Friday, August 31, 2012

Baby Update

Marissa has said some really funny things lately.

One day as she was putting on her shoes I said, "Marissa, you have more shoes than any of the kids in this family." She responded, "Yeah, and more friends too." This is probably true. She is a very social creature and happens to have swarms of 4 year old girls living around her. Lucky duck.

Then the other day she was sounding out some "at" words that Alex had brought home from school. "f-a-t, FAT! That's just like you mommy!" I love the brutal honesty of kids this age. This, in fact, is very true as well.

I'm 8 1/2 months pregnant fat. Just an update on the pregnancy. I have been feeling pretty good, all things considered. That being said, I definitely feel the effects of being this pregnant. First and foremost, I am at least 20 degrees hotter than any other normal human and can't wait for the cooler temperatures to hit. This is bad because 1) summer has been sooo hot and 2) I only have two pairs of maternity shorts that I rotate and occasionally wash. And if anyone thinks I am buying any clothes while I'm pregnant, they'd be dead wrong. Luckily, Jared installed 3 ceiling fans in the upstairs bedrooms so at least I have some relief at night. Then there's all the other little pregnancy issues:  heartburn, having to pee all the time, waddling, leg cramps, being uncomfortable, not being able to bend over (shave, put on shoes, etc.) and just being extra tired. I can handle it for a few more weeks. But I have decided that the only purpose of the 9th month is to make you so miserable that you will do anything, even labor, to end it.

At 34 weeks I confirmed my suspicions about the position of the baby--breech. While I could feel her moving, I knew that she hadn't changed position in over 5 weeks. She was definitely head up. Even though I was only 34 weeks, I have always been more paranoid about it based on my past experiences. I found out Erin was breech at 37 weeks (they never checked before) and had to have a C-section. Alex was breech at 32 weeks (they did check) but turned by 34 weeks. Marissa was breech at 32 weeks and still breech at 34, so they did an eternal version--and she turned! The doctor I see now would do an external version, but not until 39 weeks (which in my opinion is too late because of how big the baby would be by then). To say the least, I was freaking out about it. I know lots of people have multiple C-sections and they survive, I just really, really didn't want another one if I could help it. My experience between the two have been night and day.

I did some research and found that one reason for breech babies is a misaligned pelvis, which I totally have! Anyway, at that point I started doing everything I could to turn her:  laying upside down on an ironing board, rocking back and forth, blah blah blah, and going to the chiropractor for a special Webster technique that is supposed to turn breech babies (but did nothing for Erin when I tried it then). I was willing to try anything this time. Finally, Jared and I fasted about it and even though I still didn't know her position, I finally felt completely calm about the whole thing. By my next appointment, she was head down and is still very much so (as my bladder can attest). I am so happy about it!

I don't feel ready at all to have a baby. I was so concerned about getting the kids into school that I didn't give myself time to think about it until now. And for some reason I have the urge to work on a million other house projects besides things that might actually prepare me for a baby. How does getting new pillows for the living room prepare me, for example? It's like nesting gone haywire. Hopefully I will be prepared when it finally does come. And also, I hope I can survive with 5 kids.

Back to School

I got half of my kids into school last week. I am still working on the adjustment. I feel a little scattered right now trying to figure out what to do with two little kids. I think I just sent my two most helpful children to school and am left with the two most needy ones. I'll figure this out. I think it'll be good for Marissa to be the oldest child for a while and seeing her and Connor play so much is really good for them. It really reminds me of Erin and Alex about four years ago. They were such good little buddies.

Here they are on the first day of school. 
 The bus is crazy this year. Last year there were 9 boys and Erin. This year there are probably 25-30 kids at this one stop, and luckily Erin isn't the only girl this time.
Erin is going into third grade and knows a few kids from our ward and from last year in her class, so I'm relieved about that. She seems to like her teacher and riding the bus and walking home with Alex. A new girl her age just moved in 2 doors down and they are becoming friends. It is such a relief to have a friend for her and not just for the little kids. Why do I worry about it so much anyway?
Alex's first day picture. You know how there's some clothes that when your kids wear them you think, "Next time that goes through the wash I'm going to make it magically disappear?" This was one of those outfits... and he was so set on wearing it on the first day! He really does have nice clothes, but I didn't want to hurt his feelings by making him change. Oh well.
Alex is going into first grade. It had been a long time in coming, but we finally knew that he would be able to skip kindergarten only 4 days before school started. Crazy! We wanted this for him for so many reasons. Here's the story. Our other three kids have June birthdays, but Alex's is in October. This meant that he should have been three years behind Erin and only one year ahead of Marissa, which never seemed right for him or our family. Even when he was little, I always wished his birthday was earlier and Jared always wanted him to be a grade higher. In every way (except his birthday) he has acted like he was two years younger than Erin and two years older than Marissa.

