Monday, May 31, 2010

New Family Pics

Thank you Gloria!







"Dad, Stop Chooing"

Last night after dinner we went to the temple grounds to enjoy the weather and play on the grass. Since the beginning of the temple construction, we have tried to make it a tradition to take our kids there frequently to walk the grounds, have picnic dinners, and just plain enjoy the beauty and spirit of it. They love it.

As we were getting the kids ready for bed, I looked over and saw Jacob take out a piece of paper and fervently begin writing a letter. I peeked over his shoulder and saw a letter to Dad asking him to "Please stop chooing."

I love the moments when our kids are our best teachers.





Cousins

My sister-in-law, Kimberly, was a contributor to the recent baby boom (shortly after I found out I was pregnant, there were about 10 other pregnancies announced within weeks.) This past weekend, we were privileged to meet her precious new baby. Bradley is her first, and she has taken to motherhood with grace and confidence. She is a very good mama, and we are so happy for her new family.
(Bradley and Rachel at 7 weeks and 13 weeks, respectively.)

Although they are only 6 weeks apart, Rachel appears a giant next to him. Bradley came 5 weeks early, so his gestational age is 2 weeks. That could account for a portion of the size difference.
Rachel so desperately wanted to interact with him. Bradley was falling asleep while Rachel was cooing, so she kept leaning into him to get his attention. She couldn't get close enough!
The beautiful new mama:

Congratulations Scott and Kim!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Where My Boys Are

This was the picture I received from Forrest's phone this morning: my boys in front of the Oakland temple.
Apparently it was gorgeous. I don't doubt it, I love the view from the Oakland temple. What I love even more is that we have our Daddy back for good!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Soooo Tired

Apparently the toothfairy has been slackin' on the job. Jacob has now had the same tooth under his pillow for two nights. He woke up this morning, disappointed to see it still there, came in my room and asked, "Mom, do you think the toothfairy could've gotten eaten by a cat or dog?"

"No, honey, I think she flies pretty fast. I don't know why she didn't come again, but I'm sure she'll come tonight. She's probably just been busy collecting a lot of teeth." (Or maybe she's so tired at the end of her busy day it's all she can do to drag herself from her kids' rooms to her own and she's half asleep before her head even hits the pillow... I don't know.)

"Mom, when you see the toothfairy are you going to kick her butt?"

"No, but I'll tell her she's fired and demand a replacement."

(sorry Jacob.)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

S.P.O.I.L.E.D.

I have fond memories of my dad taking me clothes shopping as a little girl. He always had champagne taste, taking us to stores like Macy's and Nordstrom. With my dad, there's no "shopping," only splurging.

Fast-forward to grandkids. This package of Justice apparel recently arrived for Ashlee. (Justice is the new gold standard in girls' clothing.) Dad, I see you haven't lost your champagne taste!

She loves them. I think I've seen her wearing at least one piece of clothing from the package every day since they arrived. Thanks Dad! You're the best.



She wears them well.

A New Woman

A couple of years ago I was at a Mom's Club event with my children. Kaitlyn was a baby at the time. A lady came up to me and asked, "How old is your baby?"

"Three months," I responded.

I'll never forget what she then said to me: "I'll bet you feel like a New Woman!" According to her, three months was the magic age.

Today marks 12 weeks for Rachel, and I am left wondering, do I feel like a New Woman?

On some days, yes. I, too, believe that the end of what the midwives coin the "fourth trimester" brings about remarkable changes for both mom and baby. Take, for example, the eight hours she slept the other night. Or the fact that she is now able to be entertained by sights, siblings, and toys such as the one below. She has more than doubled her birth weight, making for a much more sustainable baby. It is with bittersweet emotion that I proclaim, this girl is growing up fast! And yes, it's true what they say, each one grows faster. Just don't grow out of my arms too fast Rachel. We kind of like you the way you are.


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Marble Valley Piano Recital

Ashlee was invited to perform at Marble Valley's music recital this year. To those of you who are unaware, Marble Valley is a (somewhat prestigious) private school owned by some members of our church, and we were honored to be in their attendance. This was Ashlee's first recital since she's been with her new music teacher, and we are so happy with the progress she's made.

