Is it wrong that I love the show 'Sister Wives?' Adam and I looked forward to watching it every Sunday and it always sparked a spiritual conversation. I'm sad that the season finale was a couple weeks ago. Anyone else a 'Sister Wives' fan?
James is smitten with this little guy. He's constantly wanting to hold Archie, hug him and kiss him. I admit, sometimes it's a little much and it gets on my nerves BUT I am very grateful that he has such adoration for his baby brother and not any resentment. James tells me at least once a day that he loves the baby more than the whole family and that if anyone ever tries to "steal the baby, I would go to Cabela's and buy a real gun and kill the robbers." Ooookay... Not sure where he got such a violent idea but, if I were take something positive from that, it would be that I'm glad that he wants to protect and watch over little Archie.
The boys are both sporting the shirts that Uncle Aaron, Adam's little brother, recently brought home for them from his mission to Brazil. When I look at the above picture I can't help but think about Adam's relationship with his brother Aaron. I think Aaron was only eleven when Adam left for his mission. Aaron totally idolized Adam and took to heart a lot of the spiritual heeding that Adam would send to him through letters. It was because of Adam's encouragement that Aaron started reading the scriptures and eventually desired to serve a mission of his own. Adam sometimes feels like he didn't influence as many people as he had hoped on his mission (Manchester, England is one of the toughest missions) but I truly believe that Adam's influence was extended to South America because Aaron's testimony and missionary service came about, in a significant way, because of Adam's example. I hope James will be that kind of example for Archie and Ruby. On Sunday, as we were getting ready for church, I look over to see James kneeling next to Archie holding a large picture of Christ and then I hear James say, "Do you know who this is? It's Jesus. Do you remember Him? You lived with him before you lived with us."
One week ago today, Archie Benjamin made his official debut. It was a great day, labor was easy, and he literally almost came flying out. The week before, at my previous and last prenatal visit, my doctor scheduled an induction for the following Tuesday. I've been induced with all three of my children due to my Addison's Disease and I love it! I love being induced and this time was particularly great. Adam took the entire week off work and so we spent Monday running around doing errands, cleaning the house, and just sort of waiting for morning. I was scheduled to check in at the hospital at 7:00am so I got up and drove myself to the hospital and checked in. Adam stayed at home until Ruby woke up which is usually around 8:00. I figured it was sort of pointless to have him there anyway since they wouldn't have any pitocin going until 8:00 or 8:30 anyway and then there would be a lot of waiting while I dilated. It worked out perfectly. They got me into a room, put in my IV and started the pitocin around 8:00ish. My doctor, Dr. West (best OB/GYN ever!!) stopped by to check on me. I was only at barely a 2 so he put a balloon catheter into my cervix to open it up. He said I have a cervix of steel. (It's not something I like to brag about. Some women have buns of steel and I just happen to have a cervix of steel.) That was the most pain I would experience all day. That was pretty rough but bearable. He left after that and said he would let me 'stew' for a few hours and see what happens. He said I could have an epidural whenever I wanted it. So, a few hours went by and I was having contractions but they really just felt like mild cramps. I knew Dr. West was coming back around noon and would probably break my water then so I finally asked for an epidural around noon. Such an amazing invention! It was a really good epidural-- I could still move my legs but the pain was gone. By noonish I had progressed to a 5/6 and then there was just more waiting after that. It was actually a pretty boring day. There was NOTHING on tv and poor Adam was going stir crazy. He finally left and ran over to Winco for a bit and came back. The pain was starting to seep through a bit so the nurse gave me another bolus through the epidural. Dr. West came back again around 3:15 and said I was at 9.5 and could probably start pushing. They started preparing the room. I pushed through two contractions and out he came. It was so easy and I actually felt pretty awkward as we were just sitting there waiting for the next contraction to come, all eyes on me and we're just waiting with me in that position. The nurse, Adam, Dr. West, and a resident physician were all just sitting there watching me in total silence. I finally started making small talk and I told the doctor that I really wasn't comfortable when all of the attention is on me. He said, "The fact that you're not actually makes this kind of fun." At which point I pushed again