Monday, December 30, 2013

Colin's Birth Story

I re-read the last blog post. I really shouldn't blog while I am sleep deprived. But if I don't then I won't remember the details once I have more energy.

I like to document how my children come into this world. Not only for my own record to reflect on, remember for the next child and for others to learn from, perhaps? I am NOT saying we ARE planning on having another. That is a decision that is personal and not to be determined right now.

Anywho, here are the details.

My due date was December 27th, the exact same day Jocelyn was born. The girls were both early (12 and 6 days respectively) so I thought there might be a chance that this baby would be early. But I was really insistent on not having a Christmas day baby or a shared birthday with Jocelyn. So my midwives said they would be willing to schedule an induction one week before his due date and only if my body was ready to be so. I tried preparing it by drinking red raspberry leaf tea, staying busy doing household chores, activities with kids (mentioned in previous post), etc. By my last appointment (the Monday before he came) I was dilated to a 2 and my cervix was soft enough to be induced.

All that week I was hoping he would come on his own though. I have experienced pitocin with Jocelyn and it was intense. Fast but really intense. I didn't want to use pitocin again because of my previous experience but the other options would have been less effective and sounded just as uncomfortable.

They would only schedule inductions on weekdays and at 39 weeks which was great because December 20th, a Friday was exactly that. I wanted him to be born on my Mom's birthday the next day but that was a Saturday so they wouldn't schedule it.

So the Thursday night before, after our power went out, I could not sleep! I tossed and turned all night and I was not experiencing peace of mind. I kept thinking of how hard it was going to be the next day and I was worried. The next morning I was to call them at 7am to see when I could come in. So I woke up at 6:30 to shower and be ready. I called at 7am and the nurse sounded a bit distracted or frantic? I couldn't even speak with the charge nurse to get a time because she said they experienced some unexpected emergencies the night before and they were really busy (I think due to the bad weather and a full moon....does strange things). So I was allowed to eat a light breakfast and to call back in an hour. I did and they were still too busy. So I was to wait 2 more hours! Ugh. I knew I could get bumped because I was an elective induction, not emergency. I just didn't want to get bumped to the next day because then I would have another day to worry. So I took a nap which was wise. I told Rose to go run some of her errands and to be on call if the hospital called sooner.

They called at 10:30 and we arrived around 11 am. Rose took Cecily shopping and the other two kids were still in school until 2pm. Thanks to Rose for watching them all day!

Condensed version for those who don't really care about the nitty gritty!
11--check-in to hospital
12--start Group-B-Strep meds
4pm--They break my water
5pm--They start pitocin
7:04pm--He's born!

Read on for the details:

Right before the IV. Yikes!

 This was taken earlier in the week.

By the time I got checked in at the hospital and my IV in with Group-B Strep (not the same thing as strep where your throat hurts) meds it was noon. They gave me the only room with a birthing tub because I was choosing to go naturally. However, I never ended up needing it. So from noon until 3:30pm I just waited. My midwife wanted the meds to be in my system for at least 4 hours before we started labor so that we could try to get the 2nd dose in before he was born, to limit risk of respiratory problems with the baby. During this time Tyler went home to get the ipod charger for my "relaxing" music and lunch for himself. I was allowed to eat jello, graham crackers and drink powerade. That was refreshing as I was starting to get hungry and was getting a headache. I also had him bring the movie Christmas Vacation to watch because we hadn't seen it this season yet. By the time he got there we barely finished the whole thing. I was sort of watching and trying to laugh even though I was a bit nervous. OH, I forgot to mention that I had Tyler give me a Priesthood blessing right before I got the strep meds. He said I need to be patient and that I would have peace of mind. Both things I was praying for all week.

At 4pm Jennifer, my midwife, gave me a few choices. We could start pitocin right away or break my water and see if I went on my own. I was dilated to a 3 at this point. I opted to have my water broken. It didn't hurt. Yay. The nurse suggested I walk around for an hour. If not much was happening we agreed to start the pitocin in one hour. So I walked the halls, alone. Tyler happily played on the laptop. I ran into an old friend from the Brick Oven. His wife just had a C-section delivery that morning because she was induced and her baby flipped bum down. That was not very encouraging as I was about to get pitocin. So I kept walking and texted Jennie as if she were my doula. It would have been nice to have her there but it couldn't be. Contractions were very light (they still felt like Braxton Hicks with the occasional contraction) and 10 minutes apart. After an hour of walking I was kind of bored so went back to the room.

