Thursday, July 24, 2014

The end of an era

Ten years ago I graduated from BYU with a degree in Marriage, Family, and Human development. I spent another two years in Provo working as a cook for a residential treatment center while Matt finished up his schooling. Eight years ago he graduated and the two of us, pre-kids, moved to Texas because he was offered a job with Raytheon as a software engineer. A place I would have never expected to live. Remote from family. 

Over the next few years we figured out our infertility issues and had a few kids. After we had Walter, I really felt the sting of being away. Away from family. Away from friends. I felt very isolated. A little crazy. Matt wasn't really enjoying his job much at that point, and so I began trying to find a way out. I had one of my friends inquire at her software engineering husband's work if they were hiring. Before we knew what was happening, he had a job offer. It was a tough decision, but after going to the Temple and praying about it, Matt just felt it wasn't the right time or the right job.  There was no way we'd be able to sell our house in the condition it was in, so we turned down the job offer and set to work on our house. That was at the end of 2010. We put so much work into that house. All of it after hours when the kids were asleep. Matt tiled and put in a wood floor. I painted and painted and painted. In 2012 we were finally at a point where we could sell. Good thing too since I felt we were busting at the seams with our 3rd baby.  I never really felt like McKinney was my home for the rest of my life.

With no new job prospects, and Matt feeling relatively good about his job, we decided to sell and buy in the area. We moved to a smaller town just north of McKinney and I fell in love. I finally decided that this was it. This was where we were going to live for the next 20 years of our lives. I decided to start living the life that was waiting for me rather than wishing for the life I had planned.

I loved the little community we moved to. The streets were wide. The homes were beautiful. The people were friendly. If felt safe and comfortable, and it felt like home. Sure the summers here sucked, but we had a pool 300 feet away! It was doable. I walked Dean to school every day, rain or shine because we lived in the perfect location. Whereas it was difficult to find piano students in McKinney, students just landed in my lap here. Overnight I had upwards of 16 students. I was busy, to be sure, but it was a good busy. This was my most talented group of kids yet.

I have loved the friends I've made in our church and on my street. I was settled. I knew what to expect.

I had my 4th child out here and was just getting back into my teaching groove, planning out my studio for the fall, when Matt asks, "What would you think about moving to Provo?"  A company had contacted him through Linkedin. Um...? Yeah? That would be cool. I mean, to live near 2 sisters would be pretty awesome. He decided to at least look into the opportunity, not really knowing if it would bring about anything. What happened next felt like a whirlwind. He had three interviews, and within as many weeks we were saying yes to their offer. It was not a decision we made lightly. Texas has been good to us. Raytheon has been good to us. While there have been bumps along the road, it has been a good journey overall.

There was a promise of something new yet familiar. A promise of family. We'd be within a day's drive of both of our parents, a 30 min drive of two of my sisters, and a 40 min. drive from his brother.

So all of a sudden we had two weeks to get our house on the market and another two weeks to move. We worked our little tails off to get our house ready. I'm still not sure how we did it. So much work. So many kids! =) We were tired, very tired, but we listed last Monday. And no one came to see it until Friday. Let me tell you, it's a little stressful working so hard to get it ready and to keep it ready to not have anyone even LOOK at it! And then one family came to see it. I was bummed, to be sure, that only one family had seen it in the whole week. But then on Sat. night we got an email from our Realtor saying we had an offer for our asking price! Praise the Lord it was a miracle! Seriously. I have no doubt that the Lord's hand was in this.


And that brings us to the present. Tomorrow is Matt's last day on site at Raytheon. We have next week to celebrate Walter's 5th birthday, Matt's 33rd birthday, and then we pack everything up and head west for a new adventure.

Friday, June 06, 2014

Wrapping up the school year

Today was Dean's last day of Kindergarten. He had a cute little performance with the rest of the kindergarteners. Unfortunately he was sitting in the very front row rather than standing like most of the other kids. I couldn't see him for the first 3 songs so I wiggled my way to a place in the back (the cafeteria was PACKED) so I could see him. They had largest class ever in our school district.   Anyway, as I'm going through his portfolio, there is a plant journal from when they planted seeds at school. I can't stop laughing.