Believe me, I have thought long and hard about the ramifications of sending him early. He'll be younger, drive later, date later, have one more year in the work force, go on his mission later, etc. It will affect his life in so many ways. Not only that, but I've noticed more and more people holding their kids back, especially when they have summer birthdays and more especially when they are boys. There is a very interesting article about "red-shirting", as they call it, that talks about some of the reasons why this is happening as well as the growing discrepancy of low-income kids (who don't often have the choice to hold kids back) and higher-income kids. Based on this, we are definitely going against the trend. But it also says that kids will most likely turn out the same either way.

Another thing to consider were the neighborhood kids. There are about 20 kids, mostly boys, entering kindergarten this year in our little area alone--and only two first graders. So this was a big consideration as well. Would he not be able to be friends with these kids if we sent him to a grade higher than all of them? But then again, Alex was way further ahead of them in so many ways. He'd been reading for two years, he would ask to do Erin's second grade math sometimes and he has always been a very mellow, well-behaved child. It made absolutely no sense for him to be going into kindergarten to learn about letters and shapes.

In February I was talking to Jared's cousin, who is a teacher, about it and she recommended that we test him for first grade. I don't know that it would have crossed my mind before talking to her. I called the school, expecting them to say that they don't do that, but they said, "Okay, we'll put him on the list to be tested." I have been thinking and praying about this for 6 months hoping that it would work out. Oh, did I mention that this child never had a day of pre-school (mostly due to our moves)? I just had him do workbooks at home and he loved it. We put him in a private kindergarten over the summer because I wanted him to be able to say that he went to kindergarten. He loved that too.

So the week before school, the psychologist finally called us and had him come in for the (two hour) academic test. He had to be testing at least midway through first grade before they'd consider it. He did great. Then they did some sort of IQ test a couple days later and he passed that with no problem as well. We then met with the principal and got the go ahead. Phew! I know it's kind of a long story, but I honestly have felt so strongly about this for so long that I wanted to remember it. He loves school a lot and it seems to be easy for him. This is definitely the right place for him and I am so grateful it worked out (even though they put him in a class with 3 Alexanders!--I know, our fault for naming him such a popular name.)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

10 Year Anniversay!

Last week marked 10 years of marriage for us. It's crazy to think that we are still in our twenties, yet we've been married for so long. Weird. Here's the summary:

10 Years of Marriage
9 New Bikes and Scooters
8 States we've been to together (or so)
7 (and a half) years of school between the two of us
6 Callings for each of us (give or take a couple)
5 Amazing kids (almost...almost 5 not almost amazing)
4 Different addresses
3 Cars
2 Cats (who are no longer with us)
1 Wonderful life together!

We wanted to go somewhere to celebrate, but I didn't want to be 8 months pregnant when we went, so the trip ended up being at the beginning of June. We were able to leave our kids with my parents (thank you!) and fly to San Diego. Why San Diego? Good question. We had free flights, so we wanted to fly somewhere, but we didn't want to be flying forever either. We thought about going on a cruise out of California, but I realized that we could spend a lot less if we just flew to San Diego and stayed there. Maybe another year for the cruise.

Day 1
The first day, we flew in, rented a car and went to the San Diego temple. It is always good to go to the temple, and that one is so interesting and beautiful.

After that we drove out to La Jolla where we ate, walked along the beach and saw random seals laying on the rocks there. That was really cool to see.
Later that day we went to Old Town and went through the Mormon Battalion museum. It was actually really interesting to know the history there and it was pretty entertaining as well. I would recommend going there.

Afterwards, we stuffed ourselves at a Mexican restaurant and I got serenaded by a Mexican with a guitar.