The nurse came back a few minutes later and she was ready to start the pit. In my mind I said, "Okay, let's do this!" Tyler was now hungry and wanted to get some dinner. I told him, "No way. You need to stay here because this is when it gets intense." So he went to the snack room and got a coke and some soda crackers. We dimmed the lights and turned on my "birthing" music. At 5:10pm she gave me the lowest dosage of pitocin, in an IV. Luckily, she found a warm bag of it so it didn't freeze my veins like it did with Jocelyn. The contractions did not start as strong as they did with Jocelyn. They were getting stronger than the hour before and were now 6-7 minutes apart. I thought, "Okay, I hope this isn't a long night and they don't have to increase the pitocin." But by 5:30 they started to be 3 minutes apart and were stronger. Jennifer came in and suggested I move around. She brought in this big plastic peanut shaped ball. It was different than the birthing balls in that it was shaped like a peanut and lower to the ground. So I sat on that and on the contractions Jennifer would push on my knee and my back gently as I held onto the bed. They were getting harder and I was now needing to breath on the contractions. At one point, during contractions, after one of them peaked, I started laughing. Then Tyler laughed because the monitor showed that it was "off the charts" like a really intense contraction but that I wasn't reacting that hard. We were both laughing and the nurse asked if she was missing some inside joke. I said, "No, it just feels good to laugh right now." That only lasted a couple contractions.

At 6:15 she checked me again because I moved to the bed. I was dilated to a 6! I decided to stay on the bed as the contractions were now getting harder and more consistent. I knew that he would be coming soon because I was nearing transition. The nurse said her shift ended at 7 and she wanted to see this baby before she left, I told her I would do my best to make that happen. That actually encouraged me to stay focused on relaxing and bearing down. At 6:45 I asked her to check me again. I was at an 8! Almost there! I was starting to breath a bit faster and Jennifer reminded me to keep my voice at a lower register as I was breathing/moaning through the contractions instead of in my chest because it's more productive that way. I was still talking in between contractions at this point. But then a few contractions later things were getting intense and the I could feel the ring of fire and I couldn't talk anymore. It was time! She checked me and I was complete. I could push now! She called in the nurses with some urgency and they got everything set up and told me not to push on the next contraction yet. She said I could stay in the laying down position. Sweet, I didn't have to move. at about 7pm, I am guessing, I could push on the next contraction. THIS is when it hurt. Both Tyler and Jennifer both said though that I was making it "look easy" because I apparently seemed very focused and not in any discomfort during that last hour. Ha! I certainly was uncomfortable. But once I pushed, it only took one long, hard push. Tyler told me he had hair! Yay! I smiled and kept pushing with my eyes closed and legs folded up to my chest and I remember saying out loud, "Ouch, ouch....ouch!" but then soon it was over. He was born at 7:04 pm (and coincidentally weighed 7 lbs 4 oz)! They placed him on my chest and I opened my eyes. I was so relieved. He was beautiful. I laughed, cried and smiled as I looked for Tyler's face to smile at. It was over! Hopefully my last delivery! It was awesome and I was so glad that I was patient, had peace of mind and even though I was so out of shape I had the energy to go through with it and with no complications. It was another great experience.

Colin Steven
December 20th
7:04 pm
7 lbs 4 oz, 21" long

He passed his tests with flying colors and did not have Juandice! Yay! I'll post later about his first week :)

He's a sweetheart and we all love him dearly.

Gollum's feet? According to Samuel they are.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Pre-Baby post

I wanted to blog a little before the baby came but that didn't happen. I have kind of fallen off the blogging train. Perhaps this can be a New Year's resolution--to blog more. But....I haven't even thought about resolutions yet because that would require more brain power.

