Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

I had the thought that I'd like to write Will and each of my kids a thank you letter this Thanksgiving and then carry it on as a tradition. But did I do it? No. :/ But next year for sure! In the meantime, I thought I'd share with the world a simple thing or two about each of them that I'm thankful for this year.

Will: Thank you for putting up with my endless home improvement requests... and so often doing all the dirty work around here. You are so selfless with your time and the best friend a girl could ask for.

Isabella: Thank you for loving Charlton so much. Your constant willingness to help me do this and that while I take care of him has made the transition to four kids so smooth. You have been my little angel these past few months.

Liam: Thank you for being the most sincere little boy I've ever met and making me feel so loved as your mother. Your "I love you's," bear hugs, and waves goodbye as you go to school are some of my favorite things in this world. You are such a good boy.

Juliette: Thank you for playing with my hair all the time (believe it or not, you do a great job and it feels so good!), and helping me so much in the kitchen. I don't love to cook, but with your enthusiastic little self by my side, it makes dinner-prep so enjoyable. Can't wait until you can take over the kitchen completely!

Charlton: Thank you for practically sleeping through the night already! And thank you for loving to sleep for hours on my chest. It has got to be one of the best feelings in this world.

In other news, our Thanksgiving was wonderful--I recall it being especially relaxing and calm, which is out of the ordinary for my high-energy children. (Thank you, kids!) I think the Children's Encyclopedia books that Grandma gave them contributed greatly to that!
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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Let Them Be Little

Yesterday I saw on my Instagram feed a quote hanging on my sister's wall in one of her kid's bedrooms that said, "Let them be little." I know I've heard it before, and I just love it! Seriously, though. Can they just stay little? I live for these kids and their smiles!

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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Eight, Five and Three

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Over General Conference weekend in early October, I had Will take a few maternity pictures of me, and I also took some pictures of the kids. To this point, I hadn't managed to take their annual birthday pictures, and I really wanted to get that done before baby Charlton arrived. Of all the pictures that were taken that evening, this one tugs at my heart strings the most. This is so them. Juliette adoring everything her older siblings do. She follows them around like nobody's business all day. Liam sandwiched between the girls... laughing at Isabella's silliness.

I have to say, that while there are the occasional spats between them, they are each other's very best friends, and not a day goes by that I don't see them loving each other. And one of my very favorite things about these three is that they entertain themselves. I can't remember the last time any of them told me they were bored or asked me what they should do. They are masters at creating their own fun (and messes!) together, and I'm just so glad they have each other.

Happy Halloween!

For the Halloween line-up this year we had Isabella dressed up as Laura Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie, Liam as a cowboy, Juliette as a "pumpkin princess," and Charlie as a baby pumpkin, per Juliette's request.

I was so thankful for the help I received from friends when rounding up the costumes. Knowing that we'd have a brand-new baby, I was really looking for easy street this year (ok, let's be honest, I'm always looking for easy street when it comes to Halloween). Luckily, I have some awesome friends who let us borrow things to complete our little costumes. We borrowed the apron and bonnet for Bella's costume, and actually had several to choose from because a few people offered to let us borrow their pioneer clothes. And Bella is actually wearing a dress that my mom made for me when I was a little girl. She loves playing in my old dresses, and this one worked great for her costume. She also had a friend who dressed up as a "prairie girl" with her... wish I would've gotten a picture of them out trick or treating together. They were adorable.

 Most of what Liam wore was also borrowed, and can I just say he loved playing with those guns!
In fact, we had a funny conversation with Liam at the dinner table about the guns. He got to dress up for Kindergarten that day, and I kept telling him he would have to leave the guns at home. But he told me that he asked his teacher if he could bring his toy guns to school as part of his costume, and that she said yes. I just couldn't believe that the teacher/school would go for that, so I kept asking him about it.

"Now you're sure your teacher said it's okay to bring your guns to school?" I asked him again and again.

"Yep!" was always his response.

I still wasn't convinced and was telling Will about the whole ordeal at dinner, and eventually we asked him to tell us the exact words he used to ask his teacher.

"Did you say, 'Can I bring my guns to school?'" Anyway, you probably had to be there, but just hearing those words come out of my mouth made Will and I bust up laughing. By the way, the guns stayed at home. Didn't want to risk having my sweet kindergarten boy getting suspended or anything!

On to Juliette's costume, I made her tutu, which was a fun project for me, so I was glad I could squeeze it in. Don't ask me why the pumpkin face on her leotard is so funny looking! I just cut it out of some felt that had a sticker backing to it, and stuck it on there. It didn't stay on long, which isn't necessarily a bad thing! As I look at these pictures, I wish I would have stuck with a more traditional jack 'o lantern face. I think I was trying to girly it up a little too much with those crazy-looking flower eyes! She loved it, though. And last but not least, Charlton is wearing a little costume we found at Goodwill for super cheap. Good thing, too, as he only wore it for these pictures!

