honey.

Funny enough, I'd been texting people this whole time, Emma included, but didn't tell them I was in the hospital. I figured there was no point, I'd be going home. Ha. haha. heh.

So on the evening of the 9th they started the induction. As I was not dilated AT ALL they didn't do pitocin, but started something else that would kickstart things. I dozed through the first two doses, uncomfortably strapped to a million machines, and finally got something for pain around 3 a.m. At 6:00 I asked for the epidural. I was a 4, and terribly uncomfortable because I couldn't be unhooked from anything longer than a bathroom trip, and the baby kept moving away from the monitors and the nurses had to come in every few minutes and readjust. I was so tired, and mad and scared and in pain. So the epidural was a sweet relief. About 9:00 the dr decided to break my water because I just wasn't progressing like I should and they couldn't keep the monitor on the baby. That intensified things instantly, and even with the epidural I was blowing through contractions, concentrating as much as I could on relaxing and focusing on letting my body do what it needed to. I got one extra boost of the epidural when I was an 8. And then at 10:45 Jonathan said, "I'm hungry, I'm going to just run down to the cafeteria to grab some breakfast." I told him NOPE! He wasn't going anywhere. I told the nurse I was feeling lots of pressure, and a few minutes later I was told it was time to have a baby. Elizabeth Anne was born at 10:54 a.m., 8 lbs and 19.5 inches long.

Within four hours of birth she was transferred to the Special Care nursery, and she spent an intense week at the hospital trying to get her blood sugar under control. It was rough. I've never done so much walking the same day I gave birth, but I had to do it. And I didn't stop. I spent two days back and forth from my room to the nursery, spending every moment I could with Elizabeth, and then the rest of the next week making the trek between the hospital and home a couple times each day. It wasn't fun. And that experience is a whole other post, maybe I'll write it out someday.

So lessons learned from this whole experience:

1. Do NOT ignore your body. It WILL tell you when something isn't right, and things will get way worse if you don't listen.

2. Ask for help. I have lots of friends that are like family, they were always asking what they could do to help. I should have asked for more help.

3. Miracles are real, and blessings provide relief and peace.

4. Nurses know what the best hand lotions are. Aveeno is very popular, and for good reason. ;)

I'm glad I'm on the other side of this entire ordeal. It is crazy to me that this all happened seven weeks ago... I'm still recovering. My liver is still angry with me, and I need to treat it nicely for a long while. No smoking, no drinking. (ha)  At my six-week postpartum check up my midwife and dr asked why I hadn't said anything about the pain I was in. I told them I didn't want to be whiny and complain. So instead I didn't pay attention to a liver that was falling down on the job and allowed myself to get really sick. Its really stupid. In my attempt to handle discomfort with grace I turned the entire situation into a mess. I'm just grateful it wasn't worse. I'm glad I spoke up when I did. It could have been so much worse. And I obviously don't know what "grace" actually is. *eye roll*

And now I do the postpartum dance with emotions and hormones and crazy. I cuddle with my new little girl, an adorable little thing (seriously little! She still doesn't weigh as much as Andrea did at birth!!) with so much hair! And I mourn the loss of my dream birth, something that I'll never have. I blew my last shot and now I'm sad about it all. And then I'm just so glad I'm not pregnant any more, and so glad I don't have to do that again. That was so painful. SO painful. All of it. And it took its toll on my entire family in some really negative ways. Those poor big kids of mine, they really stepped up and helped out. But they also did a lot of wall-building and coping that wasn't healthy for them or good for us as a family. And it is going to take a lot of time for some of that to heal.

So I'm just grateful that things have slowed down some. The constant flow of visitors has ebbed, and we are able to quietly go back to our routine and norm, this time with Elizabeth. Life is good, and its getting better all the time.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

The Final Countdown

I'm 34 weeks right now. According to my history that means I've got another 3-4 weeks before we welcome Miss Little Bit to our home. It is doubly weird for me because I still feel like I'm barely pregnant. It has gone really, REALLY fast. 

A couple weeks ago a bunch of ladies gathered together to throw a shower for me and another mom. I really wasn't sure I wanted to have one, fourth baby and all, but this ward loves new babies and loves to throw parties for new babies. So we got diapers. Tons and tons of diapers! I'm going to guess I won't need to buy diapers until August. I hope I'm right.

And then a friend (my library guru friend) is also a photographer trying to build her portfolio. She asked if I would mind being her guinea pig for a maternity/newborn/milestones package. Would I??? I've never done maternity pictures before, it was a fun new experience. Here's a sneak peak of a few of the pictures...

I can't wait to see the rest. :)

My to-do list has shrunken some...

- I have an infant car seat arriving via Amazon early next week
- I have an AWESOME stroller (thanks, Mom & Dad!) that I am taking for a real test-drive on Monday at the zoo
- Fixed my Baggallini bag, which was a much easier fix than I'd expected
- Made four sheets for my beautiful, antique cradle (which I discovered was made sometime around 1926!)