The two weeks leading up to Colin's birth was full of anticipation, nerves, and stress. After Thanksgiving totally wore me out (mainly from cleaning my house for two days straight before guests came) and I swelled up like a blow fish, whale, sausage? I was totally beat. I had almost all Christmas shopping done but I had still had a bunch of things to do on my "nesting" to-do list. Here are a few of them plus a few activities hoping to keep the kids distracted (from Christmas.....they were going bonkers since Halloween and the excitement just grew each day).

When we renewed our Pass of all Passes for Seven Peaks we got $20 Arcade tokens with each pass--that's $100 worth of tokens. They expired the end of this year so I didn't want them to go to waste. So when the Stoehr's and Furber's were in town for Tyler's Christmas MOTAB concert we headed to Lehi to play some games. I shared some of the arcade money with the family and we all had enough to be entertained for 2 hours....on a school night, no less! Eeek. I didn't take enough photos but Cecily mostly hung out with me. She got to play mini bowling. It was totally fun and just her size. In the lanes next to her were Trent and Carson with Jana/Troy and Steve playing too. It was fun to watch Cecily do a little jig every time she knocked down some pins. Jocelyn hung out with Emily and Samuel and Steph played this pirate game and at the end I took over Steph's role and Samuel totally beat it! Too bad that game was broken and not offering tokens/tickets because he would have got a boatload of them. Each child got to go home with fun prizes, all of which broke within the week. Oh well, they were free.

Also on my to-do list: Get pedicure and eyebrows waxed so that even though physically I looked like a whale mentally I did not want to. Thanks to my in-laws for being willing to watch Cecily so I could go. They also helped me fold laundry, clean the kitchen and wrap Christmas gifts! Although company is sometimes hard to prepare for when 9 months pregnant, sometimes I decide not to care and not worry what they will think of my housekeeping skills and just not stress about them coming. Then, they help out with what I needed to get done anyway! Thank you Stoehr's and Furber's!

Before the Stoehr's/Furber's came I knew I wanted to mop the floor but did not have the energy or back strength to do so. After Cecily watched Tangled she came upstairs and felt inspired to clean! Yay for Princess movies that motivate! So I taught her how to mop. She did the most of the kitchen/dining floor before she got burned out and she did a pretty good job too! It was such a blessing.

Tyler surprised me with a bouquet of flowers the last night of his concert series. We have learned that the busyness for MOTAB only increases as the year progresses. He had practices two nights a week plus practice from 7:30 until 11:30 am, instead of the usual 7:30-10 am on Sunday's for the last two months. Needless to say, he's been busy and tired and I have too, as I get to hold down the fort and wrestle the kids at church. So he surprised ME with the flowers. It was sweet and thoughtful. Thanks Mom and Dad for picking them up at Costco for him. I was able to attend the Christmas concert (secretly hoping I'd go into labor during it) with my parents and sister Rose. It was a pretty good concert. My favorite part included the actor John Rhys-Davies and his narration of the Christmas Carol background and the Nativity. I was glad his crazy concert season was almost at an end too.

I have had this on my To-Do list for a long time: organize the linen closet. I had organized it when we moved here this summer but it started to get out of control. I wanted to make chalkboard labels for a long time but that required me getting my vinyl cutting machine out and setting it up, etc. So one night I just got bunch of things cut. Including these labels (not the ones that are clipped onto the baskets....I bought those for party labels on Etsy a while back and hadn't used them yet.) and the vinyl for my Menu board (below) that took 18 months to complete, lol. Now I feel we can find things easier and Tyler doesn't have to ask where a specific medication is when he needs one

I made this last year when we lived in the basement apartment. We had little to no cabinet space and I need a place accessible to our spices. So I bought a bunch of metal magnetic spice containers and stick on labels. I can show a photo of this project later, if you request it. It fit about 100 containers because it's an old medicine cabinet I bought on KSL for $3. I painted it, removed the shelves inside and put the spices in it's own cabinet. We mounted it above the stove so we had easy access. I covered the mirror with chalkboard vinyl and had planned to use it as a menu board but didn't really use it much. But when we moved to our new home we had a nice big drawer to put the spices so I wanted to use this board still. It hangs in the dining room now. I finally printed the vinyl for it and now I will try to actually use it as a menu board (when my meals are actually not changing every other night). 