Day 1: it is not groing ol I see is soel. (It is not growing, all I see is soil).
Day 2: still it is not groing.
Day 3: still not groing.
Day 4: I thenke it is ded. (I think it is dead). (On this page he has a drawing of a container with soil, and three people frowning, standing with word bubbles saying, "I Thenk it is ded."
Day 5: it is stil not groing.
Day 6: it is stil not groing.
Day 7: it is stil not groing.
Day 8: stil not groing
Day 9: stil not groing (on this page he has a picture of a pretty flower in a pot labled "Dolltin"--a kid in his class-- and one pot that is just gray dirt that says, "Dean") haha
Day 10: it is ded (and has a picture of a bot with soil and a person standing there frowning.

And as I'm going through his daily journal, nearly every page has to do with legos. Here are some examples:

"This weekend I want to play with legos."
"Over the weekend I playd with legos."
"When it is cool outside I pla with legos."
"I like spring because I can bild my favorit set"
"My favorite song is lego star wors. I like the toon."
"I love my bruther because I can play legos with him. I like to bild with him."
"I am happy when I hav legos."
"On a sunny day I like to play with legos."
"My favorite presint ever was legos because I like bilding."
"I love winter becuase we hav a brak and I can play with legos."
"My favorite thing to do with my mom is play. I like to play legos with hr."
Maybe the best one: "I wish people would stop mesing with my legos." with a picture of a frowning person labled "me" and a smiling person with a lego ship labled "Walter."
"If I could rule the world, I would bi ol the Lego ses I want." (I would buy all the lego sets I want.)
"If I couldn't sleep I'd play with legos. I can bild."

It goes on and on like that until recently when Matt introduced the boys to one of his computer games, Terraria.

"Over the long weekend I playd trerea. I like trerea because I can bild." Then the lego entries resume. =)

The most interesting entry is: "If I had an evil step mother I would bi u wand. Then I would put a spel on hr to mak hr goud."

Though I also like, "I hope I wil learn dvisin in first grade." with a picture of a math problem he drew that says, 5/2= 2 1/2

We had a good last day of school/first day of summer. We went to a park to play and have a picnic. The boys got to play computer and watch TV while Edward and Vivian napped. And I went through the entire year's worth of paper work and threw out tons of things and kept about a 2 in. binder of their best stuff each.  Then we went to the pool and came home to make pizza. Well, I made pizza and the boys played the computer with Matt. They have been playing a game that he is currently playing called Terreria. It's been fun to hear them so engaged in something Matt enjoys.

Life with 4

Vivian is now 2.5 months old. She is super cute, fun, and smiling often. She sleeps quite well at night getting up only once or twice and sleeping for about 12 hours total. She still prefers sleeping on me in the ergo carrier during the day. For the most part that works out well. Sometimes it makes it difficult for me to clean or want to clean or play with the other kids. Sometimes I still feel like I'm pregnant but with a detachable baby! Our biggest struggle is that she is sensitive to me eating dairy. My doctor says he doesn't put much stock in that, but she is definitely much fussier the day after I've eaten dairy. I've been almost 100% dairy free for a month and a half, but sometimes I just give in and eat a little on my taco or a small piece of pizza or just a slice of cheese. I will be happy when I can go back to eating it again.  I absolutely love holding her and talking to her. I love hearing her coos and happy sounds. Her face always lights up when I repeat back the sounds she's made. She is such a lightweight compared to my boys at this stage.  She was 10 lbs. at her 2 mo. check up. I think Walter was 14 or something like that. Edward is still in love with her and she really brightens his mood.  Sometimes he'll even take her pacifier out so he can comfort her! haha. She does have a little dimple but I have yet to capture it on camera.

This priceless gem of a photo reminds me so much of the pics I'd get of Dean. He'd have the funniest faces.