and shot some fluid over his head! I told him he needed to wear the full head gear protection. The delivery was actually kind of fun because I was so relaxed and was able to enjoy the moment rather than writhing in pain. He was born at 3:41pm and weighed 7lb 7oz and was 20" long. I love Dr. West! He said I needed to keep having babies because he was going to miss seeing me in the office and I make him laugh. Ahh, that's so sweet. I guess I will miss him a little too but I will definitely NOT miss being pregnant. A few years ago, my two sisters, myself, and my sister-in-law all had baby girls within like 9 months of each other and Dr. West delivered them all. We took a picture of all four girls wearing their little shirts that read "Dr. West and Christie took care of mommy and me." He told me a few weeks ago that he still has it hanging in his office and he loves it. I thought that was so neat because he is one of the most popular and busiest OB/GYNs in Boise. After the delivery, my mom brought the kids over and Adam's parents showed up too. Everyone was anxious to know his name but we were still VERY undecided. Don't ask me how we ended up with Archie Benjamin. I'm still having second thoughts although it's quite a process to legally change someones name after you have submitted the paperwork. Oh well, we've been calling him Archie and we figure if we don't end up liking it then we can start calling him Benjamin instead. I like that it's different. I like that it's old. I like that it's on the top 10 list in Britain but not even on any list here in the US. I kind of like the shock value of it as well. We've seen/heard of wrinkled noses when people hear his name. My mom hates it. Anyway, he's healthy and happy, he's a great little nurser, and he will be circumcised this Friday in the doctor's office, poor little guy. James and Ruby have been very cute and sweet with little Archie. They love to hold him and smother him with kisses. James cheered in the background when Adam called my mom to let her know that the baby was finally here. James always talks about how much he loves the baby. The four days or so following delivery were pretty rough due to post-partum edema. I was so swollen everywhere-- my feet barely fit into my shoes. It was very uncomfortable and pretty depressing that I wasn't dropping any weight yet because my body wouldn't release the excess fluid. But, my body finally started flushing itself out and I am now very anxious to get back into my pre-pregnancy clothes. It took a week with James and two or three weeks with Ruby. I'm really afraid that, with number three, it's going to be different with an old stretched out uterus and all. I feel very grateful to have a healthy, beautiful baby boy and that labor and delivery was quick and easy. I'm grateful that I had a healthy pregnancy despite the awfulness of the first trimester. There is nothing that compares to holding a newborn. The way he smells, his breath, his sweet little head are so intoxicating. He's a little miracle. It is amazing to me that he grew inside of me from a single cell into a normal, healthy human. How can anyone hold a newborn and not feel the stirrings of eternity?
Last week I attended my first parent-teacher conference with James' kindergarten teacher. I was excited to receive her report on how James was doing in school. She said she has to constantly remind herself that he is only five because he is far beyond the maturity of all the other kids in the class; that he is a very good example to the others and she thinks of him as the 'wise old man' of the class. She also noted his impressive ability to grasp concepts quickly, to think deeply, and draw meaning and metaphor from things that the other kids don't really even get. Wow! I was sort of blown away. Of course, I knew going into the meeting that James is smart and obedient but I just assumed he was a pretty typical five year old. His teacher also said that she immediately thought of him when she was asked to consider kids in her class that would do well in the GATE program. She said that he wasn't eligible this year but not be surprised if his teachers in the future recommend him for the program. Wow! Coming away from that meeting, I actually felt validated as a parent. It is one of the few times when I felt like I must be doing something right to raise such a great kid. If only that feeling would last. I also walked away thinking that I really needed to ease up on him a bit and that I expect too much from him as a five year old. Pretty good parent day that day! I love my little James. He loves to play this little game where he tries to tell me how much he loves me. Usually, it's all the way up to Saturn and as big as the whole town and as big as our house. Then I tell him that I love him even more than that, all the way to the sun, and he gets this cute little smile on his face. I know someday, sooner than I realize, that I will yearn for those conversations with him. For now, I'll treasure the time I have.
