Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Candy Houses

Rather than do one loooong post of this past month's activities, you'll probably see a string of Christmas related posts in the next few days.

Growing up we had a tradition of making graham cracker houses on a Monday night close to Christmas for our Family Home Evening. We would usually watch The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, have more candy than we would see the rest of the year at our disposal, and my parents would help us build our houses while we could decorate any way we wanted. I didn't ever feel very creative, but it was always a lot of fun and something I looked forward to every year.

The boys had a lot of fun. Matt built their houses and the boys decorated (Matt helped Walt with his a little). I built and decorated my own. Dean was a minimalist when it came to decorating. After about 4 starlight candies he said he was finished. I kept promising him he could use more candy! He ended up putting a little more on after my promptings.  Walter ate probably 3 times as much as Dean and put about that much more on his house as well.  He has a sugar tooth for sure! We listened to the Muppet's Christmas Album with John Denver since that was a Christmas fav. for Matt's family. Dean did tell me he didn't like it though. haha. Silly boy.

I think my favorite thing from the whole night was when Matt was asking the boys their favorite feature of their houses, Dean said it was his guns on the roof. Matt asked what the guns did and he said, "They shoot candy at the bad guys and they eat it until their stomachs explode." HAHAHA! Where in the world did he come up with that?? And you know, in America, that might just work as a good form of home security.

Growing up we'd keep our houses on the mantle until the New Year and then we'd eat the candy off of them. It grosses me out just to think about how dusty, stale and old it must have been! But we loved it. I let the boys eat theirs the day after Christmas, and they just ate mine today. I failed to get a picture of mine. Oops.

Their faces in these next four just cracked me up, so I added all of them in even though they're similar. We tried to get a "normal" picture of both of them, but I think we failed on all accounts...unless this is normal. Yeah. I think that's it.

Friday, December 16, 2011

3rd baby 32 weeks

I can't believe how much my belly has grown in 4 weeks!!!! I was looking at my 28 week photos and today's and my belly is so much bigger. I have no idea how I'm still able to jog, but I am, and when I'm by myself I'm still about 9-10 min. miles depending on the day. The body is just an amazing creation I guess. =)

Also, how in the HECK am I going to be able to fit 8 more weeks of baby in this body???? The baby gains 2/3 of their weight in these last 8 weeks. Today I weighed in at 147 (on my home scale w/o clothes, so it would be probably around 150 at the dr. dressed. We'll find out on Monday), so that puts me at 22 lbs. weight gain from my pre-pregnancy weight. I hope I don't have more than 8-10 more pounds to gain since average gain in the last two months is a lb. a week. I guess I'm right about where I was with Walter (maybe slightly bigger belly?), so I'm sure my body can handle it. It just seems so crazy!

For comparison pictures of the last two pregnancies, click here.

Monday, December 05, 2011

The love goes through the umbilical cord

I have had a rough couple of days with Dean (he's been very moody), so it was so refreshing to have a really great afternoon with him. While Walter was asleep I read him some books and we did 3 pages in his reading lessons book (we're 260 something pages into the book!). He was reading so well (yes, he really is reading some and sounding out a lot more at barely 4) and doing everything so cooperatively.

I let him play some computer while I did chores, and a little while later he ended up coming to find me with  word finds he'd printed out from PBS's Word Girl.  The words were things like: Flabbergasted, distracted, coordination, cumbersome, futile, etc. He knew a lot of the definitions and would tell me what each word meant as we went down the list.  He was in SUCH a fantastic mood as we were doing this. He kept giving me hugs and kisses and told me he loved me.  At one point he said, "I want to give the baby a kiss." and he kissed my belly. He then said, "The baby knows that I love him. My love goes through your belly, through the umbilical cord, to the baby, and then the baby knows that I love him. That's how it works. The baby loves me too."  I just love that kid.

