Tuesday, January 29, 2013


I don't even remember how it came up, but for a while this evening's conversation turned into a load of questions comparing the kids' births.

Carolyn asked me recently if it hurts when you have a baby, and I told her it does, but the doctor can give you some medicine to help that if you need it.  I told her I had had that medicine (that wonderful, beautiful epidural) with each of them, but for some reason, when she was being born it started to work and then stopped.  It was the only time with any of the kids that I ever asked for more, and the more didn't do anything either.

So tonight, when someone asked which baby was the hardest to have, Carolyn was quick to declare herself that baby.

Then more questions came.

Who took the longest?  Without looking, I think that was Sammy.  We had recently graduated, our insurance was ending, and the doc agreed to start him a week early while we had insurance.  I guess my body just wasn't quite ready, because it seems like he actually took longer than Adam (who took about 12 hours from the time we got to the hospital, see below).

It was pointed out that Adam was the only one that didn't need the doctor to break my water since my water broke and that's why we headed to the hospital.  And walked the hallway.  And walked the hallway.  And walked the hallway.  And labor kept stopping.  So they hooked me up to pitocin and got him there.  We actually made the doctor come to us for our appointment.  We had one set the next morning, and Adam arrived about the same time as our appointment.  At least we didn't put him too far off schedule.

Who took the shortest?  The girls were all pretty close to the same.  With each of them, by the end my doc was watching my water really closely because about a month before their due date it would get really low, so then she had me drinking "till you live in the bathroom."  By about a week before their due date she decided to get them here while we knew they were safe, and the schedule was about the same for each.  Be at the hospital at something like 6:30am (maybe it was 6am, need to look up my facts), started shortly after, and my girlies all arrived between about 12:30pm and 1:30pm.

(Now this is turning into random memories.)  :)

The boys were delivered by the same doctor at the same hospital, and all the girls were delivered by the same doctor at the same hospital.

When Melanie was born, we had some friends having a baby at the same hospital at the same time (someone Jamie worked with), so the two dads would meet in the hallway once in a while to check on each other.  If I remember right, we won.  Before we left we went to hang out with them for a bit, and got in trouble for taking baby and not dragging the baby bed along with us.

After taking the "how to take care of your baby" class 5 times, before heading to the hospital to have Madeleine I decided that no-way-no-how was I taking it again, and if they told me I had to, I was going to tell them I would rather just teach it.  I think a nurse asked me about it and I told her I knew way more than they had to teach, and no one asked again.

I loved keeping my babies with me at the hospital, and hated it when they were in the nursery.  They had Madeleine out for a couple hours in the middle of the night.  I couldn't sleep waiting for them to bring her back, so I finally called looking for her.  Thankful for many happy memories of cuddling in my hospital bed at night with those new sweet little babies.

When we were at the hospital having Adam, we watched "Pure Luck."  Hard movie to watch while in labor, laughing through contractions (maybe laughing was helping the contractions?).  That was the first time I had seen it, and it became a birth tradition as long as we could find it.  Now we own it, and the kids love it too (a hilarious clean comedy with loads of physical humor).

When we were at the hospital after Erin was born, at one point there were several hours when it was just Jamie and I with no visitors.  The TV was off and we were both reading (and cuddling Erin).  The nurse walked in and commented on how quiet it was.  "We have 4 others we'll be going home to, so we're enjoying the quiet while we can!"

Monday, January 28, 2013

Sickos, Birthday, Weather

We had a round of sickness last week, our first real one this winter.  Everything else has hit one person and we've kept it from the rest using essential oils, but last weekend we got a tummy bug that went through the three littlest girls.  It was really easy on them, though.  Carolyn, who always acts super offended when she gets sick, like "why would this happen to such a sweet person like me???" (see picture below, note the tear drops on her shirt), and with her already meatless body, usually seems to take her longer to feel back to normal again, but she bounced right back.  Crazy what a few drops of essential oil can do.