All of the cousins before they headed out trick-or-treating. What a fun group! We were fortunate enough that some friends from our old ward were able to join us at our ward Halloween party. These were James' closest friends in our old ward. He sure misses them and was so excited to see them there. These pictures are out of order and I couldn't rearrange them. Oh well. This is James at the Fireman's Memorial in Boise which is also right next to the training facility for fireman. He was so excited to watch the fireman roll up their hoses and practice shooting water, etc. I wonder if he'll ever grow out of this phase, not that I want him to or anything. I love his imagination and his love of trucks, especially fire trucks. We went to some community trunk-or-treats the Saturday before Halloween. It was fun. I think it's safe to say that we got a lot of good use out of the kids' costumes. This is James' firetruck. It actually turned out pretty cute. The lights in front and on top actually work. Everyone loved it wherever we went which made James beam with pride. It was pretty easy to do and worked out really well when it was dark outside. His little headlights kept a safe walking path for the other kids. Again, the pics are out of order. The weather was so beautiful for a few weeks leading up to Halloween and we tried to take advantage of the waning warmer temps by playing outside as much as possible. This is at our favorite spot on the river. We would walk from our house over to BSU (beautiful sidewalks-- perfect for big wheels!) with his stupid gun around his neck (thanks Adam) and the kids would spend forever just playing in the sand, throwing rocks, playing rescue games, gathering sticks, and finding all kinds of treasures. I sure hate to see winter come. It is my least favorite time of year.
Thanks everyone for the support and encouragement. I am feeling better. We finally got some closure on a situation that has been going on for two years and I think that has helped. I also had my doctor prescribe something. Oh yeah, and I've been sleeping better which I think has been the biggest factor in my feeling better. Here's hoping for a slightly early delivery!
Suffering from some serious pre-partum depression. Would go into it more if this weren't a public blog but I don't want to depress anyone else. Suffice it to say, I think I'm having a mental breakdown and the baby isn't even here yet. What in the hell were we thinking? I can't even take care of two children and now we will have three. Feeling very overwhelmed.
Well, James wants to be a fireman for Halloween this year... again. So to spice things up a bit I'm thinking about making this little firetruck and maybe make it so the top opens up and candy can be stored in there. What do you think? Have any of you tried something like this and how did it turn out? Was it hard to walk in when actually trick-or-treating? By the way, I love the look on this kid's face. He looks so thrilled.
The past few weeks have brought some changes to our home and daily routine. First, James started kindergarten and he is thriving. I have already seen a lot of positive results socially and academically from this new adventure. I have to admit that I was a little nervous because he can be a little shy and sometimes he chooses to be a bit of a loner. Kindergarten seems to have turned that around and he is excited to tell me every day about all of the fun stuff he gets to do and all of the new friends he is making. James also started playing in a soccer league. He is one of the least-skilled on his team but he is having tons of fun and he has enjoyed making new friends. His confidence has gone up as well as he has learned new skills and tasted of success. It's fun to watch him play and I've been surprised that he has never been frustrated or upset when he loses the ball or whatever. He's so laid back that winning doesn't really seem to matter to him which is great with me. I'm just happy to see him enjoying himself and making new friends. The other two pictures were taken before church a few weeks ago. We call James' outfit his 'door-to-door salesman suit.' I gave him my old miniature antique suitcase and he uses it as his scripture case. It's pretty sweet and he gets a lot of comments about it at church. As for the rest of us, nothing has really changed other than my massively-pregnant stomach. It hurts to sleep, bend over, hold Ruby on my lap, pretty much anything really. And I still have about 8 weeks to go. My doc will probably induce me around Nov 18ish. Adam has been in a deep state of depression for a long time now. I try to stay positive so as to maintain a balance in the home. Maybe things will turn around for us someday or maybe this is just how our life will be forever... constantly struggling. It's a difficult thing to watch a spouse battle feelings of worthlessness and failure and to express those feelings every.single.night for a year. Here's hoping something good will come our way. Soon.