The beginning of the Christmas parties

Friday night we went to our first Christmas party at Raytheon. I don't know if they had it previous years and we just didn't go or what. It was pretty low key, but the kids had fun. Walt was enthralled by the electric trains. They decorated cookies and made some crafts, and as we were leaving we got to ride on a little train around the parking lot. Oh yeah, and they got to sit on a motorcycle. They had a good time and were pretty well behaved considering their behavior leading up to the party was less than desirable and the fact that Walter skipped his nap!

We went to a Christmas breakfast fundraiser at Dean's preschool Saturday morning. They'd been up since 6:50, had only had milk, and it was 8:30 by the time we got to the breakfast. They were serving pancakes, sausage, and orange juice.  I thought for sure the boys would both be all over the breakfast since they love pancakes at home and they were both hungry. However, they both took one bite (well, I think Dean may have had three bites) and were done!  I tried getting Walter to eat another bite, and he promptly spit it out onto his plate.  My pancakes are a whole wheat/oat mixture with real maple syrup and they usually have 2 pancakes a piece. I have to admit I was kind of happy to know that they're beyond wanting bisquick-type-white-bread-flavorless-pancakes with the thick fake sugar syrup. On the way home Matt asked if they liked the pancakes and Dean said, "They were not very good."  I used the last of my homemade pancake mix earlier this week, so we came home and I made them an Isagenix shake instead. =) I love Isagenix. I'm glad my boys do too!

It was a little too quiet...

A few days before Thanksgiving it was a little too quite and I wondered what Walter was up to. As I peeked into their bedroom, I found him sitting at his little table with a pile of board books reading to himself. I love that I'm raising book lovers and readers!! His hair, as cute as it was, was getting a little bushy, hence the need for the haircut!!

Saturday, December 03, 2011

A few Thanksgiving pics

Thanksgiving was a great day. I got to go take a nice jog by myself on a crisp foggy morning. The boys were good. I cooked most of the day. Matt did the turkey and I did everything else. We had Turkey, mashed potatoes, fresh homemade wheat bread (Matt prefers it to rolls for leftover turkey and I have to say I agree), cranberry sauce, brined free range turkey (really did make a difference in taste both fresh and leftover, though it was a little drier), green bean casserole, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, and martinelli's. It was yummy. We didn't do much else and it was just our family. All of us got haircuts right before Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

I am thankful for a healthy body!

Before our races
I haven't yet loaded pictures and videos from our actual Thanksgiving day/dinner, which was quite nice, but my friend Kirstin had these pictures from our Believe races today, so I thought I'd post this while it was fresh. This is who I ran the half marathon with in May. Since then she has run a full marathon and is signed up for another on New Year's day. She actually ran the 10K today, and placed first in her age group!

I have totally been looking forward to this 5K race. Sure it's only 3.1 miles, but I was really hoping I could feel good enough to medal. After looking at times from previous races last night, I didn't think that was really going to happen; I just wanted to have a good, solid run for where I am right now in pregnancy.  Last night I spent a couple of hours getting the right playlist, and it turned out to be a great one.

The weather was supposed to be cold and rainy, and when I woke up around 4am I heard rain and just prayed we'd have a brief respite for the race. The weather was lovely, probably the best hour of the day! There wasn't much wind, no rain, and the sun came out. I did have to take off my jacket about 3 seconds into the race though. =) It started turning cold again during the awards ceremony, so I guess my prayer was answered!

I started out around an 8:30 pace and was pretty solid in keeping it. There were a number of hills, something I'm not used to running around my house, so I did have some slight variations in time. I have to say, I love, love, love running with my Garmin. I don't know how I ran without it before!  When I hit the half way point, I started passing people pretty regularly. I may have sped up a little, but I think some of them just started out too fast maybe and were slowing down? Not sure. I had to really focus on keeping my breath even at a couple of points when I started feeling a little constricted, but with little sips of water and concentrating on maintaining my peace and confidence, I never felt like I was pushing it too hard.

Matt and the boys were at the finish to meet me. The last stretch was up a decent hill, so I was a little winded. He did take a video of me coming in so maybe I'll post that when I get it loaded. Matt took the boys home shortly after that, but Kirstin and I wanted to stay for the results.