After that was done, Madeleine started a round of croup.  I have lovely memories of sitting on the porch late at night during the winter with each of the kids.  Coats on, cuddled up in a blanket, we look around and see whatever we can see in the quiet of the night, getting their air pipe opened up again with the cold air.  Madeleine and I noted the icicles on houses, the tracks the kids had made that day in the snow, and counted the street lights we could see.  Crazy what 15 minutes in the cold air can do.

Her cold hung on for several days, though.  She would fall asleep on the couch pretty early (6:30-7ish).  It was sweet seeing all the extra love she was getting.  Lots of kisses on her cheek while she was laying there.

I've been wanting to have a map live on the kitchen table for a while, and I finally did it.  It was funny how quickly everyone set up shop there.  Like it just FELT more educational.

Friday was my birthday - one year older and wiser (which I love! - especially with great examples like those listed in this article).  I didn't get either of the things I asked for - for the kids to be nice to one another and for everyone to come to scriptures with smiles on their faces - but the kids did have me take them to Sam's Club so they could buy me a bag of my favorite favorite treats, which was very sweet of them.  During choir I took some of the kids to the library so Madeleine didn't spread her cold to all the kids in choir, and I spent most of the time chasing her around rather than sitting and reading.  Because of that, when it was time to change choir groups I decided we could just sit in the van and read together.  Madeleine got hit with a big coughing fit (she wasn't coughing much, but when she did it was a fit), and threw up.  Then another fit and again.  And another.  By the last time I had her out of the van, but yah, happy birthday.  After several things combined (partially due to my lack of patience because of a lack of sleep from sick kids), I decided that I was going to try my birthday again the next day.  We were home most of the day and I mainly just cleaned the house, but it was still better than the day before (especially since I also got more sleep!).  We didn't even get to my birthday cake until Sunday, and Melanie did a great job making it.  It expanded so much in the oven it was dripping all over the place.  Angel Food Cake - yum!

The weather has been pretty wild lately.  We've had more snow in the valleys than we've had for several years (just got another 5 or 6 inches yesterday), and last week we had freezing rain which is pretty unheard of around here.  Jamie was out of town during it all, and heard about it before I did.  He was sending me texts telling me to keep Adam home from seminary since the roads were so bad, but I think the main problems were on the freeway so he went.  It was the first day of the new semester and he was getting a new teacher, so I'm glad he was there.  Later in the day we learned more about the effects of freezing rain.  The driveway and porch were covered with a layer of ice.  Pretty crazy stuff.

This was after salt and kicking away at it.  Still a good chunk of ice there.

Huge snowflakes Sunday!

Carolyn's crochet friends were "hanging around" one day.  :)

Train Show and Cabela's

Jamie's dad is involved in a local model train club and Sammy loves to be involved whenever he can.  Several times a year they have train shows where the different train clubs come together to show off their stuff, and if at all possible Sam goes to help set up, run trains, and take down.

Sammy, Grandpa, and Erin in front of part of Grandpa's display with some of Sammy's additions.

Closer view of Sam's Lego fun

The Lego group for the area also takes a display to most of them, so besides being able to check out what they've got going, and a Lego friend of ours is involved in that group now, so it's even more exciting now that Sam can visit with him there too.  Their creations are INCREDIBLE!!!

Isengard - something like 6 1/2 feet tall

Helm's Deep
(Of special note, Aragorn and Gimli off to the side of the bridge getting ready to jump over.  Or in Gimli's case, get thrown over.)


The Argonath
(Notice Frodo heading to save Sam from drowning)

Wizard of Oz from beginning to end.  Corn field where the Scarecrow is, forest with the Tin Man, further forest with the Lion, poppy field, and the Emerald City.  West Witch's castle back left, and a rainbow.  Sing it with me!  "Somewhere over the rainbow . . ."

This was left of the cornfield - the Munchkin's village.  Glenda and Dorothy on the platform.  Far left you can see the house that fell on Dorothy with the East Witch's feet sticking out.

Circus display with lots of tiny tiny figurines, including figures with tiny moving parts like a sword swallower.

We had to refill Adam while we were down that far, and made a stop at Cabela's.

Erin being a fish. 