So all that's left:

- Wash remaining baby clothes
- Pack a hospital bag
- Finish the quilt
- Freezer meal prep

Of course I have other to-dos. I would love for my house to be scrubbed spotless. I would love to take a scrubby to the back of a seat in the car that Peter somehow managed to doodle all over (WHY????).  I would love to get Andrea's spring church dress and the boys' spring church clothes together and ready for Easter. And while doing all of this I'm helping Jonathan with his guard responsibilities (we did flashcards while running errands today) and I'm keeping everyone on task and on schedule. It is a good life. Tiring, especially right now, but so so good.

Speaking of tiring, Jonathan and I got to the temple last night. Probably the last time we will go before Little Bit arrives because I don't do well with a lot of movement, and I totally started having really nasty Braxton Hicks contractions. I had a few "Are you okay???" questions from very anxious looking temple workers that probably thought I was going to have a baby right there. And there I'd thought I was doing well not getting distracted or being distracting.... I didn't have time to explain that I have a few weeks to go before the real-deal and they didn't need to worry. Apparently it is a concern, though, because I randomly saw an article this morning about women who gave birth in temples followed up by lots of comments from temple workers that BEGGED women to NOT try to have their babies in temple as apparently it causes quite a lot of work and headache for the custodians... Haha! No worries! I am very excited to have my baby at the hospital, thankyouverymuch. ;)

Friday, January 13, 2017

This week

I don't think I take nearly enough pictures during the week. What pictures I do take end up on Instagram. Oh well.

This week has mostly consisted of our usual routine: the kids go to school, the kids come home from school, we lather, rinse, repeat.

Andrea was supposed to have some extensive dental work done this week but the goofy gas system was down at the dentist, so they called twice to reschedule and finally put her at the top of the ASAP waiting list. We will probably get a call next week and I'm hoping she gets in early the following. She has five cavities that need fixing and one tooth that will more than likely be extracted. After that I get to meet with an orthodontist and work up a plan, then call insurance and make a case for her braces to be covered because she has teeth coming up in rows BEHIND her teeth due to crowding issues and they are causing significant, medical damage to her mouth. So THERE.

David is working on scouts stuff and his Duty to God requirements. He's a Jr. Webelos. Things get real this year. He has been planning out his Pinewood Derby car for this year, too. He wants to go for the Turtle Award. He went for it last year and came in second. He just might do it this year. We shall see. I'm a little concerned because check-in is the 17th of March, the race is the 18th. Also those days are some St. Patrick's day performances with Andrea's dance. So those are the busiest days of the month and more than likely, because we are so busy, will be the days Little Bit decides to arrive. Lucky for me my sister is coming out that week, sacrificing the fun she could be having over Spring Break, and coming to spend it with me. I am unbelievably grateful that she would do this. We will probably put her to work more than she knows!

Peter got a haircut today. I realized that, while I love the curls he gets when his hair grows out some, most of his hair looked like Hermione the rat had created a nest in it. I asked if he would be willing to let me cut it when we got home from shopping. He said, "Um..... sure!" and then changed his mind when we got home. That was fine. He threw himself into a chair at the top of the stairs and tried to throw a fit, I just told him to come get me when he was ready for his haircut. Twenty minutes later he came to me and said, "I'm ready." And he got his trim. He looks like a very presentable little boy now.

I had an appointment at the OB's office today. I am currently seeing the midwives. I love the level of care I get there. They are very attentive and kind and helpful. They have a birth center that I'd love to use when its time, however I just have a feeling that's not going to happen. We will see how things play out.

Anyway, Little Bit is doing very well. She's measuring big for her gestational age by a week, however that's just length because weight-wise she is in the 51st percentile. That's significant to me because all of my other kids have been in the 80-90th percentile by this point. She also was head down. Yay! Hopefully she stays that way. Heartbeat was good, 154, and her heart and face looked perfect (we had an ultrasound to check those things specifically, they were missed the first time around). She likes to have her hands up by her face which totally correlates with the movements I feel most often. Her long little feet were tucked up nicely next to my ribs, but I've got a built in cushion at the moment because my placenta (which looks strong and healthy this time around) is blocking her feet.

I took the initial glucose screening test. The results are supposed to take a few days, and I didn't hear from them today so I hope that means I'm all clear. I'll call Monday to confirm. I did, however, get a call about my CBC. Apparently my iron levels are really low. The midwives wanted me on a liquid iron supplement. Turns out the stuff tastes delicious and has a ton of B-vitamins as well. That's good. I've lost more weight, no one seems terribly concerned about that. So I won't be terribly concerned.

Jonathan is studying for the bar and he is Platoon Leader this next month at drill. He's very busy preparing for both events. He's also very tired all the time because of it. At least he's sleeping.

I'm adding more to my list of things we need for baby. I read a funny "list" the other day: How to Know You are Done Having Kids. I had done EVERYTHING on that list. I kept very few baby clothes, have no furniture whatsoever, and need just about everything. Of course my excuse is not so much that I was done but that I had no room to store such things. Still. Fun times. I need burp rags and bottles. It is the little things that I'm noticing now that I don't have. I've got time.