You would think our day would have been over by then, but for some reason we ended up at the mall near our hotel and decided to watch a late movie. Somehow, Jared convinced me to see The Avengers and somehow, the seats didn't recline enough for me to get comfortable while I was sleeping through it. It was probably a pretty good movie, all things considered, but I was soooo tired and couldn't make it through. Jared enjoyed it anyway.

Day 2
The next morning we went to Sea World. We had a really good day there and saw every single show (besides one kid show). The shows really are entertaining and so worth it to see. We walked a lot, more than we would have if we had had our kids there. I'm sure they would have loved it, but was so nice to be without kids for a change.
For some reason, we had to try on hats (a tradition that started years ago at Disney World)
 The amazing animals! So entertaining.
 Jared went on the roller coaster Manta (he's somewhere on that ride)...
...while I looked at (and touched) these.
That night we ate fish tacos and became repeat customers at this awesome frozen yogurt place. Yummy!

Day 3
We spent a lot of the next day at Balboa Park. This place is an amazing conglomerate of museums, gardens and cultural experiences. We found out that our Thanksgiving Point memberships let us into certain other museums around the country, including here. We walked a lot trying to find the right museums and kept thinking we were at the right one, when we weren't. We eventually found the right ones and went through an art museum, a natural history museum and (our favorite) a science and technology museum. This one was so fun because it had these blocks to build with, really fun interactive displays and grossology, a room about all the gross things the human body does. I couldn't believe they actually had that display, but it definitely made us laugh.
At the museum making our towers
For lunch we met one of Jared's friends and his wife for lunch on the bay. I know, I didn't think Jared had any friends either, at least not good enough to call up and go to lunch with. I was impressed.  It was one of the guys at Motorola that was part of their lunch group back in the day. Good times.

That night we walked along the beach, but it was so cold that we didn't last long. Jared also ate the best cheeseburger he'd ever had at some shop near the beach. This is significant because he usually doesn't rave about food like that, like ever. Things are good, but food is mainly something that helps to keep him alive more than something to be talked about and thoroughly enjoyed like this was.

Since the beach was so cold, we soaked in the hot tub at our hotel instead, even me. I know they say not to go into hot tubs while pregnant and that my child may be deformed due to my belligerent behavior, but it sure felt good. It was more like taking a bath anyway.

Aug. 10
On our actual anniversary, we went out to eat and then painted pottery. It was really fun, but I tell you, it's harder than it looks to make something that looks really cool. I wanted to make the inside of my bowl fade from red to yellow, but it only sort of worked. The outside wasn't supposed to end up looking like the Wonder Bread package either, but it did. Oh well. I loved the way Jared's vase turned out. We just may have to go again some time.
Happy Anniversary Jared! I love you so much and wouldn't want to imagine my life without you. Side note:  when we first got married, we set goals for our life, short term as well as long term. We have actually accomplished just about everything we wanted to do (both of us going back to school, buying a house, having 2 boys and 2 girls, moving back to Utah, and getting a new cat--that one really was on the list. Instead of getting a new cat, we just got rid of the ones we had, close enough). The only thing was, we only went up to 10 years. It seemed so far distant back then. Now what? I guess it's time to think of some new ones, eh?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Erin's Baptism

Erin got baptized on June 30th. I got her a pretty white dress and we took some pictures at the Mt. Timpanogos Temple to remember the occasion. It was really sunny and really hot and we were kind of in a hurry. And I forgot the stroller in the car, meaning I was a hot, pregnant lady carrying a crying two year old while trying to take pictures. These are the best we got.

 Such a pretty temple and a pretty girl.
 These were the only pictures we got of her on her baptism day, which was also kind of a crazy day.
 Erin and Daddy together before getting baptized.
The family shot, plus one. Erin was so lucky to have her best friend, Clara, at her baptism. She just happened to be visiting from Florida that week (she flew in before her family did). I was so glad that she got to see her again after a year. They picked up like they had never been apart. She got to stay with us for a few days after this too.
Our family shot. Alex and Marissa both look so goofy, I'm not sure why. Marissa also put a band-aid on her chin for some unexplainable and unnecessary reason. And Connor's just a crankster. Gotta love family pictures!