The call (center) that Adam really really wanted to buy.  "But it's $70 off!!!"  Uh huh.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Some Things Just Need to Be Kept

I happened upon this little project Sammy made in 2nd grade.  The first time I saw this was sitting in parent/teacher conference.  Sammy's teacher was having all the students read their life cycle book to their parents when they came for the meeting.

"My Life Cycle"

"Me as a baby.  Then I grow."
(Cute pink bow . . . why?  He had little sisters, maybe he was thinking of them.)

"Me as a toddler.  Then I grow."  (Playing with trains)
"Me in 2nd grade.  Then I grow."  (He said it's snowboarding.)

"Me as a teenager.  Then I grow."  (Check out that picture.  Imagine us with that heavy we've-already-failed-as-parents feeling, sitting with this wonderful 2nd grade teacher, who we love and Sam still gives hugs, giving us an "I know, and I'm really concerned too!" look.)
"Me as a adult.  Then I grow."  (Train engineer.  At least that's some higher ideals.)

"Me as a father.  Then I grow"  (Is he cooking, or standing next to a volcano?)
"Me as a grandfather.  Then I change."

 "Me when I die."

Kind of . . . blunt.

We get home, and I'm still thinking about how my sweet (okay, not always true) little guy is figuring that when he's a teenager he's going to be in jail.  I sit down and ask him to read it to me again, only this time I ask him to tell me about all the pictures.  Of course I really only care about one page, but we work our way through the whole thing, finally getting there.  Imagine me asking in a super sweet, really worried mommy voice, "So tell me about this page, Sammy?"  

"That's me on stage, singing 'Jailhouse Rock' like Elvis."

H.U.G.E. R.E.L.I.E.F.

He really was a big Elvis fan then.  Look back at the picture and you'll notice the black hair and gold suit.  And yes, I went straight to the computer and e-mailed his teacher.

Friday, January 18, 2013

First Class, Scissors, Storehouse, Les Mis, and Thumb

With this family blogging, I'm also getting better at taking quick snapshots so I can remember what I need to update.

Sammy officially earned his First Class scout rank.  This was a HUGE deal for him, because he's been at a roadblock for a long time since swimming and Sam don't get along.  I was at the scout office a month ago for the scout camp interviews, and had decided while I was there I was going to find out if there was a way we could get past this.  Our district executive, Kevin, wasn't there, but I talked to another exec there.  He asked someone else that said, "He needs to get over his fear," which I already figured, but by the time our conversation was done he asked me where Sam's scout book is and said he would just sign it (figuring that he had completed everything during swimming lessons, though I wasn't as sure).  He sent an e-mail to Kevin telling him to sign it, so then Kevin contacted me asking for more details.  While we were talking, he offered to take him swimming himself and help him through it.  Fabulous!  He had been the aquatics director at camp before, and even called up another aquatics director friend of his to help.  They met us at the pool the Saturday before Christmas, and with both of them swimming on each side just ahead of Sam, encouraging all the way, HE DID IT!  The only time Kevin touched him was at the end of the 3rd lap before the backstroke.  Sam was pretty tired and started to stop, but Kevin flipped him onto his back and told him to keep going.  So so thankful for two more scouting heroes.

Almost done!

His patch is on his shirt now, but the shirt needs to be washed before I can get his picture with it.  (See the schmutz on the pocket?  There is more elsewhere.)

Miss Madeleine's two-year-oldness hit again (hopefully turning 3 in March will help that).  She took a pair of scissors to her shirt Monday.  Yah.  Why it wasn't a sad thing while it was happening, I don't know.  I took it off, then put it back on to get a picture (reminding myself it will be laughable someday, but it was one of my favorites of hers!), and suddenly she was sad.  Almost makes me feel sorry for her.  Almost.

But THEN, when she pulled that big hole above apart, the other girls all started laughing, so then it was hilarious.  Hopefully the lesson isn't unlearned.  (Yes, mom, the scissors were up high.  But she climbs too.)