After our races with our medals
Kirstin saw hers first. She was the 9th woman overall in the 10K and 1st in her category with an 8:07/mi pace!  I was a little surprised to find my name and see that I placed SECOND in my age category!!! I medaled at 30 weeks pregnant! Just think how fast I could be without a little fetus in my belly! It was very empowering. I used to think that I was just a jogger, but I really do think I'd consider myself a runner now. My time was 26:30 for the 3.1 miles which put me at an 8:22/mi. pace. I was pretty happy with that considering that was just as good as my best pre-pregnancy pace in the past year!  We stuck around for the medal ceremony and had someone take our pic. with our medals on. I think I need to learn how to pose for pictures better, though, because I mainly just look like a butterball turkey with some pretty hefty thighs in this! haha. Ah well. At least this Turkey can run. I can say I am very, very thankful for a healthy body. What a blessing.

Friday, November 18, 2011

3 baby 28 weeks

Another month has gone by! Sorry this blog has turned into a baby diary! But this is what is on my mind (and in my body. hehe).   Here we are at 28 weeks. Welcome to the 3rd trimester. I have felt quite good. I can tell the baby is getting much bigger and moves a TON.  You can now easily see when he is moving (like I have an alien life form in me), and the other day Dean goes "I just saw your belly move! I think the baby is walking around!!" I told him he probably didn't have much room to walk, and he said, "Well, maybe he's just doing somersaults then."

While we were playing outside the other day, the boys were being really good and I said something like,

"You know I love you boys."
Dean: "Yeah, and you love the baby too!"
"Of course, he's one of my boys too."
Dean: "Next time we have a baby I hope we have a girl since you're the only girl in our family."
"Yep. I'm the lone girl in a pack of boys."
Dean: "No you're not! You're a happy girl with your favorite boys!"

Well said, Dean. Well said.

Walter often hugs and kisses my belly saying he's giving the baby hugs. So, so cute. Sometimes he leans up against my belly and says he's squishing the baby. haha.

I'm still able to jog. It's been great. I nearly gave up about a month ago when I started having some belly aches, but then my body just seemed to acclimate itself to my belly and I had a renewed sense of strength. I don't really have belly pains, so I figure I'll just keep at it! This morning I ran 3.22 miles in 31 min. (by myself, I'm about a min. slower per mile when I have the boys), so I feel pretty darn good about that. I think I'm going to do the McKinney Believe! 5k run next Saturday. I considered doing the 10K, but I know I can do 3.1 miles without pushing it, and I haven't done anything over 4 mi. in a couple months, so I didn't want to over do it.

Here's a link to what I looked like at 28 weeks with my other two.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Birth affirmations

I am a believer that there is a strong mind/body connection and that what we think influences our bodies' physical response. As I have been reading and trying to prep for this upcoming birth, I have felt a desire to create an affirmation list that I can print out and either read or have someone read to me while I'm in labor. Here's what I've come up with so far. I imagine I will add to it.  I haven't written down who said the quotes I threw in, but I imagine you can google them and find the source. If not, ask me and I'll tell you.

“My body is not a lemon
I am not a machine
The Creator is not a careless mechanic”
My body is not broken.

I am capable.
I am enough.
I am strong.
I am a good mother.
I am happy.
I eat and drink good things.
I am healthy.
I smile and laugh because life is good.
I forgive other people and I am compassionate with myself
I forgive myself for my shortcomings and work to become better each day.
I am a compassionate and loving, caring person.
I have inner peace.
I am resourceful.
I am lovable.
Whatever this birth brings will make me stronger, wiser, and more patient.

This feeling is normal.
This birth is normal.
I am not alone.
I am relaxed.
I am in control.
I am loved.
I am patient.
I am beautiful right now.
My body was made to birth babies.
My body is amazing.
I listen to my body.

