Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Checking things off the list

Here is sweet baby Connor. Awww.
And here are some things we've done from the list.

#1 Make a fort and sleep in it
I had to wait for a day when nobody had taken a nap so that they might actually fall asleep in the fort. That day came today. They wanted to make it in our bedroom, but somehow that didn't sound like much fun to me. We settled for the living room.

#60 Sing Primary Songs

#87 Play duck duck goose (gotta love the easy ones)

#79 Make tinfoil boats
#78 Find out what floats
Not the best picture of Marissa (could it be because she stayed up till midnight the night before?), but you can see what floats.

Some things that float? Pretzels, pencils, most of the play food, lotion, blocks, Mr. Potato Head glasses and cardboard until it gets wet. Some things that sink? Marissa's tinfoil boat, string cheese, crayons, nail polish, apples, sunglasses and wet cardboard.

#84 Make the Solar System
This was actually a pretty fun one, though slightly more time consuming than I would have liked. We had to research the order of the planets as well as their sizes. We hung it on the ceiling fan and it actually looked like the planets were orbiting the sun--that is until someone turned it on high, got them all tangled up and stopped the fan while the motor was still trying to spin (unbeknownst to us). That was the end of that and hey, nothing caught on fire (though the fan was pretty hot by the time Jared found out about it).

This picture is so funny to me because of their attire. Erin always grabs the first thing she sees, weather it's long sleeved, a size too small or if it matches or not, but it's something different every day. This outfit ended up okay. Marissa, of course, usually has clothes on at some point in the day but seems to end up spending a majority of time in just underwear, a diaper or nothing at all. Alex is so particular with his clothes and I don't know what his reasoning behind his choices are either. I'm pretty sure this was the third day on this outfit and it has yogurt popsicle stains all over it. He often tells me he can't find anything to wear, and no matter how much I try to convince him to wear something clean from his drawer it doesn't help. He'll go looking in the dryer and if that fails his only other option is to go through the dirty clothes for the right outfit. I guess one plus is that there are fewer clothes to wash. But just to prove that he does indeed have other clothes, this is his drawer--all put away by him of course. He seriously can't find anything in there? At least Connor will have some barely worn hand-me-downs.I thought I would show a picture of what my entryway looked like after the solar system project. My entryway actually looks like this in some variation (blocks, puzzles, books, play dough, crayons, or all of the above) every day. I know it's the most open spot in the house, but why do they think this is their play room? But then, what does it matter? I just had a baby, I'm tired, we're trapped in the house all day, and if anyone wants to come over, they just better be good enough friends with me not to care. After all, I can't care right now, though it does seem like we clean this area quite a bit.
I will also tell you that about half an hour before starting this, Marissa was standing on a chair in underwear right next to me while I was feeding Connor. I started to get splashed on and realized she was peeing on the chair. Why didn't I put a diaper on her after that? Good question, because as we were painting, a naked Marissa pooped on the floor and on part of the paints. Then somehow, she stepped in it and left a trail of poop-prints until I could pick her up. Gross! Maybe that's why the project seemed like so much work.

As if I didn't learn my lesson. Today, things got a little crazy and I was attempting to multitask: Erin was asking me to teach her a song on the piano, Marissa was trying to use a sharp knife to cut her own cheese, the baby was crying and the grilled cheese was burning. So I picked up the baby to feed him in one arm while making a new grilled cheese with the other when I got splashed on again from the underwear queen who was standing on a chair right beside me. Luckily, Erin is 6 and very helpful. She took care of most of the cleanup and taking her to the potty, twice today actually. You'd think I'd be able to keep a diaper on her, but no. I can't keep up and I know it. I'm stuck living with burned lunch, stuff everywhere and bodily excretions to clean up until... who knows when? Someday I might actually miss these days. Gotta love these kids.

Friday, June 25, 2010

What Do You Do in the Summertime...

...when all the world is way too hot to go outside?

I'll get to that...

So far things are going well with four kids. The older kids love the baby and always want to hold him. I would say it is easier to have the fourth baby than say, the first. Not because I don't get up several times a night or because my body is not going through the same recovery. It's just that I know what to expect and realize that this phase will only last a short while. I love having a newborn in our home. Connor is so warm, soft, snugly and sweet smelling. I look at his tiny features and am overcome by how much I love him and how amazing it is to have him here. I love how his forehead wrinkles up into his hair and all the little sounds he makes. I love it when he curls his arms and legs up and lays on my chest. I love snuggling up with him to take a nap. I love how fresh from heaven he is. I love this picture of Marissa and him (it's hard to keep clothes on that girl--you're lucky she has a diaper on).