How her hair looks if I don't comb it after a bath...
I love this one because you can see her cute little neck.
His poor little swollen face.
Edward had kind of a scary thing happen this week. Last Monday I noticed his face swelling near his eyes. He looked like a little alien, poor guy. It was a holiday so we took him to the ER (Urgent care was closed) and they gave him a steroid shot. The next day we went to the pediatrician and he got a perscription for an oral steroid as well as an antibiotic for a double ear infection. We're still not sure if the swelling was a result of the ear infections or if he had an allergic reaction to milk. He's had a rash hang around the past week on his arms and legs, and he's been scratching his head and dumping water on it to give him relief. Hopefully we can get in to do allergy testing soon.

Last week while I was feeding Vivian, Edward decided he wanted to do his hair. He got a chair from the kitchen and pulled it into my bathroom all by himself. With the help of about half of a bottle of bedhead manipulator and lots of chunks of my deodorant, he achieved this look. He was so proud of himself. I got there right in time to intercept the toothpaste. =)  He is such a helpful and happy boy. He really brightens my days.

As I was writing this Edward took it upon himself to get a snack of applesauce. He ate nearly half a bottle of applesauce and I think the rest ended up on the floor and his body. He's currently "skating" on the applesauce. Guess that needs to be cleaned up. haha.

One morning after we dropped Dean off at school (the last week of kindergarten!), we went for a little walk with Ed and Walter in the stroller and Vivian strapped to me. When we passed a house with 3 cars Walter said, "that house has 3 cars! Now that is unexpected." I don't know why, but that just made me smile. He's really hitting a good age. 3 - 4.5 was pretty hard, but he's mellowing out and not nearly as angry. He's taking more responsibility with getting himself dressed and using the restroom by himself. He even asked to hold Vivian yesterday for the first time!  He's really quite a sweetie.  He graduated from preschool at the end of May.  We just loved his teacher Ms. Ellen. Dean had her his first year at Little Saints. We loved the staff and administrators there. I will miss seeing them every day, though I won't miss driving into McKinney twice a day, 4 days a week!! I will be happy to have Walter and Dean at the same school next year.

At muffins for mother's day
The girls were oohing and ahing over Vivian.
They did a special dance.

Field day sponge throwing

And Field day ball bouncing with a parachute
The lovely Ms. Ellen.
One of the moms made these awesome custom cupcakes to match each student's face, eyes and hair. Amazing.

 One day after dinner when Matt was mowing, I had the boys out doing chalk drawings of trucks. They decided to take a break and roll down our hill. It was so funny and reminded me of rolling down the hills at Pioneer Park when I was little. Something magical about turning in circles.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

A few more of the babe

Last Saturday my old neighbors came for a couple of hours and took some pictures of Vivian at 1 week old. He's an amateur photographer and had purchased some new things when they had their baby 3 months ago and was willing to share his time and talent with us. It was fun to try and figure out how to make the shots work. He got some fun and good pictures out of it.

This week has been good. Full of ups and downs for sure. While my parents left, I haven't really been back into the full swing of things yet. My visiting teachers and home teacher and compassionate service leader brought us dinners Monday through today which was very helpful. I have been surprised at how tired I've been.  Driving into Walter's preschool really does me in. I've always been a bit narcoleptic in the car and being newborn sleep deprived makes me so much sleepier. By the time I go in and come back, I am ready for a nap! Vivian was not very fond of the stop and go traffic we encountered one day, and as she was crying, Walter plugged his ears and said, "It was a lot more peacefuller before we had that baby!" haha.

Edward is absolutely in love with "the baby" as he calls her. He wants to hold her, wants to read to her, wants to show her things. He really just wants to include her in everything. It is so cute. He melts my heart. The other boys love her too and are very gentle with her, but there is just something so earnest about the way that Edward includes her.

I'm trying to let go of the idea that things need to get done and just allow myself to be with my kids while I can. She requires a lot of my attention and I want to give as much love and attention to the other kids as I can so they know I still love them too. I'm glad I have a full month off of lessons still. Not quite sure how that's going to all go down when it's time to start back up, but I know the Lord will help strengthen me and things will work out in the end.

Friday, March 21, 2014

39 weeks 2 days: Announcing Vivian Tess

She's a little swollen from delivery and hadn't been washed off yet.
Well, I never thought it would happen, but I had my baby early!