“Perfect love casts out all fear”
“The Family is ordained of God.
Families are central to our Heavenly Father’s plan here on earth and through the eternities.”
I have faith in God and His plan for my family and me
I will “discover and treasure the beauty and sweetness of [this birth]”

“In the most beloved story of a baby’s birth, there was no decorated nursery or designer crib—only a manger for the Savior of the world.”

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

My thoughts on my births

Meeting Walter for the first time in the OR
I've probably told some of this in previous posts, but I've been thinking about this a lot lately and felt like it would be cathartic to write it out.

I have had a couple of people ask why I would want to try VBA2C (vaginal birth after 2 cesarean).  When I had Dean, I was sure that it was a life and death situation by the way the doctor was acting. After my 18 hours of labor and c-section with him, all the drugs in my system left me convulsing and I could barely open my eyes (let alone nurse or hold him) when Matt brought him after he'd been cleaned. I remember hearing myself say in a very drug induced way, "Thank you for saving my baby!" as they were sewing me back up.  My actual doctor was the one who did the c-section (though she wasn't there at all for my 18 hours of labor), but she did a great job and I healed up pretty well. Because I felt like it was so "emergency" I never really felt angry about having to have a c-section (though I did feel very angry about the nurse refusing to help me get him latched that night because she had "5 hours of charting she was behind on" etc. So Matt just ended up holding him, we sent him back to the nursery for the whole night, and I slept off all the drugs that were in my system). It's just what happened. I don't feel like I had many problems recovering from Dean's birth emotionally. As I look back on it, it probably wasn't quite as dire of a situation nor was his cone head or molding abnormal.  It's hard to say, though, since we were so naive of the actual birthing process, interventions and the like.  Oh, and as an aside, I just heard from a reputable source (though I haven't had official confirmation) that the c-section rate in my area is 50%!! That is outrageously high in my opinion. Makes me think that the doctors here jump to c-section unnecessarily and quickly!

When I was pregnant with Walter, I did have a desire to try for a vaginal birth. My OB would have allowed me a trial of labor at Centennial Hospital which was further away from us (and my doctor's practice) than MCM. She was a pretty laid back doctor, so I didn't really feel like she was truly discouraging me from having a VBAC, but she also didn't inform me much of anything or encourage me either. I was never given a clear reason as to why I had a c-section with Dean. She stressed that they could not induce me and who knows how long I'd go or how big my baby would be.  She also mentioned she would have had to cancel all her appointments when I went into labor since the hospital was further from her practice and I was higher risk.  Matt didn't feel all that comfortable with a VBAC.  He couldn't really see another outcome than another c-section, so why not just take the emergency out of the equation.  In the end I went with a scheduled c-section.  I kind of felt like my body was "broken". I wasn't sure if I was "big enough" to birth a normal baby.

Walt's birth was so much more surreal than Dean's. I knew what day I'd have him. I knew what time of day. I didn't have one contraction nor one Braxton Hicks contraction even. I was happy to have my baby after surgery, but I honestly don't think I felt like I'd "earned" him. After having Dean I was a leaky lactating mess every time he cried or even when I thought about him. It was not so with Walt. I was, however, leaky when I heard Dean cry even after I had Walt home. I gave away all my nursing pads after about 4 months and then at about 5 or 6 months I finally felt connected enough to the little guy and started gushing like I'd just started nursing him!  My emotional state after I had Walt was precarious. I was a wreck.  I felt like a crazy person most of the time. Walt was so good so I felt guilty about being such a mess, but Dean was just hitting his 2's and I was not handling that well. I felt very, very disconnected from my family of origin and didn't feel like I had enough close friends to lean on or call on anyone.  It didn't help that the few people I did try and reach out to were not that responsive or were actually quite aloof. I remember talking to my mom at one point saying I just wanted to come spend a month in Snowflake so I could get my head back on right.  Luckily we were able to go to CA for Christmas that year for 3 weeks. I had help. I was able to go on some dates with Matt. I felt like I was able to finally "heal" emotionally and put my crazies away for good.  That was about 6 months after Walt was born.