In the mean time I've started nesting. It is making me want to rearrange the furniture and redecorate the space. After I've had a nap. Or two. ;)

Friday, January 6, 2017


To do:
- Change to the winter sheets. It is 6° outside, it is about dang time we had the flannels on the beds.
- Pull kids' short-sleeved shirts out of their closet. And the shorts out of their drawers. It is 6° outside, it is about dang time they were packed away so Peter would stop trying to wear them every morning. Yeesh.
- Have the kids clean the rat cage. And the litterbox. There will be much grumping and groaning. Use it as a reminder of why we will never get any more pets. Just say NO!
- Make dinner using leftover brisket. Can I make Mongolian beef with brisket?? I hope so! Cravings... they are a real thing.
-Fold the laundry. Thank husband for washing and hanging clothes by folding laundry. Can be done any time over the next few days while he is at drill, but just remember that the laundry is a never-ending cycle and if you wait your living room will turn into the closet. Just get it done.

Baby prep: Because 10 weeks is not enough time!
- Need an infant car seat.
- Need a stroller. Do they make them smaller since the last time I got a stroller? I have no room to store a stroller, and yet... The dream is an Orbit, but the sticker shock on those puppies.... yikes! I'll certainly settle, but I need something small and compact that won't take up my hallway...
- Research small, compact stroller and infant car seat combos with a reasonable price tag.
- Finish quilt
- What do I put in a hospital bag??
- Freezer meals! Who likes chopping veggies? I'll take all the help I can get!
- Swaddle blankets - Check! My in-laws gave me an Amazon gift card for Christmas! Yay!
- Clothes - for 0-3 month, Check! We'll play the rest of her life by ear. Haha!
- Fix my Baggallini. Poor thing. I wore it out after Peter, the strap needs to be reattached. Easy fix!
- Make (or find) a few sheets to fit in the cradle. (Have you seen my beautiful, antique cradle?? I love it!)

Done this week:
- Renewed the tags for my plates on the suburban. That was a hefty blow. Michigan is really expensive! They have roads to maintain, so the 20% price hike in vehicle registration and the extra almost 10 cents in gas tax/gallon had better make some pretty roads!
- Oh, cars.... Funny (or not) story... We were driving home from the church (I think) when a loud, inconsistent thumping started ringing out from under my seat. Jonathan (driving) pulled over and we tried to figure out what was the deal. It sounded like a soda can was rattling around in the engine block, but when we slowed down it stopped. We heard it a few days later and finally managed to find the problem. A metal piece of something that was welded along one of the long lines of the car as a cover had come off. Rust had eaten through the welding and knocked it loose. Michigan is NOT kind to cars. Snow, ice, and road salt is NOT kind to cars. This all despite the fact that I get the car cleaned pretty regularly to avoid rusting problems.
- We finally got Jonathan's car fixed. The bearing we had replaced last year was bad. Fortunately the part was under warranty, so the shop fixed it for free. I love this mechanic! He, his mother, and his wife run a good, honest shop.
- I got a watch. My parents sent birthday $$, so I got a fun watch. I'm saving the rest for my trip to Texas in two weeks.
- Speaking of trip, I got flat shoes to go with my dress I'm wearing to the wedding. My poor feet... I've been wearing one pair of shoes since about October. Slip on Crocs. Not the sandal kind of crocs, they're actually pretty nice and you wouldn't know they were made out of foam. But after months of wearing nothing but that I knew I needed something nicer for church and for Chandler's wedding.

I'm trying to think of anything else, but at this point I feel like I'm rambling. So I'll just end there and throw in some pictures of the kids from when we went to the fire station with the scouts:

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

New Year

So I stopped blogging for a while. For one the app quit working on my phone. I find it terribly inconvenient to have to upload photos from my phone to the computer and then to the blog. I'm lazy I guess. And it is totally a first world problem. And then I started back to school, and the time it took to blog was just not high on the priority list. Especially when morning sickness decided I hadn't experienced enough of it with the last three pregnancies and wanted to make me absolutely bedridden for about three months. Yes, that was fun.

Yes, Little Bit caused quite the stir in my poor stomach. But I finally got over that by Halloween, and I've been fairly okay since.

A few days ago Jonathan got onto the blog and started clicking through old posts. The kids sat around laughing at old pictures and videos for a really long time. After they were in bed he commented on how much they enjoyed reading our personal family history and seeing all of those old pictures... It got me thinking. My journal this last year was pretty bare, too. There are a lot of things I know happened, but very few that I remember. That's part of the reason I keep this blog, so I can go back and remember things that have happened. So the kids know what life was like for them when they were little, because I certainly have a hard time recalling details sometimes. So for the record, I'm going to be a little better. Maybe not daily blogs, but I'll try. The kids will want to know what they did, what they said, and what they looked like. Someday this will be important to them, even if it wasn't much of a priority for me for a while.