The day before Induction day our power went out. I tried to stay calm and took advantage of being forced to slow down a bit and rest. I was going to clean the bathrooms that day but without any light it's kind of hard. So I organized the linen closet instead (which is kind of a slow activity--it's kind of fun and I was able to sit on the ground and sort through lotions, eye stuff, teeth stuff, etc into piles). I wasn't planning on getting it done before Colin came. It was on my list but not a priority for a baby to come so I wrote it off as getting done next year. But the power went out at 8am. It didn't come back on until 10:30 that night. So for 12.5 hours we had to find other things to do. The labels were already made so I just had to organize and put back together. Then Cecily and I mated socks while resting on my bed. Here she is as the "sock sniffer". She was playing a dog game and it was her idea....they were all clean already so the sniffing was not necessary but made it more fun.

Because we had no power once the sun went down at 5:30 pm it dropped to 63 degrees inside and was dark, of course. Tyler came home right before it grew dark and prepared. I was so glad to see him home a bit early. We had a few flashlights and candles but not enough to keep warm. Luckily, we had firewood from cutting down a stupid sumac tree from our front yard. So Tyler and Samuel, after shoveling the driveway and sidewalk for the third time that day (oh yeah, there was an ice storm that morning and it snowed all the night before and part of the day--so I was NOT going to brave the unpaved roads to warm up shopping at Target or elsewhere) they went out to the backyard and gathered wood. Tyler started a fire and we all huddled around it. It was actually the perfectly calm night before I was to be induced that I needed. I then made dinner (because I had thawed out chicken that morning thinking we'd have power soon). Tyler reminded me that although the gas stove runs on gas it needed electricity to spark it. BUT we could also use a match, duh. So I made a simple dinner wearing a head lamp and we ate at the table under candlelight and my vase of red roses. It was like we were at a romantic restaurant. haha. I have no idea how people did this every night back in the days before electricity. After we were done eating I could feel crumbs on the table but couldn't see well enough, even after wiping it off. The next morning revealed what a crappy cleaning job I did in the dark, lol. We also enjoyed hot cocoa for dessert. We had no distractions of electronics (my phone was now dead). The kids had fun cozying up by the fire and then doing light shows in the living room and there was little fighting. It was Tyler's dream come true to sit by a fire like this, he said, because he had never experienced a power outage for this long. We got the sleeping bags out of the garage and they made little beds right by the fire because it would have been too cold downstairs in their bedrooms. They were asleep by 8 (with the exception of Cecily who took a nap with me earlier that day). It was perfect. Rose came over to sleep since I was scheduled to go to the hospital the next morning at 7:30 and we feared the roads would be worse then for her to drive over. As soon as we hit our pillows at 10:30 pm the power was restored! Rose wasn't going to freeze sleeping downstairs and I could check my phone again.

This was at my last appointment before Colin was born. The girls got sick so they had to wear masks. Jocelyn had to stay home from school for 3 days. All she had was a fever, cough and runny nose. I took her to the Dr. to be checked for strep because that is the last thing I wanted floating around my house. Imagine going through contractions with a sore throat! Luckily, it wasn't strep and I did not get their sickness.

The Tuesday before Colin was born MOTAB hosted their annual dinner for the choir members and a guest. We ate at the Grand America Hotel (thank you to Rose for watching the kids again). This (other than the kids music program the next day) was the last thing I really cared about attending. I secretly hoped my water would break or something dramatic like that but it didn't. I wore flip flops on this cold evening because no other shoes fit. We realized we were under dressed for this event as some people were wearing some nice outfits. Anyway, it was a pretty fun night. I twas nice to meet some other choir members too.