When I started running again in March of 2010, I started voicing my desire of having a vba2c as I jogged with my running partner. I knew I was a ways off from even wanting to be pregnant, and I didn't know if it was even possible, but I knew I didn't want to have to go through another postpartum experience like I'd just been through. I talked about it a lot. I kept going to see my OB, though for most of my check ups I ended up with the nurse rather than my OB.  At my 1 year check up I remember asking the nurse practitioner if a vba2c was even possible, and she said they didn't do it and didn't know anyone who did. I even wrote my doctor and asked if it was possible and she said no, and that she didn't know of any doctor who would do a vaginal birth after multiple cesareans. That sounded like bull to me.

I had a friend who had been a midwife before moving to TX. Talking with her about my birth experience with Dean was the first time I questioned the veracity of the "emergency" of my c-section, and she told me some things they could have tried rather than going straight to a c-section. I started thinking in the direction of midwife and birthing center though I'd never really considered it before. After I learned I was pregnant with baby #3, I emailed her and asked if she knew of anyone who would do a vba2c since my doctor swore she didn't.  She pointed me to the ICAN group of North Texas (International Cesarean Awareness Network).  I also had a lead on a midwife about 1/2 hour north of me from a friend who'd had 5 home births with midwives, the last being with this particular midwife in Sherman. The ICAN is how I got in contact with Dr. Cummings, the OB I chose to go with, and the midwives in Sherman that I considered, but Matt felt was too risky.  Both said they'd allow me a trial of labor.

I just sent my papers and deposit into the woman that I've hired to be my doula because, honestly, I know I need someone else in there if I'm going to accomplish what I want to. No matter how many classes I take or books I read, I really want someone there to keep it real, simple, calm, and keep me informed.  

Kathy, my doula, asked if I had planned a natural birth the first time around and if I was hoping to go med free this time or if I just wanted to vbac. I didn't really have a plan with Dean. I didn't know what to expect enough to write out a real birth plan. I had mixed emotions on the meds. I had friends and siblings who had done it both ways and loved the ease of the epidural. I also had friends and family who were very adamant about having a natural birth. I went 9 hours from my water breaking until I got an epidural with Dean, and that was when Matt stepped out for breakfast and I didn't want to go on by myself with contractions. My goal was to try to go without, but if I wanted them, then I wasn't opposed to them.  This time, my original goal was to just vbac successfully, labor at home as long as possible, and see how it went in the way of meds. So not all that different from the first time around.

However, the more reading and research I do, and the more birth stories I read, I'm convinced I would like to have a natural birth. And with a doula by my side (Matt kind of doesn't get why you wouldn't go straight to an epidural), I really think I can do it.  I don't do things just because they're easy, and I don't NOT do things because they're challenging. I didn't run a half marathon because it was easy.  I don't make my own bread or cook most of my food from scratch because it's easier than buying it.  I feel like I run on the "natural" end of the spectrum in almost all other aspects of my life. I really, really want to experience birth in it's true, primal form. Regardless of the outcome this time, be it vaginal or c-section, I don't think it will be like either of the other 2 births. I will not be bullied or tricked or scared into a c-section. If there is truly a medical concern I will listen and weigh the options rather than blindly follow the hospital staff.

I just finished watching The Business of Being Born and am in the middle of reading Your Best Birth, both by Ricki Lake. I wish I'd seen it before I had Dean. I probably would have seriously considered birthing in a birthing center (Matt's soooo not into the home birth though I have nothing against it) with certified nurse midwives.  I'm nearly convinced that my particular "emergency" c-section was most likely not a true emergency.  Maybe, but I've come a long way from thinking that I or my baby would have died during labor had I not had a c-section (my exact sentiments right after I gave birth to Dean).  There's a great birthing center in Allen that I would have gone to this time around, but their director doesn't allow VBAC patients (let alone VBA2C) since we're considered high risk.  I do realize now that my doctor is really an exception to the rule on doctors, and there really aren't many who will take on VBAmultipleC patients because of possible litigious reasons (NOT because of the possibility of the uterus rupturing).  There's only 1 other OB/GYN I know of in the area who will take new patients in my situation that I know of.  In some states (AZ being one) it's actually illegal to even have a trial of labor after 1 c-section. So, I'm glad I get to at least try.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Grandma's visit