Tuesday Adam, Sam, and I went to the Bishop's Storehouse with our homeschool group, our first time getting to serve there.  It was a lot of fun, and a lot of great work.  I bagged apples the whole time, Sammy bagged potatoes the whole time, and Adam was all over the place doing different jobs.  One of the youth with us mentioned that when he can drive he wants to go serve there every day.  Adam agreed.  And sadly, my phone died before I got any pictures of him there.

One of the missionaries there jumped in the picture, a lot more happily than the youth.

Thursday night Melanie, Carolyn, my parents, my sister, and I went to Les Miserables put on by a high school in the area.  My niece is playing a keyboard in the pit, so we all went to support her.  I was impressed with how well they did, and Mel and Carolyn really enjoyed it too.  As soon as Carolyn found out she got to go she started singing the songs, and Jamie and I told her he can't sing during the production (we went to Phantom of the Opera on our honeymoon and the guy sitting next to me kept singing - baaaahhh!).  Jamie said she would have to sit on her lips.  Funny daddy.  :)  Melanie has been asking to go to the real production showing in the local big city this summer.  Now I'm worried I'll have two girls bugging me.  We decided tonight that after we finish reading our current family book, All-of-a-Kind Family, we'll read Les Miserables together.

We were out part of today for the kids' choir group, and a while after getting home Adam started complaining that his thumb was acting weird.  I didn't think much about it, but he kept bugging it and complaining about it, so I took a look.  By the feel I couldn't tell anything different between thumbs, but he showed me that he could bend one thumb back and the wonky thumb wouldn't even straighten all the way.  At dinner he showed us that one hand would relax flat and his thumb on the other wouldn't.  It doesn't hurt, though.  He sat for a while stretching it back and said it was doing better, but we'll have to keep an eye on that.  I asked about any roughhousing when his choir group wasn't singing and he said they hadn't, that it had been fine when we got home, and it was a while after before it was a problem.

Wonky thumb on the left, trying to bend both back.  One works, one . . . not so much.

Trying to flatten it on the table.

*Update on the thumb:  Adam sat for a while last night stretching it and it was doing better before he went to bed, then the next morning it was just fine.  WEIRD!

And totally random, I went dancing and singing into the kitchen earlier and got a lovely, "Oh brother," look from Adam.  I told him he's lucky, because probably not very many moms are cool enough to do that.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Paperclips, Selfishness, Crayons, and Weddings

Sammy and I were making some copies for a class Monday.  The copy person was working on it and I was standing at the counter waiting.  Sam commented about all the paperclips he'd found on the floor, and I turned to see him putting one into a paperclip box on a display next to me.  He wondered aloud why someone would spill the paperclips and not pick them up.  I told him the paperclips he was finding were probably from people bringing in things to copy and dropping the paperclip holding their things together.  As he closed the paperclip box he said, "Then whoever buys that box is going to be really happy they got all those extra paperclips!"

Tuesday during Vanguard we were talking about service-oriented leadership.  We used John Wooden as an example of that since he coached his team to be their best as team players and as people, and that winning was never the focus but it became a natural result.  Adam helped me with the leadership skill portion of our day, and both while he was teaching and while he was giving comments during the rest of the class he kept mentioning "self-oriented leadership" instead of "service-oriented leadership."  We are never going to follow him.

Adam had a great experience today, though, helping to interview about 50 boys that want to serve on NYLT staff.  Since he was asked this last year when he interviewed, his favorite question to throw out was "Which Disney princess would you want to be and why?"  Adam's answer was Rapunzel, because she beats everyone up with a frying pan.  Hopefully we can realign his leadership methods before the course.  He is serving as the senior patrol leader (the youth head of the course), and Sam was asked to be a quartermaster.  I get to be there to watch.  Should be fun!

Madeleine got a box of triangle crayons for Christmas (triangle vs. the way normal crayons are round), and she was peeling the paper and break them.  I told her to leave the paper on so it wouldn't made a mess and so they wouldn't break.  "I'm coloring with naked crayons." 