It just so worked out that she was able to have her hair done in a fancy up-do by one of the sisters from the ward last night for Activity Day. She came home looking like she was ready for prom! She slept very carefully so as not to mess it up.I think we counted over 30 bobby pins in all.
The recital was held at the Green Valley chapel on a very beautiful evening.
Here she is post-performance with her instructor, Jennifer.
I was impressed by the sheer amount of talent from these young students and the variety of instruments that were played, including a guitar, a flute, and a cello. Ashlee played her Canon in D Major beautifully. video

Good News

Rachel had an appointment with the Cardiologist this morning. Her echocardiogram revealed that the pressure in the right side of her heart has dropped, indicating that the pulmonary valve is opening up on its own. This is the good news we were hoping for. She will be seen again around the 9 month mark for another echo, at which time the doctor suspects the pressure will have dropped even more, taking her out of the category of being a surgery candidate. We are thankful for all the prayers and positive thoughts being sent her way, and do not doubt the role faith has played in this.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

No Bake Double Good Dessert

This is our contribution to Sunday dinner tonight. An unlikely combination of ingredients, but delicious nonetheless. It is sooooo good on a hot day, straight from the freezer. Find it on Allrecipes.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Slow and Steady FINISHES the Race

Distance: 3.1 miles (5k)
My time: 34:27

My mindset for this race was slow and steady. I had two goals: to run the entire time, and to come in with the top 50% of runners, and I did both! Hooray for nice weather and a shady trail. I was almost wishing I would've registered for the 10k with the conditions being as nice as they were.

It was fun running into familiar faces along the way; the guy from Trader Joe's, old schoolmates, and a couple of friends from church. What I love most about these runs is being surrounded by like-minded people who find the same joy in running as I do. The looks of joy and will-power on their faces, mixed with a little bit of suffering, are a telltale sign of their sheer determination to do their personal best. It's exhillarating for me to watch them cross the finish line. However, as I looked up to see the first 10k runner come in with a time of 36 minutes, I was left wondering, "Is that guy human??" I mean, who maintains that speed for 6 miles? He was truly a machine. The other surprise was the 9-year-old girl who finished the 10k in 59 minutes. (Holy shoot! I've been smoked by a 9-year-old.) Ashlee did the 1/2 mile youth run and came in with the top 20%.

My proud supporter. Thank you honey for being there to ever-so-patiently corral the kids. I couldn't do these runs without you.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Babywise

This gem is too good not to share. I first came across this book when Ashlee was an infant, and have since coined it my "baby bible." I know of several friends and family members who swear by its technique, and we are no exception. The proof is in the puddin'- all of my babies have slept through the night and maintain healthy sleep habits as older children. After Ashlee, I have adapted a modified approach that involves less crying, and have generally found that by simply following the eat-wake-sleep cycle, my babies begin sleeping through the night on their own with very little crying. Today is day 1 for Rachel, and so far she has followed the schedule to a 'T', nursing every 2 1/2 hours and taking her naps in between. Thank you Babywise! A good night's sleep is a gift to the whole family.

We Have Kittens!

The kids were outside on the back patio this afternoon when one of them said, "Mom, Lily is peeing on herself." I went outside to examine, and she was lying on her side with a small puddle between her legs.

"That's not pee," I said, "Lily is about to have her kittens."

She got up and came in the house, and I followed, ready to play midwife. I tried coaxing her into the box we had set up for her, but to no avail. No sooner had I turned around to grab some towels than she had disappeared into a dark corner in our closet. I could see that she was contracting and her little body was bearing down. She began to pant, then she leaped over us and into the doorway in what I categorize as the "fight or flight" response. Just a moment later her first kitten was delivered. Here she is cleaning it off.
She's a good mama, very instinctual.
This scrawny little guy was walking around looking for some milk already, I couldn't believe it!
Very protective.
I can't believe this was just inside of her.
After a good cleaning, she took the first one back into the closet, and I sent the kids outside to play. About 20 minutes later, she came out of the closet, meowing and a little panicked. I sat calmly on the bedroom floor, waiting for the process to repeat itself. She came up to me and sprawled out on the floor, looking for reprieve. I gently petted her head, and one long "meeeooooow" followed by a gush brought about kitty #2. This guy was a brilliant orange.
We think this one is the cutest.
He was looking for milk right away, too.
All in all, she had 5 (I think.) After the second one she retreated to the closet to deliver the rest (with much less of a production.)
I am so glad we were home to partake in this neat experience.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Coming Soon...