I can't believe my baby turned 3 last Sunday. She still seems so little to me. She really wanted a princess party (of course). We had two parties-- one with Adam's family and another right after with my family. All of her little cousins are gathered around in the last picture watching her open presents. Just about every present was either a princess doll or had princesses on them. She has been asking for the Rapunzel doll for months now and I kept telling her she had to wait for her birthday. Needless to say, she was pretty excited to finally open her 'Tangled' doll. Ruby is our sweet little girl. She is sooooo excited about the baby. She comes up to my stomach about ten times a day to hug my tummy and to tell me that she loves the baby. She says multiple times a day that she is excited to help take care of the baby and teach him how to talk and to be a good big sister. It's fascinating to me how much she thinks about the baby. She laughs hysterically when I tell her the baby is kicking or stretching. She asks me all the time what the baby is doing, "Is he waking up or is he just floating around in there?" Not to mention when he is actually going to be here and how I am going to push him out. Let's just say that I don't go into details on the second half of the question. It proves to me that women are born with a nurturing instinct. James is interested in the baby and will ask questions but nothing compared to Ruby's interest and desire to take care of the baby. I just hope she feels the same way after he is here and more of my attention will be given to him.
James started kindergarten nearly two weeks ago. He loves it, he loves his teacher, and he is doing really well. He was really super cranky every day after school for the first week (I think it was stress) but he was fine by the second week. As you can see, his new favorite show is Spongebob. He had two years of preschool which really helped prepare him for the transition into kindergarten. I can't believe I have a 5 year old in school. I feel like he kind of grew up over night.
He also started soccer this past week. It was fun to watch him run around with a bunch of other little kids. He's not aggressive and won't really go after the ball but he still chases after it and gets some exercise. I'm sure he will catch on-- he's only been to one practice so far. He had lots of fun and that's the only thing I care about.
Ruby starts preschool tomorrow. I think she may have a bit of a struggle adjusting since she is such a homebody and a mama's girl. I'm guessing I will have to stay with her for the first few days.
I know sometimes I complain about my life but as I was hanging out today at Eagle Island with the kids and some of our friends I thought, "Ya know, being a mom (especially in the summer) is pretty awesome. I'm just hangin' out here in the sand with the kids, enjoying the sunshine, and watching the kids have a great time. How many moms out there wish they could do this every day with their kids but can't?" I'm pretty fortunate that I have the luxury of staying at home with my kids. Yes, I wish our financial situation was better, but with a free place to stay we're doing ok and I haven't been forced to find a job outside the home yet. Which makes me think, what will I do with the kids tomorrow? Hmm... maybe the pool. Life is good.
We sold one of our Subaru's tonight so we could purchase this little beauty. We are picking it up tomorrow. I love my Subaru but I'm excited to have some extra room and with the baby coming we really didn't have a choice. An SUV with third-row seating was not an option for me. It seems like it would be a pain in the bum to try to wrestle kids into the back seat. No thanks. I'll take the less-cool mini van any day. We (I)have had my eye on an MPV for a while now but they are super hard to find. We called on this one within two hours of it's posting on Craigslist, drove it that day and bought it. It's a 2006, 55,000 miles on it for only $9100. The interior is impeccable. I almost hate to let my kids ride in it. The mom who owns it never let her kids eat in the car. I think I may be adopting that rule now, or at least non-colorful, non-staining items. And seat covers are first on my list to buy.
We went camping last weekend with my two brothers and most of their kids. We camped along the North Fork of the Payette River. The weather was great and the kids seemed to have a good time. This was James and Ruby's first time camping and I think they had fun. The kids took turns singing songs around the campfire. James' selections were always primary songs. We stayed one night and the next day the kids played on a sandy beachy area along the river and swam around. James and Ruby were both asleep within 2 minutes of pulling out of our campsite. James didn't wake up until we pulled into our driveway and said surprised, "Well, that was a short drive!" I think we may go camping again in a couple of weeks. We invested in an 8-man tent so we figure we better get our money's worth out of it.