The quick stats:
Vivian Tess
Born Saturday, March 15, 2014, 4:16am
7 lbs 1 oz
20 1/2 in.

This, my friends, is the long version with lots of details you probably hadn't cared to hear, but I'm going to tell anyway because this is my blog.

It was spring break all last week for my boys. The weather warmed up and we were able to play outside a lot. It was a really good week. Matt had extra time left over from his business trip, so he planned to take Friday off so we could have a family fun day before the break was over. Friday rolled around and the boys had been begging to go bowling, so off we went.  I didn't actually bowl, but I helped Walter and Edward with the ramp.  We let them bowl 2 games and then we went to Taco Bell for lunch. That was our wild spring break fling. =)

I hadn't done a whole lot of cooking or grocery shopping over break, because let's face it, grocery shopping with 3 rambunctious boys ages 6, 4, and 2 is about as fun as poking yourself in the eye with a needle. So, dinner ended up being left over taco bell and peanut butter sandwiches and isagenix shakes with spinach to help round it out.  I promised myself I'd go shopping on Saturday.

Friday happened to be pi(e) day (3.14). Now, I've never actually made pie for pi day, but after I put the boys to bed, I set out to make a blueberry pie since that was the only kind of pie I had all the ingredients for. It was topped with custard and a strudel crumble. It came out of the oven around 10 and I stayed up till 10:30 to let it cool enough to eat some. Yum. It was really good. I got to bed around 11.

40 weeks at home
Matt stayed up gaming, and as he came into bed around 1 am, I was getting out of bed with contractions.  I figured it was a false alarm, unsure if it was really contractions. They were different than what I had had with Edward. With him the doctor stripped my membranes and I had two days of contractions that weren't productive or painful since he was sitting posterior.  Anyway, back to Vivian's birth. Matt plugged the cameras in to charge before he went to bed since they were both dead, just in case. He told me to go back to bed thinking we had 2 days more to go. So I laid there until about 1:40.  At that point I couldn't sleep so I got up and turned on my computer to time my contractions. When I started timing they were about 4 min. apart. Within 1 hour they were hard enough that I was kneeling on the side of a chair through the contractions and they were less than 3 min. apart.

At that point (2:40ish) I started getting dressed to go to the hospital and tried to pack up the last of my bag in between contractions. I woke Matt up and told him we needed to go to the hospital. I tried calling our neighbors who had offered to help, but got no answer (of course, since it was nearly 3am). So Matt went over and knocked on their front (bedroom) window like he instructed.  Brother Clarke came out and gave Matt a double high five and said he'd be right over. He got dressed and came over as chipper as could be. We left our house at 3:15.

Because I had 2 previous c-sections (read Dean's story here, and Walter's story here), not many doctors would take me on as a vbac candidate. I found an amazing doctor, Dr. Cummings, an hour from me who specializes in such deliveries. I delivered Edward with him (read his story here) and have been seeing him for this pregnancy as well. So, off we went to the hospital an hour away, passing a different hospital on our way.  I listened to my birthing music on the way with headphones cranked up loudly. My contractions were coming every 2-3 minutes. About 15 min. from the hospital I started getting pretty worried. The contractions were coming hard and fast. I pretty much moaned and screamed the last 10 min. of the drive. I knew I was close. While I didn't know it, I was in transition labor. The car was hot. The seat belt was too tight and low. I kept telling Matt to run red lights (he only ran 1 that switched right as we got there). He mostly stayed about 10-15 mi. over the speed limit. He didn't realize how close I really was.

When we got to the hospital, he got out and went in without me (and I was like, "hey, what about me??") to get a wheel chair and let them know I was coming. I got out and walked in and could barely get into the wheel chair because the baby was so low. I was screaming and moaning still, and I think I was embarrassing Matt a little that I was being so loud. They asked how far apart my contractions were and Matt said, "Oh, about a min. Maybe less?"  The lady at the front desk quickly called back to let them know I was on my way, and wheeled me to the L&D while Matt stayed behind to get me checked in. They took me right back to a room where a wonderful nurse April (who also helped deliver Edward) was waiting for me. I furiously stripped off my underclothes and stayed in my skirt and bra. She tried to listen to the baby's heart beat but had a hard time getting anything because she was so low. I was hanging on her, moaning and hugging her. She was awesome.