I'm not sure if it's better or worse getting baptized in Utah vs. Florida. In Florida, she would have had her own special service, which would have been cool, but we would have had to plan everything. Here, there were so many kids in our stake getting baptized in June alone that they had to divide it into two different services. There were four from our ward alone. (I bet the water was pretty dirty with all those sins!) They planned everything, gave the talks, provided the musical number and pretty much just told us when to be there. That was nice. It was a little long because we had to wait for the font to be available, and then the confirmations were in the chapel but with no microphone so we couldn't hear a thing. I'm pretty sure it was a good blessing though. Erin was the only one from our ward that didn't have to get dunked twice. Way to go!

Even though it was a huge event, it was still such a wonderful time. I felt emotional as I heard the talks and music. It reaffirmed my testimony about the simple ordinances of the gospel. Christ was baptized to be obedient, and so should we. I'm so thankful that Erin made the decision to get baptized. Her grandma got her a baptism book and she wrote about how she felt on that day. The words she wrote were happy, excited, nerves and scared.

Afterwards, we had a family barbeque at our house. I think there were 32 people there. We were so glad that so many people could come and support her. That wouldn't have been possible in Florida. The next day she got to go up to the stand so that the bishop could introduce the newest members of the ward. It was cool to see all the girls standing up there all wearing white dresses (good thing I got one, right?) I hope it'll be a day she always remembers and that her testimony will continue to grow as she does what is right in the future.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Erin's Birthday!

Yep, I'm a little late on these posts. This was over a month and a half ago. But to remember her big day, here it is. She began by dressing like a butterfly:  butterfly pants, butterfly shirt (long sleeved in the middle of June... but it was apparently the only one with a butterfly on it), butterfly clip in her hair and butterfly wings.
Then we went to buy her scriptures and eat lunch at Arctic Circle where they have free dipped ice cream cones (and fry sauce which my kids still won't eat. They're not officially Utahns until that happens, I say.)
Erin wanted to have a party and had all sorts of plans including swimming and a sleepover, but it wasn't going to happen, partially because she doesn't have a lot of good friends. There are some girls around her age in the neighborhood, but definitely not like the other kids' ages. And she just doesn't branch out much. She might not be friends with everyone, but she will have a few really close friends in her life, which is good too. She usually plays with Alex and his friend next door. I knew I couldn't throw a party if she only wanted to invite three people and one was out of town, and the other she hadn't played with in months. So I let her invite one friend to do Build-A-Bear. Coral was her best friend from school last year and also rode the bus with her. They have played a few times. She lives really close (in the neighboring ward), but she's not next door so it takes more planning.
Erin was so happy to build Lily and be with her friend. The other kids really wanted one too, but those things are pricy. I have to say that it was pretty cool to get to choose everything, but it's probably something they'll only get to do once in their life.
After Build-A-Bear we went to our community pool and we were the only ones there. That was kind of weird, but they had fun.
Erin wanted to decorate her own cake this year which was great for me, just coming off three birthday cakes in the last two weeks. She chose strawberry cake (which is still weird to me... don't these kids know that chocolate is the best flavor???) and used the left over frosting we had from the previous cakes.
This is how it all turned out. It was pretty busy. She wanted an "E" on top of it all. She also did all the cupcakes.


Here she is with her loot. She picked out a sparkly pink scripture bag, got some scripture markers and a small blue quad with her name on it. She was pretty excited to read them at first, but that has waned. At least she has them for the future, right?
I'm so glad she had such a good day. I can't believe that she is already 8. I'm pretty sure that makes me extremely old. She is becoming so mature. She is a great help around the house and with the little kids. She is usually so obedient when I ask her to do something. She has loved learning cursive this summer, but refuses to do anything else, like say, math. She still loves art and says she wants to be an art teacher when she grows up. She has art stations all over the house:  a desk in her room, a table in her room, a table in the play room, the kitchen table, the kitchen counter, the basement table. She loves drawing, coloring, painting, cutting, putting recycling together to make things... pretty much making lots of good messes. But she loves it. She has also really loved reading this summer. She is working her way through all the Magic Tree House books right now and loves any Rainbow Fairy books or Tiara Club books that she can get a hold of that she hasn't read yet. If I try to get her to branch out and read something else, she refuses. I think she wants to finish every book in the series before she moves on. She also loves riding her bike and scooter. Her favorite TV show right now is Good Luck Charlie, which is one that I think is hilarious too so I don't mind. She is really excited about third grade this year and I hope she has a good teacher and good friends. I love this girl! Happy Birthday!