Here is our little princess Ruby. She is proudly wearing her Tangled dress that her Aunt Lindsey made for her. It was very sweet of auntie to make this for her but I knew as soon as I laid eyes on it that Ruby would demand to wear it every single day. I proved to be prophetic on this. She has a meltdown if her dress is not available to wear. A lot of times I kind of lie and tell her that it's dirty or wet or in the washer. She will not take it off at bedtime. Sigh. She's a willful one so I just go with it most of the time. She loves Tangled and she'll sit at the computer and watch/listen/sing along to the soundtrack. The other day, wherever we went, whatever we were doing, she sang the line 'And at last I see the light and it's like the fog has lifted' over and over all day long. It's pretty stinkin' cute as sick as I am of that show. Fortunately, we don't own the movie. I really never thought that my daughter would be into princesses and dresses and pink. I blame it on grandma as she was the one who introduced her to all of them while we were on vacation. I guess it was love at first sight. But just look at that smile.
These are the little guys who were hanging out in our tree for a good three hours or so one morning. They are pretty cute. We haven't seen any sign of them since but the kids had a great time watching them. They keep asking me where they live now and if they are coming back. The same day, the aforementioned BIL came over and would not let his daughter step foot outside without him checking out the place with a stick. The man is a little neurotic especially when it comes to his kid which is fine but it made me laugh. At him.
I have to say it here because I can't say it on Facebook, even though I would really like to. Ok, does anyone else find it odd that my brother-in-law, Adam's oldest brother, just walks into our house without knocking? I mean, I understand that we're living at his grandma's house and that he has never had to knock before but we're living here now and I find it really rude when he just walks in. One time he came over and it was just me at home, deathly sick on the couch and my mom had taken the kids for the day. I thought it was Adam but when I looked up it was my BIL looking down at me with his little daughter and it was really uncomfortable. I mean, I was sick and had he knocked, I would not have even answered the door. Instead, I was forced to make small talk with him for a good 20-30 minutes while he hung around for awhile. I honestly would not mind at all and don't mind when women-folk in the family stop by and they don't knock but it feels totally different when a male member of the family comes barging in unannounced. I mean, we go to the pool a lot and maybe I would prefer to be a little more covered up if company is coming over or whatever. Not that I walk around the house naked or anything but I suppose it's my right to do so. He came over the other day without knocking and was surprised to find Adam home, like he was just going to hang out with me and the kids, which is fine but I would prefer a knock at the door. Or am I being too uptight?
I can't believe James is five! What a momentous birthday. He's so proud to be able to say that he's five now and hold up all of his fingers on one hand. I hosted quite a large party for him this year which included 10 guests (he has a large primary class). It was pretty crazy and chaotic but the kids are young enough that they just ran around and jumped on the trampoline and had fun. I decided to do a police themed party so I started the party with the kids making and coloring their own police hats and vests. Party favors included candy and handcuffs from the dollar store along with free information, stickers, and pencils from the local police station. I think it was a success. I think I will definitely scale back next year. As for other updates, obviously Adam didn't get the job in Sioux Falls which I'm not totally sad about. He has another job interview this week with a local company so hopefully that will have a good outcome. We have settled into grandma's house and have resigned ourselves to the fact that we will probably be here for a while. The house is fine and we are really grateful to have an entire house to live in for free; we are just having a really hard time adjusting to our old/new ward. The kids ask me almost everyday when we can go back to our old ward which makes me sad because I want to go back probably worse than they do. We have also been staying busy going to the pool (we go 2-3 times a week) and we went to Sandypoint last week. We had a crazy 4th of July, as always, at my parents--kids running everywhere lighting off firecrackers, smokebombs, and bottlerockets. It looked like a warzone by the end of the night. We had a few mishaps with mortars that sent people running in all directions but that's all part of the fun. We find out what the baby is next Monday. I'm already feeling huge even though I just have a little gut so far. I just look tubby more than pregnant. I thought each pregnancy was supposed to get easier but that has not been the case with this one. On another exciting note, found out this week that our next training meeting for the exchange student organization will be at Disneyworld in February. Even though I had to take a leave of absence, I still placed enough students before that to qualify to go for free! We are pretty excited and the kids are thrilled! I thought about giving up this gig permanently but now that I've had a break from it, I've realized that it's just too good of a job to give up. The free travel alone is worth it and I'm actually good at what I do.