She had me lay down on the bed to check how dilated I was. I was at an 8 with a floppy lip of the cervix left and my water hadn't broken yet.  When she was done I got up and said I needed to go to the bathroom. She told me I couldn't go sit on the toilet and assured me it was the baby coming down instead. She said to squat on the side of the bed. I did and immediately told her I needed to push! And push I did. She then said my water broke. In less than a minute my wonderful doctor, who happened to be on call, walked in ready to catch the baby. I pushed again. He told me I was really close and needed a good, constant push.  Matt walked in and held my hand from across the bed. I gave him another good push. They said they had her head out but there was a nuchal chord around her face since came so fast, so he got her untangled and told me to give him one more good push. I did and immediately felt a gush, felt her body slip out, and felt such relief.  It was AWESOME!  I heard Matt say, "Well, it really is a girl!"  We got to the hospital at 4:04 and I delivered her at 4:16 am! No tearing, no episiotomy, no c-section, no complications. I was sooooooooo grateful to have my second vaginal delivery after having had 2 c-sections and being told that doctors just won't do vbacs after multiple cesarean sections. I feel so blessed to have found such a wonderful doctor who was willing to let me do what I wanted. He is retiring in June, so I am glad that we feel like we're done at this point. Anyway...

a few hours after delivery after she'd been cleaned up
They had me lay in the bed since I had been standing/squatting by the bed during her delivery.  They laid her on me immediately and it was just amazing. I couldn't believe it.  Not long after they weighed and measured her in the room with me. 7 lbs. 1 oz. and 20 1/2 in. long. My smallest baby yet! =) I delivered the placenta and that was that really. They let her stay with me the whole time and she never left the room. She nursed and latched really well. I didn't get to do that with Dean or Walter being c-sections, and Edward was so sleepy he didn't want to nurse! We stayed in that room with her in a bassinet next to me until after shift change. I didn't have an IV or anything, so they gave me a shot of pitocin in my thigh.

After I delivered Edward last time, I passed out probably 6 times over the next 24 hours. The nurses remembered this and made sure to have ammonia handy and an extra person walking me to and from the bathroom the first few times, just in case. I didn't pass out once! It was great. I felt great.

I had been group b strep positive when they tested me at 36 weeks, so because I didn't have time to get the antibiotics during delivery, they had to keep us for 48 hours (which was really longer since I had to wait for the doctors to be discharged) to observe her.

Matt stayed with me until I changed rooms and then he went home to the boys. It was hard not having a phone or a computer or internet access to update everyone. We called my parents at 5:30 am their time to let them know I'd had the baby. They quickly searched for flights and decided it would be better to just drive. So they spent Saturday getting ready, rented a car, and left on Sunday. They arrived on Monday seriously 2 min. after we got home from the hospital. Perfect timing. Matt brought the boys once on Sunday to see us. Edward kept waving and saying in a high pitched voice, "oooooh. Cute. Hi baby." Dean just wanted to rock her and sing "Rock-a-bye baby", and Walter just wanted to see her from a distance, not wanting to hold or touch her. He warmed up and eventually said she was "so cute and tiny" but still maintained a bit of a distance.

It was hard not having internet access or phone or computer to update everyone. But we made it home on Monday afternoon.  My parents walked in my door seriously 2 minutes after we got home from the hospital. They have been SAINTS! My kids have loved every minute of having them here. They have played hard every day. They've helped clean my house, take care of my kids, they've taken care of me, and it has been wonderful.  It was my mom's birthday today and we had fun celebrating together. I am so blessed to have come from such wonderful parents, blessed to have such wonderful and supportive friends and neighbors and ward, blessed to have such amazing kids. I am blessed to have experienced birth the way I wanted to. Blessed to have a wonderful husband. Blessed to know that it doesn't get much better than this.

Edward is her biggest fan among the brothers
A bit of a sleep smile

Happy 65th birthday to my beautiful mom!