Yesterday Sammy and I sorted through all the Lego minifigure packages he can earn by reading to see which extra minifigures we have (when we've shopped, we've bought extra of some of the cooler ones for birthday presents and such).  A witch package was opened, so I declared it mine (after all, I'm the wicked witch, right?) and put it together.  When we found an extra bride minifigure I declared that mine too, opened it, and put it together.  Madeleine played with both while Sam and I finished up, then she and I were looking at them and talking.  I asked her if she's going to get married someday, and she said yes.  I asked her if she's going to get married in the temple, yes again.  She pointed out all veil, flowers, and even Miss Lego Bride's makeup and said she was going to have each of those things.  I asked her who she's going to marry.  "I'm going to marry daddy.  He's going to be really surprised!"  

We have been dumped on with snow around here the past few days.  Melanie and I figure that the last time we had this much was when she was 1 or 2, because I have pictures of her and the boys playing in giant snow piles.  Lots of snow means lots of shoveling.  What a perfect opportunity for service, though.  Jamie and the kids have helped shovel a lot of neighbors' snow.  Even an accidental one.  Jamie was heading somewhere this morning and called to say he'd noticed someone out shoveling alone, and asked me to send some of the kids out to help them.  When he said her name I thought of a pregnant woman in the neighborhood, so I sent them her direction assuming that her husband had to work or something.  A bit later Sam came back and said no one was outside there and the snow hadn't been touched.  I dialed the phone to ask Jamie if I got the right person, and the light turned on that he was talking about our next door neighbor.  Oops!  Carolyn headed out to help her, and Sam and Melanie still shoveled for the other family.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Fast Sunday and Drawing

Today was Day 1 of late church year, and the first Fast Sunday of the year.  All the bigs did really well fasting, but shortly before we headed to church Sam headed into the kitchen.  He doesn't do well on no food, so I told him if he needed to eat something he was just fine.  He pulled out a jar of hot peppers and I thought he ate one, but on the way home from church it came out that he'd only licked it and put it back.  I guess that's one way to curb hunger, burn it off!  Those that know Sam well know that he's quite the germaphobe and would definitely question the putting it back.  It's his own jar, though, got it for Christmas because Santa knows how much he likes hot stuff.  As we were joking about it in the car we decided that any germs would get burned off anyway if someone else wanted one.  But he tried to find the same one in the jar and ate it after church.  Funny kid.

Carolyn was drawing during sacrament meeting.  When she turned to show me, she said it's a scout that earned a lot of merit badges doing the scout sign, then he was daydreaming that he was the greatest scout ever (top bubble) and then that came true, and then he was a famous scout and all the girls loved him (right bubble).  Apparently she's surrounded by a scouting environment.

Completed Bags, Crochet, Scriptures, Future Parents, and AGAIN?!?!?

I finished Carolyn and Melanie's crochet bags, and they turned out super cute.   I loved Carolyn's comment about the fabric Melanie chose for Carolyn's bag - "She knows me so well!  This is perfect for me!"

With all the crochet animals coming alive around our house, I decided it was high time for me to learn a bit.  During a crochet bee (is there a word for a crochet gathering?) In our frontroom Carolyn got me started. I've done 6 inch squares before (for a humanitarian project in the ward, then someone more talented stitched all the squares together) and baby hats, so I had the basics down.  I asked a lot of questions and had Carolyn check me lots.  When I got to the 8th row I started wondering if something was not quite right.  I looked at some of the book instructions, then started asking Melanie some questions.  Turns out there was one minor-but-kind-of-major thing that Carolyn didn't have quite right, so I started all over and am encouraging Carolyn in making that adjustment, though she isn't going along with it very well.  Now I know why her little crochet friends don't turn out quite like the pictures, but I'm still super impressed with both of their crochet skills.  It's super cool when my little ladies are teaching their mommy.

When I looked at this picture, I told Carolyn we have opposite hair.

Erin took several of Mel and I.  She needs to work on her photography skills, but glad we got documented.