One of the hardest things for me right now is the weather. I wish I could just send my kids out to play for hours like I do in the winter. Even when they do play in the pool or sprinklers they don't last very long out there. I haven't felt ambitious/crazy enough to take all four kids out anywhere yet. So this means we are stuck inside the house all day. The kids do pretty well just playing together, but it does get a little tiresome being in the same four walls all the time. My only plan for the summer was to have the baby, and now that I have I realize that I should probably have some other sort of plan. I got a few ideas from some other blogs and this is what I'm trying:

1. Implement the Marble Jars

This is for Erin and Alex. They basically earn marbles whenever they do jobs like help with dishes, laundry, clean up a room, wash the mirror, clean the toilet (a favorite), wipe out the sink, etc. They also get them for reading for 30 minutes, writing in their journal, memorizing a scripture or learning a new song on the piano. Once they fill up their jar they get to choose a reward like a pack of gum, getting ice cream from the ice cream truck, having a sleepover, etc. Erin seems slightly more motivated to get her jar filled, but Alex does all right too. I can't say my house is any cleaner, but it makes me feel like I'm teaching them that they have to help out around here.

2. Implement Quiet Time

So I've only done it once so far, but as soon as I introduced it they had no problem with it. I put Erin in her room, locked Marissa in her room (she was the only one to protest) and had Alex read books quietly in the family room. Marissa cried for 3 minutes and fell asleep against the door and Alex read his book about 5 times and then he fell asleep. I took a shower, made my bed and threw some laundry in before Connor woke up. It felt great! I sort of thought Erin had fallen asleep too but about 30 minutes later I hear her ask if quiet time was over. Woops. Am I supposed to end the peace and quiet? She read the Articles of Faith twice and her talk three times. Quiet time just may save us this summer.

3. Make a List of Things To Do This Summer

This was pretty fun to create, especially hearing the kids come up with ideas. Alex came up with some great ones like 'Bounce', 'Be silly' and 'Sleep with cats'. After we suggested paper airplanes he kept saying, "I know what we could do, we could make paper teeth" (or paper bears, or paper rocket ships, etc). After he thought of 'Trace your whole body' he wanted to trace everything like books, cheeks, noses, etc. Some of his didn't make the list, but they sure made me laugh. Nothing is too difficult, but hopefully it will make me feel like I'm accomplishing something and not just "surviving" or letting the kids watch TV all day. And I'm not saying we're going to do everything, but at least it will give us new ideas.

101 Things To Do This Summer

  1. Make a fort and sleep in it
  2. Have a picnic
  3. Eat popsicles
  4. Bounce
  5. Go to library story time
  6. Read about animals
  7. Go to a farm and ride a horse
  8. Put on a play
  9. Make a video
  10. Go to a parade
  11. Take 20 pictures
  12. Blow bubbles
  13. Draw with chalk and play hopscotch
  14. Go swimming
  15. Find shapes in the clouds
  16. Make play dough
  17. Trace hands and feet
  18. Go see a movie
  19. Make paper airplanes
  20. Learn origami
  21. Decorate cookies
  22. Memorize a scripture
  23. Fireworks
  24. Create a card and mail it
  25. Finger paint with pudding
  26. Paint with sponges & potatoes
  27. Play soccer
  28. Sleep with cats
  29. Read “Little House on the Prairie”
  30. Visit an aquarium
  31. Act out a scripture story
  32. Make tin foil dinners
  33. Have a marshmallow fight
  34. Be silly
  35. Make an obstacle course
  36. Roast marshmallows and make s’mores
  37. Attend a concert
  38. Go to the beach
  39. Make fingerprint art
  40. Make yogurt popsicles
  41. Trace our whole bodies
  42. Make a puzzle
  43. Discover a new favorite author
  44. Plant something
  45. Donate toys and clothes you no longer use
  46. Complete library’s summer reading program
  47. Help weed outside
  48. Go without TV for a day
  49. Learn some new outdoor games
  50. Make up a new story
  51. Make something from recyclables
  52. Watch a video of a ballet
  53. Watch the birds
  54. Make shadow shapes with flashlights
  55. Go to a planetarium
  56. Go to Burger King
  57. Cook or bake something new
  58. Learn some Spanish
  59. Play a game on the computer
  60. Sing Primary songs
  61. Make up a silly dance
  62. Watch family videos
  63. Make a collage of words and pictures
  64. Make a macaroni necklace
  65. Play hide and seek
  66. Run through the sprinklers
  67. Make something with a cardboard box
  68. Write a poem or song
  69. Try a new food
  70. Ride bikes
  71. Go for a walk and listen to sounds
  72. Find insects
  73. Make orange Julius
  74. Do something nice for someone
  75. Play a game
  76. Play with balloons
  77. Pretend to go to outer space
  78. Find out what floats
  79. Make tinfoil boats
  80. Play dress-up
  81. Play in the rain
  82. Play with whip cream
  83. Draw our family
  84. Make the solar system
  85. Play school
  86. Fly a kite
  87. Play duck duck goose
  88. Decorate a bedroom
  89. Jump rope
  90. Make popcorn
  91. Make a fruit pizza
  92. Write a nice note to a friend
  93. Take a bubble bath
  94. Go to a bookstore
  95. Make funny faces
  96. Count or write numbers to 100
  97. Jump on a trampoline
  98. Take pictures and frame them
  99. Find nocturnal animals
  100. Do something to be a hero
  101. Write the alphabet