So, that was the week or two leading up to Colin's birth!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

2013: The year of Miracles

For some reason, in the past years of my life, the even years have been the best. For example, I was born in 1980, an even year. I married in 2002. I gradated from BYU in an even year. First child, and two girls, born in even years. Etc, etc. So this year, I was not expecting anything big. Not because it was odd, necessarily, but because it started out rough. I always seem to get the winter blues. I had January junk that lead to a February funk that could not be shaken. I was overweight, not getting pregnant, sliding down a treacherously steep winter hill daily (literally, perhaps figuratively too?), Tyler was gone a lot (between choir, real estate, work, hobbies), I was losing my cool and just losing hope of ever buying a home of our own. But then things changed.

I didn't start losing weight. And I didn't immediately get pregnant either. Remember the previous post on this blog? It is a list of things I hated/liked about our moving conditions. Tyler and I had, to that date, in 10 years, moved 10 times. Too many! I was getting anxious. Tyler has his real estate license (So use him! Please refer buyers/sellers to him, you'll be rewarded :) ) and had two people unexpectedly approach him about buying homes within two months. It was great. A blessing because we needed the extra money. But with his day job (he clerks for a judge in SLC) he didn't have time to search through the listings, but I did. I had already spent too many afternoons on the couch watching HGTV dreaming of our first home, imagining myself on those shows, thinking of actually applying too. And I loved looking for homes for other people. So I was able to do a lot of the searching. I would scour the MLS, made spreadsheets for these clients, called and made a few appointments, just for any excuse to look at homes. In return, I was learning about the housing market for the time that we wold be purchasing our first home. Around this time I cornered Tyler and made him make a decision about our future, together. Were we to stay in Utah, with a law firm, or try moving to Denver to do law and real estate? We'd been talking about Colorado for years but that prospect kept growing dimmer and dimmer. Then Troy, Tyler's brother, suddenly changed his mind about staying in Utah instead of moving to Denver to try real estate, and that really affected our decision to stay in Utah to be closer to him and less motivation to start real estate with his Dad in Denver. So we decided to stay in Utah, for the betterment of all of our family.

SORRY, this is SO LONG! Good luck to you reading it all!! haha.

So, I got to know the housing market really well here in Salt Lake County. I loved it. Tyler sold a beautiful home to his first client (a law school buddy), that I would have been happy to live in, and it was bittersweet. It made me sad that we couldn't buy one like it, for a great price, as the prices were going up, but on the one hand, it gave me hope for what did exist elsewhere.

Well, I couldn't live like this. Continuing to dream, endlessly, about my future home, that wasn't going to happen for at least another year. We still had one year left on our lease, Tyler kept reminding me. But something big changed, which would ultimately sway, or speed up the process, of needing to move.

My birthday is one of my favorite times of the year. I'm usually over the winter blues by then and I really like to celebrate. So I was finally in a good spot. March 28th. The time of blossoming, new growth, new life.

Then it happened. Miracle #1. Fast forward two weeks, I took a pregnancy test and it finally came back positive. After 9 months of trying I was pregnant! I was only 4 weeks along and the Stoehr's came into town for Tyler's concert. Lori asked if I was pregnant and I lied and said "No." haha. I am not normally so good at keeping secrets. But I was only 4 weeks along and anything could have happened. So I kept quiet. I was excited. Scared. Not really sure. Up to that point, it was very deliberate, the trying part. But I knew if I were to conceive in late March/early April that this baby would be due right around Christmas. I did NOT want another Christmas baby (Jocelyn was born December 27th) or all of my children born so close to each other (4 in 4 months, the busiest 4 months of the YEAR--Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years). I wanted a spring chicken. Spring is the best time to have a birthday. And because we'd been trying for so long I wondered if it was every going to happen. I was happy with our little family with 3 kids. Tyler was certainly content with that amount. I could be happy and stop. Actually, I am surprised he let me try for so long. I think he was hoping it just wouldn't happen and I'd give up?

But there were those few times, when I felt something. I'd felt it before in other situations. It was a feeling, like a breeze, that someone was missing. I'd sit in bed, and I thought, "Oh, no, are all the children here?" I'd count in my head where each one was in the house, and yes, "Physically, they were all there" but that breeze was there too. I'd second guess myself and think, "Oh, we need another dog for Zoey to play with." But I knew that it was a prompting, that there was another person missing. So that was my answer. We were not done.