During scripture reading yesterday we were in 2 Nephi 5.  We rotate through everyone with each reading 5 verses, Carolyn reads 1 or 2 (since she's still getting reading down, but doing really well in the scriptures), and I guide Erin and Madeleine each through repeating a verse, then around again until we're done with the chapter.  As it hit yesterday, Erin did verse 27 and Madeleine verse 28.  During Madeleine's, she started dancing around the frontroom while she and I repeated back and forth her verse.  When it was done I commented that she did her interpretive dance of 30 years passing away.  Jamie said he thought she was showing us how to live after the manner of happiness (v. 27).  :)

I wrote this post a few months ago on my other blog about how I love having big and little kids around.  We've gotten quite a few comments about our boys lately and how good they are with little Miss M.  The Sunday before Christmas the ward choir sang a few songs, so I was up on the stand for all that and Jamie was on the stand in the bishopric.  I brought extra distractions for Madeleine, told Adam he could take her to the foyer if she was a problem, and also talked to my sister about Madeleine joining her son in the nursery (he's in there with their ward while we're in sacrament meeting).  With all the big plans, she actually cuddled right up with Adam and fell asleep through most of the meeting.  Sammy is really sweet and patient with her too, even when she takes apart his Lego creations.  They are both going to be great daddies someday.

And one final story that I didn't plan on when I started this . . . Miss M put another rock up her nose.  This time it was further up and our efforts didn't even move it.  It bothered her a lot more this time, maybe because it was up higher, and she was less receptive to my attempts.  When I was trying the "mother's kiss" at one point, she started fighting me and said, "No mom!  I'm a baby!"  (Laughing all around.)  It was Saturday evening, so that meant a trip to the ER.  She fell asleep on the way there (again), and slept the whole time we were waiting (with all these nastily sick people around us, and Jamie and I praying we didn't take anything new home with us).  When we finally got in with the doc, he used a syringe with a long flexible tube  and a balloon at the end.  It took a few tries (and Miss M was fighting a LOT - took 3 of us just holding her), but it worked.  That's one expensive rock.

Friday, January 4, 2013


Three of my four girls have been early great talkers (one was far more physical to worry about talking - can you guess who?).  Madeleine is one if those great talkers, but there is one word she cannot get out.  We've been trying to help her learn it, thought I think at first she would say it wrong on purpose because the other kids would bug her trying to work on it.

I try to be more subtle in my methods.

I just had her on my lap and pointed out several colors asking her to name them.  She listed them off just fine till I got to something yellow.  She quickly said, "Lellow," but even before I could say anything she turned and looked at me for a moment then tried harder (and louder), "Llllllllllelow!"  I chuckled and continued pointing out other colors, then back to yellow. "Lellow."  She looked over at me for a moment again, then even harder and louder, "LLLLLLLLLElow!"

So I tried another method.

"Say yak."
"Say yes."
"Say yell."
"Say yellow."

I tried again.

"Say yak."
"Say yes."
"Say yell."
"Say yellow."
". . . I'm busy mom."


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year's Eve 2012

We've always had the tradition that New Year's Eve is spent at home.  I love that, having our own little family party together.

Jamie always plans some delicious food - this year prime rib.  It cooked longer than he wanted so it wasn't just how he wanted, but still delicious.

Since it landed on a Monday this year, we of course had to have family home evening as part of the night.  We read and discussed 2 Nephi 2, talking about acting and not being acted upon, and having opposition in all things.  I enlightened everyone on verse 23 which points out how we have to have children so we can have misery and joy.  The kids especially LOVED that.

Our FHE treat ended up being our main New Year's Eve treat.  Melanie made these cookies baked in remmekins topped with ice cream and homemade fudge.  Wowzah!  We definitely need to keep that girl around.

Uncle Bobby had given us some giant sparklers and pop-its on Christmas, so we headed outside to make some noise for a bit.  But not too long - brrrrrrrr!

By then it was getting on the late side for the little girls, about 9:30. We cleaned up, the little girls and I read a few of our favorites ("The Three Little Pigs" - Madeleine's latest favorite, "The Princess Gown," and "The Hinky Pink"), and they happily headed to bed, though they asked for daddy to sing them a song.

When I headed back to the front room, the bigs were waiting for me so they could turn on Thor, so that finished out our New Year's Eve.  The first year in I don't know how long that we didn't play games that either got us all giggly or that Jamie and I were falling asleep through (stinks getting old).

Looking forward to a great new year!