We were so lucky to have my mother-in-law Kris come and visit us for a week and a half. We don't get visitors here very often since we're out of the way and far from our homes, so it was AWESOME.  The boys loved it. The first night Walter didn't want to go to bed because he was afraid grandma wasn't going to be there in the morning. Even this morning, 3 days after she went home, Walter was asking why grandma wasn't here and why she didn't live here. It's sad living so far from family. 

But her visit was FUN!  I already posted pics of our State Fair trip. The other "big outing" we did was go to the Dallas Arboretum. I'd seen it on Groupon and since I just signed up I had a code for $15 off my first groupon purchase. So I got Grandma and me in free with the groupon discount and the code and only had to pay for Dean and parking, so it was a sweet deal.

Dean was being a bit of a pill in the beginning and he was dead set on making silly faces only for pictures.

Quite possibly one of the worst pregnancy photos of me ever.

 I loved the houses made of pumpkins. 
They had so many varieties of pumpkins and gourds. It was pretty cool.

"It's just like ice skating mom!" (He's never been ice skating, but the rocks were slippery!)

 This area was actually roped off until 2pm (we were there around 1) for special tours, but the boys went in and I snapped a picture before making them come out.

Texas Town was a cute area that had log cabins the perfect size for toddlers. Here's Walter making himself some Horse Apple soup. 
I was so sad when we took her to the airport. It was a lot of fun having her around, and she was mighty helpful when it came to wrangling 2 crazy kids on weekday outings!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Baby 3 Belly @ 24 weeks

Well, it's been 6 weeks since I last posted a picture, but I guess that's ok since it then puts me on the right track for my other pregnancy pictures. Dean was being extra silly while taking pictures this time, and we didn't come away with super great pics. I look extra belly heavy, so much so that it appears I'm falling over! =) Dean couldn't quite get it straight. The shirt and pants are both "regular" clothes, and the pants are even too baggy and I can still button and zip them, so I must have gone through a chubbier phase for sure! Or I was just not wearing well fitted clothing. Or a little of both. After seeing these pictures I'm probably done wearing this shirt. Just looks a little too short.

Interested in how this compares with my first two pregnancies?  I am.

Here's 24 weeks with Dean
Here's 24 weeks with Walter.
I have to admit, I'm pretty surprised looking at these. I thought I was carrying very similar to how I carried with Walt, but I'm carrying so much lower and a bit bigger! Maybe that means it will be helpful for the vba2c (vaginal birth after 2 cesarean-sections) that I'm planning? Oh, and speaking of vba2c, I interviewed and hired a doula. I guess I need to do the paperwork still, but I'm excited to find someone. Kathy Voigtsberger
of Whole Heart Birth.

I have still been walking/jogging about 3 miles a day 3 or 4 days a week. Usually it's with the stroller at about a 13-18 min. pace depending on if I'm walking or "jogging".  But today I got to run by myself since my MIL is here and I averaged 9.5-10.5 min miles!! I was shocked as could be. I was able to do 3.25 miles in 32 min.  I didn't have any stomach cramping and I felt great the whole time. There was a really thick fog which is unusual, and it was just so refreshing. I almost felt like a real jogger as opposed to a 6 mo. pregnant lady trying to pretend to jog as I waddle down the street.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Dean's 4th Birthday

Wow. It's been ages since I posted last. It has been out of control busy around here. I'm almost to a point where I can breath...