Here's what we've done so far:

#66 Run through the sprinklers
#40 Make yogurt popsicles
Today I overheard Alex say that today was the best day ever! I asked him why and he said "Because we had yogurt popsicles and we made that cool thing out of blocks." Too bad play with blocks wasn't on the list because they played with them for over two hours today.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Whole Story

I had a baby and here's the story. It's going to be way more than you wanted to know...

As you probably noticed from previous posts, I was not going into labor naturally. I went in for an appointment Monday morning and he told me I should be induced, soon. I was 9 days overdue. I still wanted to give myself a little more time to go into labor naturally, so I asked to be induced the next day. Unfortunately, there were already 5 inductions scheduled, but Monday was pretty quiet so I was scheduled for 4 pm that day.

I was a little disappointed about it because I had never been induced and just didn't know what to expect. I had always heard that inductions made your labor much harder. I know I should have been more excited about having the baby that day, but the whole process was sort of a let down. I didn't even want to tell anyone I was going in because of it.
Family of 5--right before we went in

Let me back up. Six years ago, I found out Erin was breech at 37 weeks, which was too late to try to turn her or do anything else. I ended up having to have a C-section. I am grateful for modern medical intervention because the position she was in (double footling breech) could have endangered both of our lives had I tried to have her normally. Of course everything turned out fine, but there were some things that I hoped never to repeat. Like having major abdominal surgery (without a good reason anyway) or sticking a needle into my spine. I didn't take it as a good sign when half my body started tingling and the anesthetist said, "Huh, I guess that spot didn't work. Let's try again." I would say this is one of my main motivations for never wanting an epidural. (See? I'm not just crazy, I have a reason.)

Because of the C-section and because we live in Florida, it was very difficult to find a doctor who would deliver Alex. I eventually found a maternity center that would do a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) and the next two births were amazing! At the maternity center I was encouraged to walk around, eat, drink and eventually have them naturally in a jacuzzi. Everyone was on my side, reinforcing the idea that I could have a great natural childbirth experience. And I did. I hoped to have all my kids there.

Then last year Florida passed a law stating that no maternity center can perform a VBAC anymore. Not only that but about 50% of Florida hospitals will not even allow a doctor to do a VBAC at all and it is harder than ever to find a doctor who will do one at the hospitals that do allow it. Yes, even though I have already had two successful VBAC's--dumb! There are way fewer risks involved in a VBAC than a C-section, but thanks to politics knowing what is best, I was trapped. Can you tell I have strong feelings about this topic?

Anyway, I was referred to a crazy Russian doctor who is evidently a dying breed; he delivers breech babies, twins, does VBAC's, etc. Everyone at the hospital had great things to say about him and they told me he has the lowest C-section rate in the whole place. The office was really weird though. Half the time the place smelled like smoke because the staff forgot to shut the door on their smoke breaks, the majority of patients were a class of their own and I found myself disagreeing with the doctor on more than one occasion. On Monday one of the staff went on and on about how crazy I was for not wanting an epidural. Hello, personal choice... butt out! The whole thing was a frustrating experience, especially since I really had no other choice if I wanted a VBAC. And now I was being forced to be induced.