Anyway, I don't think this year's Halloween will be one I soon forget. Something about having a new baby in the home that makes things extra memorable. Plus, I was so thankful for my friend Kenna who brought us dinner on Halloween! I'm usually a stress case and super busy on the evening of Halloween (and this year was definitely no exception), so I was super impressed and grateful to her for bringing us dinner that night. I can't tell you how much it helped me out! Hopefully it didn't add too much stress to her evening.

So, all in all, it was a great Halloween. First we hit up our church for a Trunk Or Treat (I just stayed in the car and watched all the cute kids through the window while I nursed Charlton), and then we came home and Will took the kids around the block for some more trick or treating. Such a fun evening, especially for my munchkins who definitely have a sweet tooth like their momma!

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Charlton's Birthday

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Today is the day I finally write down some memories about Charlton's birthday! I think I mentioned it previously, but about a week before he actually came, I thought I was going into labor and sent my kids off to their grandparents for the night, which was quite embarrassing when nothing ever came of the contractions I was having. But hey, the kids always love a sleepover at Grandma and Grandpa's, and I got some sewing in the next morning that I really needed to get done for Halloween.

But fast forward a week, and I'm five days overdue. Once again, I'm having contractions that feel like the real thing... (even though I'm not quite sure what the real thing feels like since my water broke with all three of my previous pregnancies). The kids were already tucked in for the night, and even Will had crashed (it was only 9 or 10pm, but such is the life of an early-morning seminary teacher!).

I considered waking him up to tell him that I thought the baby would come that night, but instead decided to finish up what I was doing at the computer, and then see if I could get some rest. I didn't get a lot of rest that night as I'd wake up every ten minutes or so with a decent contraction. My one wish for this delivery was that it not happen in the middle of the night. I really didn't want to have to call and wake up one of my friends/neighbors or my inlaws. I hate phonecalls in general... but phonecalls in the middle of night? No. thank. you. So, there I was, laying in bed, very worried that the baby was going to come soon, and that I needed to stay laying down. I thought the second I stood up and started walking around I'd be in serious labor (I had that experience when delivering Juliette). So, the few times I needed to get up to use the restroom, I literally ran to the toilet and then ran back to bed.

But alas, I made it until Will's alarm went off at 4:30am. I told him that he'd better find a sub for seminary because this baby was coming! I could tell he was really excited. Will showered and got ready for the day, while I continued to stay put in bed. As much as I wanted to take a shower before I went to the hospital, I just couldn't get myself to stand up for that fear that the baby would come--it was still too early in the morning for me to want to call someone to come be with my kids! At around 6am, I finally gave Will the go ahead to call his parents, and I was thrilled that they were already up for the day. I told Will to tell his parents to hurry because I really thought my labor was going to progress quickly once I got out of bed, even though my contractions were still about 8-9 minutes apart at this point. Ha! While we waited for a half-hour or so for Will's parents to arrive, Liam woke up at around 7am and crawled in bed with me.

"I'm going to have Charlie today," I told him.

I think I surprised him, and he immediately lit up and simply said, "You are? I'm excited!"

Before long, Will's parents arrived, and all the kids were awake and sitting on the couch. I kissed them each goodbye, and off Will and I went to Silverdale to hang around the hospital. I wasn't quite ready to actually check in, so we decided to walk (or in my case, waddle) around Trader Joes. We had a yummy muffin sample and tried to find some donuts to buy. I was craving donuts. The contractions were still coming, but I didn't feel like they were getting closer together, which was starting to worry me. Was this another false alarm? I refused to entertain that thought. We were going to have this baby today, gosh darn it!

Next, we hit up Albertson's because we knew they'd both be open and have donuts. I picked out a chocolate cream-filled one, and as we were paying, Will started getting some phone calls for work, so he headed to the car to get some paperwork he needed, and I told him I'd meet him out there. I still wanted to walk the aisles and get this labor going more! I walked back and forth and up and down each aisle probably three times, slowly eating my donut (which ended up being all I ate until dinnertime that evening--not the smartest decision I've made!). I eventually headed out to the car, again feeling like this labor was being so weird! I strongly felt the baby was coming soon, but things were progressing way slower than I was used to. This was my fourth child, for heaven's sakes. Wasn't he supposed just fly on out of me?