This past week I've had a girls' night out b-day party, 3 church interviews, picked up my MIL from the airport, made birthday treats for preschool, interviewed an hired a doula, picked up/trimmed/froze a lot of chicken from the Zaycon food truck, bough fabric for my couch cover, had a Halloween recital where I combined with 3 other teachers with small studios, went to the TX State Fair, participated in McKinney make a difference day (a service day in the community), shopped for Dean's b-day, made and decorated his cake, taught nursery and attempted to split the Jr./Sr., and got to watch Dean's primary program. That was in addition to the normal "fold laundry, do dishes, clean bathrooms, teach piano lessons, etc." Seriously. Busy. Week.

But I think I will start with yesterday which included the service day, and the state fair.  Our church congregation was asked to participate in the McKinney Make a Difference day. At first I was hesitant because I didn't know what sort of service I could do with a 2 and 4 year old, but some friends assured me we could do a valentine craft for a nursing home.  When we got there at 8:30am, I told the women at the front table that I hadn't signed up yet. As they were explaining the form to me, Dean picked up the table and dumped it over!!!!  I didn't see that one coming. The two volunteers had HUGE cokes sitting on the table that quickly came crashing down to the floor, spilling all over. My immediate thought was, "THIS is why they ask us not to have dark beverages in the church!"  I sat Dean in a little time out on the couch and ran to get cleaning supplies. I was so embarrassed! The women were very nice and understanding. I helped clean up as much as we could (you could still see the coke stains this morning...darn it) and then we headed in to the craft. It was easy enough for us to do and we stayed about 45 min. till Dean started melting down about not being able to do it the way HE thought he should do it. When Grandma asked why he would do something like that and pointed out that he spilled their drinks, he said, "They didn't need that soda anyway. It's not good for their body."

After we got home and Matt finished helping someone move, we packed up and went to the TX state fair. It was huge and expensive, but some friends gave us entrance tickets for free, so it ended up being fun and worth it even though they overcharge for everything. Walt was pretty devastated when he couldn't go on some of the rides Dean could because he wasn't tall enough.  It was a testament to me the we are not ready for big theme parks like 6 flags or Disneyland. The youngest will need to be about 4 or older for it to be worth it I think! We tried the award winning fried cookie dough and fried pizza. Neither were that great, but it was interesting to try. The only ride I was allowed on was the Ferris Wheel.

At the end of the day, just before we were going to leave, Matt noticed a rodeo round up for kids Dean's age.  He got to participate and ended up winning the "bull riding" in his little group!  He got a trophy and everything. He was very cute and it was by far the highlight of the day.

After we got home I had to do some birthday shopping for Dean AND make his cake even though my feet were hecka tired. It was worth it in the end though.

This morning at church we had the primary program where the kids do the entire service portion of sacrament. I swear my Dean can't sit still for even one moment!  He was sliding down the banisters like a fireman's pole. His arms were in motion almost the entire time he was up there, and he kept covering his teacher's face with her hair.  BUT, he did say his part memorized and well.  "Lord Jesus, our Redeemer true."

After church I came home and finished decorating Dean's cake. I made a chocolate zucchini cake with chocolate buttercream frosting. It was really good. I tried to do a Luigi themed cake since he's been so into Paper Mario this last month or two and wants to be Luigi for Halloween. It was only my 3rd attempt at a decorated cake, so while it wasn't perfect, I thought it turned out pretty well.

We made pizza for dinner. I am happy to say our pizza making has improved leaps and bounds over the last 3 years. We put out almost a restaurant quality pizza tonight. We just need to find better quality toppings and we'll be all set.  Matt helped out tonight and he did a great job.

After dinner we opened presents, played with presents, had cake, and played with more presents. I think this is probably the best present buying I've done to date. I have not had a great track record trying to buy for him. This time he got a remote controlled car, a cars "pedal" bike and helmet, a stomp rocket, a ball and bat, stickers, a pillow pet from grandma, and some shirts.  He had lots of fun with everything. We all enjoyed the cake and they ate the mushroom cupcakes immediately after he blew out the candles!  He even got his face in and took a bite out of the cake as if he were a 1 year old...ah well. I am so glad my MIL was here. We had tons of fun.