This pretty little kitty of ours is going to have some babies of her own!
Lily is just over one year old, and as of recently it has become apparent that she is pregnant! We are so excited. It was always my plan to let her have one liter of kitties. I think it will be a good experience for the kids to witness.

We have all had the opportunity to place our hands on her tummy and feel the little kittens moving around, even being able to distinguish little paws from heads and other kitty parts. It is quite amazing.

We will be giving her kittens away, so if you think you would like one for your family please let me know.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Switch-A-Roo

Circumstances have necessitated that we make some changes in our sleeping arrangements, so today was the day for the switch. I am sad to say that Rachel did not get any use out of the bassinet I had set up for her in my room, which has now been replaced by a crib. With Forrest being out of town, she has been in bed with me, and at the rate she is growing has darn near outgrown the thing anyways. However, having her in bed with me has not been working out well the past couple of nights because when she starts squirming and grunting I automatically nurse her, when what she really needs is just more space (I know this because when I get out of bed or scoot her over, she falls right back to sleep.) She started sleeping 4-5 hour stretches quite some time ago, and the other night she even did 6, so I figure this is my window of opportunity to move her into the crib before I start INTERRUPTING those good sleep habits. Soooooo, guess who's in a Big Girl bed now??


(Looks happy, doesn't she?)
And I can't say this little bug minded the switch either.

Here's to a good night's sleep.

Ashlee's Crochet

Apparently Ashlee has been inspired by Aunt Roxanne and is now taking orders for crocheted hats and headbands. I am truly impressed by this girl's talent.Modeling one of her first creations:

I love the colors of this one she made for Rachel:


Demonstrating the formation of the top of a hat:

She is able to crochet a hat in just a couple of hours, and is having so much fun coming up with new designs. I had to take her to Michael's last week to pick up some new yarn. Like with the discovery of any new talent, this is all-encompassing for her right now. I am thankful that her homeschooling allows her to do such.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Surviving Our Greatest Blessings

Do you ever feel like your blessings become trials?

Life seems so busy, I'm afraid that if I slow down I'll get run over.

Sometimes I feel inadequate to be doing the job I've been given.

At the end of each day, no matter how exhausted I may be (which is VERY lately) I am filled with a determination to do better the next day.

Despite the fact that I make (many) mistakes on any given day, I can only hope that I am moving (inching, maybe?) in the right direction.

No matter how hard the day, children always go to sleep at night. Always take the time to peek in on them and be reminded that they ARE angels.

I have realized that it is possible to cry tears of gratitude, grief and despair all at the same time (usually when all I really need is a good night's sleep.)

Kind of like labor, no matter how much you build yourself up for it or try to talk yourself around it, you eventually have to go THROUGH it. (This applies to the postpartum period, raising children, or any other challenge we are called to go through.)

And thankfully, the sun always rises.



Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Is This What a Family Bed Looks Like?

Although I may not sleep as well on these nights, it gives me something sweet to wake up to. I consider it a treat!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Beware the Lizard

So we're eating dinner tonight when we look up and notice that our cat, Alex, has found something in the backyard and is playing with it in the grass. He has been catching many baby animals lately, which my kids have been successful at rescuing and returning to their homes, so out of concern Noah ran outside to see what it was that he had found this time. As I watch from a distance, Noah bends down to retrieve the creature, then shoots back up, yelling in horror, with this guy firmly attached to his hand:
He shakes him free as I run out back to see what in the world just attacked my son. As I approach the edge of the grass, this lizard comes CHARGING at me! No joke, he literally runs towards my feet, full throttle, mouth wide open. I jump back then look over at Noah and see that his hand has a cut on it and is bleeding. All the kids surround the grass, wondering what this guy's next move will be. Meanwhile, he stands his ground. I tell the kids to bring the cat in the house. As Ashlee advances towards him, he opens his mouth and bares his teeth as if he were hissing at her. By this point it's getting pretty entertaining, and frankly I'm quite peeved at the little guy for making such a scene, so I say, "Shoot, let the cat back out." Alex comes running out the back door and cautiously approaches him, then, to all of our surprise, the lizard JUMPS onto the cat's back and BITES him in the back of the neck! You've never seen a lizard like this. The excitement continued for about another ten minutes before I told the kids to back off and let the little guy go back to where he came from. All the while, this guy never let his guard down. I think Noah will think twice before ever "rescuing" another lizard again!