Friday, August 23, 2013

Ice House 2013

Ice House was wonderful this year. I love that we are only 25 minutes away. We stayed for 2 nights and had perfect weather.
Sunscreen nose.


Good thing we brought the floaties.

Contest to see who will get in first.


Eating some snacks and dirt.


Handsome man with a beautiful backdrop.

Cheese from my pretty girl!

Jacob was all about the fishing.  When I took this picture he said, "I'm concentrating too much to smile."

Ankles!  So glad I have them!

Me and my honey.

Puppy, dirt, and a wagon.  A boy couldn't get any happier.

Breakfast on the morning we left.

Jacob's all-about-me collage.  He worked on it all week and it represents his interests: skateboarding, bikes, monster trucks, and baseball.  I tried to get him to include some of his favorite foods but he wasn't interested; seemed to want to stick to the sports theme.

San Francisco

It took us 2 1/2 hrs. to find a parking garage that was not full but we had a fun family day in S.F.  The drive down is always half the fun to me, especially on a beautiful day such as it was.
Pier 45

Eating an early dinner at Franciscan Crab Restaurant. 

Freezing on the beach across from Ghirardelli Square.

Dessert at Ghirardelli Square, a tradition.  All the kids get to pick out a favorite chocolate bar.

Six Flags

We had to take advantage of our season passes and make two trips to Six Flags, this time with Daddy.  It was one of our last summer hoorahs.
Anthony had a great time at Shark Experience and was screamin' excited.

This large walrus was a trip.

The tiger show.


This is a cool picture of Jacob riding his bike, which he likes to do a lot of lately.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

First Day of School

The kids on their first day of school; Jacob-4th, Noah- 2nd, Kaitlyn-kindergarten.  They were all ready bright and early and continue to do so.  Everyone had a little bit of a nervous look on their face but I was able to get them all settled into their classes (with pictures to boot!)  They are going to have a great year.  I love their small school in a mountain setting.  It's a wonderful community here.


My Kaitlyn started Kindergarten!  I took her to the Kindergarten Round-Up where she was able to meet her teacher, explore her classroom, ride the bus, and meet new friends.  I think this helped to dispel her nerves before the actual first day.  Mrs. Simpson is very nice and personable, one of 13 kids, and has a down-to-earth way about her that Kaitlyn seems to mesh well with.  I love this little girl and it was definitely hard sending her off on her first day.  She is also riding the bus which is a big change.  At the same time, I am very happy for her as she is learning much already and making great friends.  She comes home satisfied and enriched, and eats dinner like never before!  I guess Kindergarten works up an appetite. ;) 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Ashlee's First Day of High School

Today was Ashlee's first day of high school- freshman year!  She was so cool and collected I could hardly believe it.  I think I carried more nerves. ;)  She looked beautiful as always and kept a smiling face.  It is hard to believe that when she gets to the other side of these 4 years she will be dating, driving, working, and a legal adult.  Crazy times ahead.  I just have to keep telling myself she has a good foundation, and is blessed with the gospel, a good head on her shoulders, and her friends in the church.  She is ambitious about all of her classes and is going to excel.  I just know it.  She is especially excited about dance and to have Ms. Hancock (Wendy) as her teacher.  Go get 'em cougar.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Lessons Learned From a Cesarean Scar

So many times since my birth I've heard, "I know you really didn't want to have a c-section..."  I realize I have portrayed myself hugely as a natural birth advocate, which I am, and wonder why I don't find myself disappointed.  In pondering this thought, I have come up with a few things I would like to share.  I know many women suffer from "birth trauma," including but not limited to those who have required a cesarean section, taken medication when they planned to go without, had a longer than anticipated labor or duration of pushing stage, intervention, and a host of other unforseen events in their labors and births.  Sometimes these women require post-birth counseling and "unpacking" of the events leading up to their birth in order to process what happened and move forward in life.  Some mothers feel that their birth trauma or unfulfilled expectation inhibits their ability to be a good parent or bond with their child.  I feel for these women, I truly do.  I do not doubt for one minute that holding onto something in the past and being unable to process it can keep us from moving forward.  These women deserve to be freed.  However, in light of my recent c-section, I did not find myself one of them, and I would like to share why.

There are only two things I can think of that would cause me to have birth regret, and they are (1) if I did not feel I was making an informed decision, and (2) if I felt something was being taken from me.  Fortunately none of the former applied to my situation.  I would like to take that in how it applies to moving forward.  As difficult as an experience may be, as unfulfilled as our expectations may seem, and as different a path we may take, I would like to suggest every woman put faith in the fact that which ever way her birth went, it happened for a reason.  The reason why I have been able to have 8 very different births and no regrets is because I look at each one as a learning opportunity.  From my first time giving birth at age 18 with every intervention imaginable imposed upon my "natural" hospital birth, I have been able to draw from it and move forward, applying lessons learned to my next birth.  In Lionel's birth, I followed my instincts.  There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that that little boy needed to come by c-section and I knew it with the very first contraction after his brother was out.  I am grateful for instincts that scream at me, "Something is not right," and that I was able to heed and respond.  As women, we should all be grateful for our instincts.  They are God-given.  Listen to them, they are there for a reason (I will also use this to put in a plug for un-medicated birth insomuch that we are able to be in-tune with our bodies.)

There is wisdom in the Universe, and there is wisdom in the timing, particularly when it comes to labor and birth.  Rarely do I see an induced birth that goes better, or is better for baby, than a labor that is left to begin on its own.  Always trust in the timing and your body's innate knowledge.  Your body knows best, and babies do come out!  Often times it is just a few extra days or weeks that are needed.  Allow it.

I don't know that my body will ever be the same as it was before.  The recovery is totally different, and despite all the weight loss my abdomen continues to remain somewhat misshapen.  I don't know how I will be okay with that, but I know I will.  It's vanity that gets in the way.  If I look at it solely as a stomach that yearns to be flat, I will probably feel remorse.  However, if I remember to view it as the portal which brought Liam and Lionel here safely, with just a little more droop on the left to accommodate Liam in all of his 8lbs. 2oz., I will admire it with more respect.  My body tells a story, their story.

Like all of us, I have faith that my experience will be sanctified for the greater good.  I am changed, my outlook is changed, and I believe with all my heart that this experience will serve not only myself but other women for good.  I am grateful that in an area where I was once naive, I have gained compassion.  The Lord knew that before I was to be sent off into the world as a birth professional I would need this experience to draw me through the refiner's fire.  Let it refine me.  If we humble ourselves and keep a soft heart I believe all of us can find the sacred in our trials.

So, I will not hide it.  I will not belt it, band it, girdle it, compress it, and I will not regret it.  I will show it and be grateful.  Grateful that there are two little boys here and I was their guardian angel.