Of course I didn't want anything to happen to the baby, and I wanted to have him, so I showed up at about 4:30 on Monday. I'll be honest though, I was in a bad mood. I'd never even been hooked up to an IV before and now I was literally being confined to an uncomfortable hospital bed. I had two monitors, a blood pressure cuff, an IV and Pitocin hooked up when I asked if I could go to the bathroom. "Oh no. You can't get out of bed." Huh? I had to use a bedpan! After all the times I jokingly begged Jared for a bedpan when I was too lazy to get out of bed... well, turns out, it's not all that it's cracked up to be. Ridiculous.

Confined to the bed, all hooked up and in a bad mood

We also handed a copy of our birth plan to the nurses and they basically told us how we couldn't do half of the things we wanted because this is a hospital. I'm not talking about anything crazy here either. One of our main requests was that the baby remain with us after his birth. "Nope, the nursery is a different department than labor and delivery and the baby must go up there for two hours." But why? What has to be done up there that can't be done here? AGH! So annoying! It's really hard to tell us that our baby will die if he's not put in a warmer when the last two babies didn't die and they never had a warmer. Okay, so we were the difficult parents, but I was twisted up in wires and being forced to pee in a pan--I had to fight for something.

At this point I was just praying for a good nurse when the shift changed. When she walked in I knew my prayers had been answered. She told us she looked over our birth plan and would do everything she could to accommodate us. She even called the nursery to see if they could come down to the room so we wouldn't have to be separated, and because it was a slow night, that is what ended up happening. She showed so much empathy and supported all our decisions--finally! She even let me get out of bed so I could sit down in a chair--way more comfortable. I will be ever grateful that she was my nurse during delivery and not the first one.

So they started Pitocin at 5:30 and I began having contractions every two minutes, but they were not that hard. I could definitely talk through them, do logic puzzles, and watch 4 episodes on HGTV without distraction (definitely a high point). I didn't even think the contractions were doing anything because I barely felt them. The good nurse got there at about 7:30. The first time they checked me was at 8:42 and I was only at 5 cm (again, why the other nurses never checked me is beyond me). At 8:45 I started to shake and I knew transition was starting. She checked me again at 8:53 and I was at 8 cm. This is when she had someone call the doctor, who was at home. The doctor arrived at 9:10, broke my water at 9:12 and shortly thereafter I felt one uncontrollable urge to push. I don't think anyone was quite ready for that one because they were still setting up the bed or something and the doctor was still changing his gloves. But believe me, I couldn't help it... and the baby just came out in that one push, at 9:17 pm. So basically everything was easy until the last 30 minutes, which were just as bad as I remembered with the last two. That part would not have been any different whether I had been induced or not. And I always figure that I can handle 30 minutes of pain in order to avoid the whole needle in the spine ordeal.

My first time holding Connor right after he was born

After that I stayed in the hospital for two nights. Even though we were the difficult parents in the labor and delivery stage, at least we were the easy parents up in postpartum. They just figured it was our fourth baby and pretty much left us alone, as much as possible anyway. I still couldn't believe how many people kept popping in: the regular nurse, the baby nurse, blood pressure lady, baby photography lady, food service guy, tray pick-up guy, housekeeping lady, birth certificate lady, the pediatrician, the hearing specialist, lactation lady and (my favorite) word search lady--did she really have to wake me up for that one? At any rate, we survived a hospital birth and ended up having a really good experience in the end. And after all that I went through with this doctor, I honestly have to say that he is a good doctor who allowed me to have a baby how I wanted (even if he was only there for 20 minutes--total). I guess the most important thing is that we have sweet little baby Connor who finally made his way into this world. What a blessing!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Happy B-Day Connor!!!

We would like to announce the latest addition to our family:  Connor Jared Daniels.  I hope you enjoy the following pictures...full description of the birth soon to follow (for those of you that like such details) :)

Connor Jared Daniels - Born June 14, 2010 - Weight: 8 lbs 9 oz

Mom enjoying holding the new baby prior to leaving the Labor and Delivery room

Connor just "chill-axing" - he really is a mild-mannered kid

Laura and our wonderful nurse - we were very fortunate to have her

Proud Father

Siblings Looking On

Grandma enjoying a moment holding Connor

Erin is soooo happy to have a new baby brother

Marissa isn't quite sure how to handle the baby...but she kept insisting that it was her turn to hold the baby

Sunday, June 13, 2010


All right. This is getting annoying. I keep hoping it will happen, but then I find myself waking up to yet another day of being mysteriously still pregnant! Is this my punishment for finding out I was pregnant with Marissa at 20 weeks? I'm wiling to guess that all of you who are so jealous of that part didn't go 8 or 9 (or more!) days over your due date. Considering my history of going late, I was mentally prepared. My distraction method worked pretty well, until I hit the 5 days over mark. Then I started to lose it. I can only clean my house and wash my maternity uniforms so many times thinking it's my last time without going crazy. FYI, it is not a good time to tell someone in my situation that you spontaneously had your baby 2 weeks early. I know looking back it's not going to matter, but it doesn't make right now any easier. One good thing about not having him today? His birthday will never fall on Friday the 13th.