But I had decided not to try getting pregnant this next month, in April. So I went to Mt Pleasant for the weekend for two reasons. One, to avoid Tyler because it was that fertile time. And two, because Tyler was singing in his first General Conference with MOTAB and he'd be MIA all weekend, leaving me all alone with the kids, which I dislike during conference. So it worked out. I was gone for 3 nights. Surely, we'll miss the "window of opportunity". Well, I won't go into details but......I got pregnant anyway. Before or after, not sure which. Probably April Fool's. I joke that Heavenly Father has a sense of humor because we conceived on April Fool's and I am due right around Christmas Day. Ugh. The month that we should have been more careful. The month I decided to take a break for a few months. The month I DID NOT want to get pregnant, I got pregnant. Miracle.

So about mid-April, I made a list. I like to make lists, mostly to look at, and sometimes to cross things off of. I made a list of pro's and con's for staying in our rental (with the landlords whom we loved!) or try to break our lease and find a home, while interest rates were still so low. After the list sat on our old wood burning stove (aka, counter) for a week, I would just walk by it. Glance at it occasionally, and leave it be. After a week, I looked at it, crumpled it up, threw it away and I had decided. I had decided to be happy with the circumstances I was in. This needed to stop. I needed to stop playing with time. I am no magician and do not have that power. I submitted my will to God (because, of course, there was a lot of praying going on, personally, too) and surrendered to living in the basement.

I decided if I was serious about staying I needed to stop looking at the MLS altogether so I was not tempted with those thoughts. Tyler had already changed his password once before because I was spending too much time on it. But my sister and her husband decided they wanted to buy a home so I began researching again. But a bit more lazily. I was determined NOT to look at the MLS for myself. I had made up my mind.

Then it happened. No later than two weeks. Miracle #2. The weekend I had decided to stop sending myself MLS listings that fit in our criteria of a "good enough" home--a new listing popped up. The best listings usually came on Friday afternoons. Not sure why. This one was listed on Friday afternoon and I received it at my scheduled 2 pm time. On paper (or the screen), it had all the things we wanted in a home, the priorities. Great locale, great commute time, big lot, enough bedrooms and minimum square footage. The photos showed that it was clean and not a dump. But it was out of price range, what we had already been approved for. But I sent it to Tyler anyway. We chat on gmail while he's at work, if we need something urgent from each other. I sent him the listing. All he saw was the  "1/3 an acre" and said I needed to make an appointment ASAP. But I argued that it was too expensive. He said, "Doesn't matter. We should look at it anyway." So, we went right after he got off work. It was a busy week for him. He was recording his first MOTAB album and had recording sessions every night that week. But we squeezed it in. We were the first to see it. To make a long story short, we loved it. It had everything on my printed off checklist. Everything and more (like central vac, double oven, ranch style home). It was exciting.

On the drive back home Tyler called our broker. Asked if there was any way we could get approved for this price. He said he'd look into it. Then Tyler also called his dad, because he always did, when it came to deals. Then he went to rehearsal and I sort of forgot about it. Well, I didn't really forget about it, just tried to. I did not want to get my heart set on this, because I had done that before, and it had been crushed. So I waited. The broker called back and sent an approval letter for our asking price. Tyler submitted an offer that night, after rehearsal, about 10:30 pm. We put in a strong offer. 12 hours after it was listed. The next day our offer was countered and we had until the next day (Sunday) to accept or reject. It was only $2K more than our first offer. But we debated. Was it the right time? The right home? The selling agent texted us later that night and said we had better decide quickly because she was expecting a 2nd offer. And the buyers could accept either one, if they did not accept our counter first. So we decided. Mostly on logic and a little on faith, because we had not talked to our landlord about the lease yet, we decided to go for it. They accepted and we were under contract!

Mother's Day. Breakfast in bed (while Tyler is at choir) and sweet notes from these sweet children. They didn't know either miracles was happening yet. Samuel was sunburned from baseball? Thus, the chapped cheeks? lol. 