Next stop, Goodwill. I still needed to find Charlton a pumpkin costume. Juliette had decided to be a pumpkin princess for Halloween and she really, really wanted Charlie to be a pumpkin with her, and I have a hard time saying no to my sweet Juliette! Actually, all the kids were pretty bought into the idea of Charlton being a pumpkin for Halloween. Isabella was going to be Laura from "Little House on the Prairie" and we'd also just finished reading "Farmer Boy" together. There's a part in that book where Almanzo enters his pumpkin into a contest at the fair and wins, and the secret to his winning pumpkin, was that the pumpkin was milk fed. And so the joke at our house was that Charlie would be a milk-fed baby pumpkin for Halloween! So, anyway, at Goodwill I bought a little newborn-sized pumpkin costume, and then I told Will that we might as well head to the hospital. I was getting frustrated that my contractions were still so far apart.

We got checked in, and the nurse told me I was only dilated to a 3! I was shocked. All those contractions all night long and no progress whatsoever. I was at a three at my most recent doctor appointment! She then went on to say that I wasn't in active labor and that normally they don't check you into the hospital unless you're at least at a 5 or 6. Were they going to send me home??

"But we're not very busy today," the nurse said, "so I'll call your doctor and see if we can admit you. It looks like you had your last baby in four hours, which is pretty fast, and you're exhausted from having contractions all night. So, hang tight, and I'll see what your doc says."

I could have kissed her when she came back with the news that my doctor gave the okay to admit me, and that she would come around noon to break my water. Well, between about 9:30am and noon, my contractions started getting a lot closer together (about two minutes apart), and I was finally in "active labor." I was so glad to go into active labor on my own--proving to myself that I wasn't completely lunatic for being at the hospital to begin with. At around 1pm, my doctor arrived to break my water and after that, things really progressed quickly. I remember it getting really intense and feeling like I was losing my mind a little bit. I didn't feel like I could answer anyone's questions, and I was feeling a little panicky. During one really intsense moment I told Will I was going to need some encouragement, and I will never forget the look on his face. I think he felt pretty helpless, like he didn't know what on earth to do. A look like, "Uhhh, I didn't read any of those books you've been reading. Tell me what to do!?" He started looking a little panicky himself. haha

"Just tell me that I can do this." I told him, feeling kind of silly.

Which I'm sure he did, but like I said, I was having a hard time even thinking straight at this point.

The nurse checked me, and I was at a ten.

"We're having this baby!" she said as she picked up the phone to call the doctor.

Doctor Hebard arrived really quickly, got things all set up and then I just started pushing with each contraction, even though I didn't have any urge to push. But I push I did! And I got that baby out fairly quickly, but tore quite a bit in the process. I wonder if I'd waited for my body to naturally want to push, if there would have been less pain and stitches? But yeah, at that point I just wanted him out! I couldn't believe how badly it hurt since when I delivered Juliette naturally, my first thought afterward, was literally, "that was it?" It was so easy (relatively speaking). The delivery of Charlton, though, yeah, it was tough and quite painful for me, but I got through it! And oh my goodness, Will and I both couldn't get over how cute he was, and the fact that he had a little bit of hair. Our babies don't have hair! We couldn't figure out who he looked like, either. All we knew was that he was one very handsome little boy and that he had a nice set of lungs. His cry was so cute! I saw Will get emotional as he watched the nurses weigh him (whopping 8lbs 11oz!) and get him cleaned off. It was so sweet.

It's hard to put into words how it feels to welcome a new life into your arms, times seems to slow down, and it feels surreal in a way. I'm always awe-struck and amazed. I think I could have ten more babies, and still be smitten by the miracle that childbirth is every single time. Charlton is a dream come true. I always wanted to have at least four kids, and here we are. I love him so much. We all love him so, so much. 

Honestly, we've never had so much excitement in our home for the arrival of a baby. Each of the kids could hardly wait for him to get here. We've been calling him by name for months and months. And having him here in our home? It feels like a gift. Every single day. Each time Isabella sees him, she asks to hold him, so she holds him constantly throughout the day. The first thing they each want to do when they wake up is find him. I can honestly say there has been no jealousy issues. They just love this baby. Juliette will come into my room at night and say something like,

"I need to tell you a question, Momma."

"What's that?"

"I weally, weally, weally love Charwee. Your baby is so toot (cute)."

And then during prayers, she's always saying, "Thank thee that our whole famuhwee is here."

Liam is always calling him "Charlie boy" or "Char Char." And if I ask him to sit next to him on the couch and protect him, he takes the responsibility so seriously and does it with such pride. He's got a brother! And Will and I have another beautiful son.

Friday, November 8, 2013

When Daddy Comes Home

I'm sure these kids don't know how lucky they are to have a daddy that loves them so. On this particular Fall evening, he got home and immediately got on the trampoline to play with them. And they sure adore him right back. I love watching them play! My camera and I try to soak it all in.

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