For whatever reason, this child is hanging on. Everyone keeps asking and wondering, including you, which is one reason why I couldn't go to church today. I let Jared and my mom field all the comments without me while I took a very quiet nap. Not to mention there was nothing that fit me. It has gotten so bad that I started a 1000 piece puzzle yesterday hoping to not be able to finish it, and well, it's looking pretty close to being done. If I have to pull out the 1500 piece one this kid is in big trouble!

Hey, even can't fathom a baby still being inside me. The baby disappeared after 41 weeks. And if you click on the days/weeks part it says I have 9 days left. Click again and I have 2 weeks 2 days to go. They can't figure out a better way to show you are overdue? I cannot be the only person who has ever gone over their due date. I assure you, there is still a baby in me.

I had an ultrasound last week and the results were good, as far as the baby being healthy and having enough fluid and such. Translation: the baby can cook a little longer. She also noticed that there was a lot of baby in there, which does not surprise me. Her estimate was 8 lbs 3 oz give or take a pound, though my doctor assured me this baby is not big (we'll find out). And it's not like nothing is happening. I have been in early labor for at least two weeks with contractions on and off, been dilated for as long and a week ago I was 50-60% effaced. I don't really want to be induced because I've heard the labor is a lot harder, but we'll see what the doctor has to say tomorrow. Also, I've tried just about every method to put yourself into labor naturally and my conclusion? Yeah, they don't work. Not until your baby is ready anyway.

Wish me luck for the 14th!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Erin Finishes Kindergarten

In case you are wondering, NO BABY YET! I am definitely getting a little bored and tired of waiting, so I'm taking it out on my blog. Believe it or not, there is only so much HGTV that a person can watch and I don't really want to start any new projects, although now I'm wondering why I haven't. Also, it's a little disheartening to see the baby widget now tell me I have increasingly more days to go.

Ahem... Since today is nobody's birthday (yet), I thought I would write about Erin finishing her first year of elementary school. The last day is tomorrow. She has had a really good experience with school. There haven't been any mean kids that I know about, she loves her teacher and she has made some really cute friends.

What really surprised me about this year is how responsible Erin has been. We set her alarm for 7:05 and she gets up to it by herself every day. Then she'll come to wake one of us up to get her breakfast (slacker parents). She gets dressed by herself, brushes her teeth and even tries to do her hair (but it is way too snarly for her to deal with right now). For the first while we would leave with just enough time to barely make it before the bell. But the last few months she has started getting ready really early so she can be one of the first ones there--not sure where that gene came from or how it suddenly kicked in. I guess she just really likes school. On her report card it shows her attendance: no absences all year and only one tardy. Pretty amazing. But the best part is why she was tardy that day. She woke up to her alarm and instead of waking us up, she decided to paint or something for a while. By the time she got hungry enough to wake us up it was 8:15, and school starts at 8:00! Usually we set our alarm as a backup but not that day. Do we win as the worst parents of the year?

Other things that happened during this school year:

-She has learned to tie her shoes, and double knot them. It occurred to me half way through that unless I bought her shoes with ties instead of velcro she wasn't going to learn, so I did and she learned.
-Although she was reading when she started school, she has become a really great reader throughout the year. She does great with scriptures and was one of only four kids in her class to read 100 books this year. Her award? Two gold Mardi Gras necklaces.
-I got called by the school nurse twice: once when somebody accidentally poked her in the eye with a pencil at the beginning of the year and once two weeks ago when she threw up on the playground.
-She lost her first tooth.
-She quickly learned to love music, art and media and just as quickly began to hate science and P.E. She finally warmed up to science, but P.E. is still the worst because as she said, "I don't like any sport where you have to run." (why is she always running around the house then?) Good thing the only physical activity they have time for is once a week, and no recess either.
-She learned her phone number, along with Alex (it's much more efficient to have more than one kid).
-She discovered ice cream day every Wednesday and now goes through her piggy bank for 65 cents each week to pay for it (she even made Jared walk home after they were half way to school one day when she forgot it).
-She only forgot her lunch once, and I brought it to her (does this cancel out the bad parent award?)
-She has become a very creative writer. Her only homework this year was writing whatever she wanted in a journal every day. She wrote a lot about rainbows and butterflies, but she has also come up with some really great stories. She filled up 2 1/2 notebooks and about 5 journals at school too.
-She learned how to add and subtract and now only writes two of the numbers consistently backwards, 5 and 6.
-She started to play the piano and likes to go through all the songs she knows (Hot Cross Buns, Once I Caught a Fish Alive, Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater, Up and Down the Keyboard, Puppy Dog and some of her original works). She is starting to read music too. Speaking of efficiency, without ever teaching Alex, he sits down and plunks out some of the same songs until he gets them right.
-She experienced the worst day of her life, according to her, which was the day of the Walk-a-thon when everyone got to go to the gym to walk except for her because her horrible mother didn't send in the $5 for it (bad parent again?). She seriously cried for over 45 minutes after that one. I will know for next year, but it still doesn't seem fair that everyone can't participate especially if it's someone who really can't afford it.

This is her first school picture at the beginning of the year.They sent another picture form home about a month ago and I did have every intention of sending it in. Then one day Erin said, "Remember that picture form you were supposed to send in?" I quickly said, "Oh yeah, let's send it in tomorrow." She said, "Actually they took our pictures yesterday." I was really hoping she was wearing an acceptable outfit and that her hair looked okay. Here it is. She even got to pick her own pose since I didn't send the form in. It probably turned out better than if we had stressed over it. Does that background really look like Florida to anyone?This is her class picture. They must have gotten more kids since this was taken because they ended up with 21 kids. Erin is the shortest and the whitest one of the bunch. Diversity is one thing I really like about Florida. There were kids from parts of South America, Haiti, Lithuania, and India, to name a few. One thing I love about this picture is how far she is standing from that boy. She's definitely not the touchiest child in the world.
Here's another thing that makes me laugh. One day I was walking her home when she said, "I'm so sick of everyone always telling me that Umar likes me!" I asked her what she says when they say that and she said, "I already know!" What is she supposed to say? Anyway, this boy was in her pre-school class last year, sat at her table this year and was in the same reading group as her. He would send home little notes or pictures, but I think it was more annoying than anything to her. I asked if she was still nice to him and she said, "Yes, I'm still nice to people I don't like." That's good. Today she came home with a picture saying, "To Erin, Love Alex" and another one with two snakes that he'd drawn representing them. How romantic. She even told this kid that she loved him too! Good thing school is over. Erin said she liked Umar too, just not as much as Alex. Poor Umar. Maybe next year.

One last funny thing. One day when I picked her up I told her I had two surprises for her. She got all excited and asked, "Did you clean the house?" Uh, no. That actually wasn't one of the surprises. Another time as she left for school she said, "Mom, do you think you could do some laundry while I'm at school?" Yes, I definitely deserve the worst parent award. Just the other day we had this conversation:
Me: Erin, is our house always clean?
E: No
Me: Why do you think it's not always clean?
E: Because you don't clean enough (obviously--not because three little tornadoes sweep through my house every day?)
I am pretty sure that she thinks that cleaning up after kids is the reason for my existence. Maybe it is right now.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Marissa is two!

Today is Marissa's birthday! I know, June is ridiculous for birthday's in our house. We have two more to go so don't think your done hearing about it. It's like Christmas, just not for Alex or me.

On Friday we had a casual birthday get together with some friends for her and another little girl in our ward who turns two tomorrow. We went to this little sprinkler park which is way less stressful for me than a swimming pool would have been based on the no drowning hazard. But it is freaking hot here right now so water was the only option. The kids had a great time playing and cupcakes were a hit. What could be easier? Especially since the other mom planned it all and did all the inviting. My kind of party.
Every time she gets in a swimming suit she thinks she has to wear goggles. Come to think of it, she wants those goggles on any time she sees them. The other day she fell asleep on me with them on and when I took them off, she woke up demanding I put them on again. Silly kid.
Someone gave her sunglasses for her birthday and the goggles were easily replaced. Cute, huh?This morning when she came in my room and I wished her a happy birthday she started jumping around saying, "Yeah, it's my birthday!" She's been excited about it all day. Marissa is still a petite girl, but she is very verbal. People are surprised that she can talk so well because she is so small, but somehow or another she has become quite a little communicator. Recently she began to insist on saying every prayer and will start to yell, "Let me say it!" in the middle if someone else says it. Last week she started yelling that during the sacrament prayer. Good thing this phase doesn't last forever. Today in sacrament Jared was reading her a book called "I am a Child of God" and each time he finished she yelled "I am a Child of God" over and over till he read it again.

Three days ago she took off her diaper, put the little potty seat on the toilet and went. The next day she sat on the potty for over 30 minutes just sucking her thumb and waiting, but she actually pooped in the potty. Today we had to completely undress her about four times so she could go potty over and over again (evidently you have to be naked). I'm not saying she is potty trained, but she is my first child to do this so early on her own. Anything that makes less work for me is welcomed.

Another new phase in her (and our) life is that she started climbing out of her crib about a month ago. She used to go to bed at 8 pm and wake up 12 hours later, but no longer. She's realized that going to bed is now a choice, an optional one. One that usually means she will get up 30 seconds after we put her down and stay up till 11:00 or so. To complicate things even more she refuses to sleep in her own room anymore because she wants to be with the other kids. So we decided to set up a toddler bed in the corner of their room where they can all be together. We're still getting used to it, but it seems to be working okay. At least the other kids don't get up. Naps for Marissa may or may not happen, depending on the day. One good thing is that since all the kids are in the "sleeping room", I moved all the toys into the "play room" so the mess is more contained and they actually play a lot in there now. This, of course, will all change once child 4 needs a room.

Marissa loves playing with her friends and siblings and is always involved in their games/schemes. She is such a joy to have in our family and we love her so much! Happy Birthday!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Extreme Makeover: Bedroom and Bathroom Edition

I can't say it is completely done, but it's pretty close. First, the bathroom. We've had the tile for it for almost two years and tore it out I think last July or August. Then I started school and our contractor (Jared) had to take care of the kids and work another full time job as well. Little by little, every Saturday or so, dry-wall got put up, plumbing got redone, and eventually the tile and grout was behind us. Even though it's such a small space, it's amazing how many steps there were: tape, mud, sanding, molding, caulking, grout, sealer, toilet, shower door, paint, hardware, etc.--a big job. Almost as importantly as having a two bathroom home again was the fact that the big shower door and toilet boxes were no longer taking up space in our living and family rooms (no, we couldn't put them in the garage because cardboard rots out there--Florida).

Now that everything is in and the painting is almost done, it is fabulous! Of course it is the same size as our old shower, but after using the kids' shower for so long this one seems so luxurious with lots more elbow room. I love the clear shower door as well. We'd had it for so long in the box that I had forgotten what it looked like. Jared worked so hard on all of it and did a great job. My contributions were minimal, but I am happy with the paint color and the picture frames with scrapbook paper on the wall--my decorating skills at work.
These pictures were taken at two times of day which is why the color looks different.This one shows the vanity that we put in a few years ago. I still love it. Tons of storage and best of all, two sinks (something we never had before).

About a month ago when the shower was finally "done" Jared got in it for the maiden voyage. The first thing he noticed was that there was hardly any hot water pressure. Uh oh. As he was investigating the problem we noticed that the floor was filling up with water--and not draining at all! Yikes. That set us back a few days. We certainly hoped we wouldn't have to tear out anything we'd just installed, or call an expensive plumber. But Jared's determination took over and he solved both problems. The drain had somehow gotten filled with concrete (we think) so we rented a snake and ground our way through. After getting into the plumbing Jared found a minuscule piece of paper towel blocking the hot water flow. How did it get there? It was one of his solutions to drying the dripping pipes when he initially soldered it all together. Everything works great now.

Next, our bedroom. I looked through all our pictures for a before picture of our bedroom but since I always kind of hated our room I guess I never took a picture of it. To give you a mental image, the walls were cream, the bedspread was pale, we had no headboard and the old, hand-me-down furniture that we had was not nice or big enough. We shared 5 small drawers for all our clothes, which is why clothes were always in stacks in our closet or elsewhere around the room. The blinds were cream, metal mini-blinds that were permanently bent by our cats and we often feared for our lives whenever the wobbly fan was on. There was even a white utility table set up in there for random things like laptops, crafts, clothes or to hold the bathroom tiles. Ugly. I still can't believe we lived this way for 8 years.
I wasn't planning on making any transformation any time soon, but for my birthday I decided to get a comforter set since we'd never really had one. I got this one from (for like $70!) and immediately loved it. We all of a sudden felt so grown up. But since it was black-ish and somewhat masculine, I decided we needed a little bit more of a feminine color on the wall. That's when our Sherwin-Williams paint sample book and little Behr samples came into play. We ended up with a light purple which I love (Jared's okay with it too). It's a very relaxing bedroom color, I highly recommend it. The bathroom is two shades darker. We even got purple sheets and purple towels. Love 'em.
After the bedspread and paint we had to replace the blinds and ceiling fan, which are huge improvements. I love the bamboo blinds. We even got new laundry hampers that make laundry sorting and washing way easier. This shot shows the non-wobbly fan that I would not have wanted to live without these last few months of pregnancy. Also note that the blinds are partially transparent, which means that people can see in at night if they really want to be peeping Toms, but our room is in the back corner of our house so if that happens--creepy!Then it was time to get some real furniture. We finally have a place for all of our clothes. Not really a novel idea for most people, I'm sure, but for us this step has been monumental. Our room is way easier to keep clean now that we have a spot for everything and I actually like spending time in there now, not to mention it's the best fan in the house now. I can't believe how much I love it all! Now just imagine a little co-sleeper in there in the not too distance future...

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Happy Birthday Jared!

Today is Jared's birthday! I thought I would be nice and get the kids breakfast for a change and make him breakfast in bed. We had one of his favorite dinners, taco pie, with corn on the cob, opened presents and homemade cards from the kids, and then some of our friends came over for delicious ice cream cake. I was planning to buy the cake but it was like $25! I love Jared, but evidently not that much. Instead I made an ice cream sandwich, Oreo and Fudge cake and it was a hit, even though Jared couldn't eat all of the chocolate parts.

Despite the weirdness about not liking chocolate, Jared is great and here are a few reasons why:

He can figure out how to fix almost anything and has the persistence to keep trying until he does. It always amazes me when he installs a garage door opener, hangs a door, fixes the plumbing, builds a fence or repairs a car--basically when he does things that I would have given up on long ago and spent thousands of dollars on. He is smart and, even though I get a glazed over look on my face whenever he starts talking about software engineering, he is an expert at it. He's always been willing to go to work to provide for his family so that I can stay home, lay on the couch and try to keep our offspring alive. He paid for 6 1/2 years of my architecture school and supported me in all my demanding and crazy endeavors. He still does.

He peels my oranges so I don't have to get my hands all yucky, he folds burritos so nothing falls out of them, he's the best egg and omelet maker around, he can pick fruit like no other, he's the dead rodent cleaner-upper, the garbage taker-outer, the bare-hand bug catcher (ever seen the karate kid?) and that's not all; he's also a ketchup connoisseur.

Yep, he's the kind of guy who would drive 30 minutes out of his way and fish through the trash to find my wallet that I accidentally threw away on Memorial Day. I blame pregnesia--I had thrown it in our Quizno's bag and forgot about it. But he found it for me a day later and saved me an obnoxious trip to the DMV.

He is a great dad and loves his kids. He is interested in their lives, can laugh about them with me and is the fun dad that all kids deserve. He is happy-go-lucky and willing to help those around him. He loves to do things around the house while I am gone just so that I will be surprised when I come home; and I always am. He's willing to listen to me ramble and at least he acts like he is interested. And he's supplied endless foot rubs and shoulder rubs to me--daily, without me even asking. I love that he is athletic, in shape and good at almost every sport. And one last thing, I think he looks great in his first pair of glasses--they are very modern.

Surely the list could go on and on, but just so you know, I think my husband is fabulous and I am so grateful to be the one to share my life with him. Happy Birthday J-rod!!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Baby Update

I guess I have three more days until my due date, I just saw it on my blog--that's how I know. Yesterday I went to the doctor, as well as about 150 other expecting mothers, waited in the waiting room for an hour and a half and had a quick 5 minute appointment (and I had the earliest appointment). He checked me and said I am 2 cm dilated, which is always a good sign--sorry if this is TMI. All afternoon and evening I was having a lot of contractions. It got to the point that Jared and I really thought the baby would come in the middle of the night or today. It was enough of a push to get us to clean our whole house, do three loads of laundry and finally think about packing a hospital bag. You would think I was using "labor" as an excuse to get Jared to help me clean the house, but really I was too embarrassed to have our nighttime person come over to see the mess. Its effects have all but been reversed today however. Anyway, I determined that the two most important items to bring to the hospital are Chapstick and nail clippers--there's nothing more annoying than a hangnail, except maybe chapped lips. I just now thought of a pony tail holder too--my bag is really small, it's more like a pocket. There's probably other stuff I should bring too, but somehow nothing else seems as pressing. And in case you are wondering, those contractions stopped. Now I am just embarrassed that I called the nighttime friend at 11 pm to tell her "this might be it".