The next day was Mother's Day. May 12th. With all that was going on we decided to just celebrate at home. We called/texted both our Mother's and wished them "Happy Mother's Day" and told them the double whamy news. First, we were pregnant. Second, we were buying a house. It was a lot to take in, but soooo exciting. The best Mother's Day gifts ever. I think Tyler probably cooked dinner that day too. Lol. I honestly can't remember. I felt blessed. I felt my prayers were answered. I felt God's hand in it all. His timing is best. I had waited 9 months for another baby. Once I finally decided I could wait a bit longer, truly submitting my will to His, BAM, it came. Then, after waiting (and complaining, and dreaming) for YEARS to get our first home (and jealously watching all of my friends and family buy their first beautiful homes), we got it. I know Heavenly Father has sent us where we needed to go. Elder Eyring's talk from the previous October conference really stuck out to me. About going where the Lord needs us to go. Waiting and praying for those blessings in disguise.

And just a short year later, I am writing about it here. We closed on our house (with only a few tiny hurdles) on June 14th--our 11th move in now 11 years. We sold our lease to another couple (another blessing). I am still pregnant (with only a few minor hurdles) and due on Jocelyn's birthday, December 27th with a BOY (just what I wanted--2 boys, 2 girls). And we LOVE our new home. The kids love it. Tyler loves it. I love it. Even though every weekend there is a project Tyler has had to work on (cutting down a sycamore tree, fixing sprinkling system, wiring the whole house, etc etc) I don't complain because I would be ungrateful for this beautiful home. It's not perfect. On paper it had everything I wanted, and more.....but aesthetically and functionally, it has a bit more to go (the backyard overhaul, the drop ceiling basement, the teeny tiny baseboards, etc). So although, I am a short tempered person I am a patient one. I can wait for them to be completed. As long as our house doesn't burn down or something. Miracle #3 has yet to happen (Cecily being fully potty trained) but I hope that will be the icing on the cake this year, this ODD year. The year that has taught me to really submit my will to God. Really give in to what I want and find out what the Lord wants. I still have a long way to go in that department. I still argue and rebel against it at times. But this has truly been a year, so far, of miracles.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Moving days

Right before we moved almost exactly a year ago I started a blog post about my current living help me appreciate them more. Now I've returned to this post to finish it. The current home list is below. As of right now, our plans are stay in Utah! Not exactly something we had "planned" on but the wiser decision for us at this point in life (ie, job availability). It feels so good knowing where we will be for the next few years. We don't know the city, or the school district or even the job yet but it gives me peace knowing our target is to stay in the SL valley. Wahoo!

The added bonus of Tyler receiving his real estate license a year ago (please, send clients his way.....our way, I work for him too) we've been talking about the real possibility of us finally owning our first home......after 10  years of marriage! Whoa! Something I have dreamed about for years and years. Sometimes, it completely terrifies me. But other times, I just want to be on our own already! To be able to paint, have more space, and just have that responsibility of being homeowners. But because I am sure I will grumble about fixing this and saving money up for that, I wanted to make a list so I can look back and laugh, and say, "hahaha, I was so naive. We should go back to renting."

 Blast from the past.....unpacking in 2010.

Things I will not miss about our last Provo house:
**The reverse sliding doors....that do not slide
**The cold faucet which was installed backwards
**the lack of central A/C
**going outside and downstairs to do laundry
**the spiders
**the trees and all the "shedding" they do
**small doorways, can't even fit myself and laundry basket through safely
**The Provo bubble

What I will miss:
**The Provo bubble
**My friends/this ward
**the trees
**being close to grandma
**lovely wild yard
**student living
**character of this older home
**large windows
**lots of sunlight
**Apricot tree :(

Since we moved to SLC.......
Things to miss:
**Landlord who makes/pays for repairs
**Lush large backyard
**Quiet neighborhood
**Park right across the street
**Church right across the street
**Central location in downtown SLC but not feeling like we live in a city (location, location, location)
**our next door neighbors who have two young boys
**Great hiking trail....right across the street
**Great landlords who are like a second family to us
**Safe neighborhood (except for some homes that have been burglarized)
**the nice big office with tons of shelving
**Zoey has a playmate with landlords dog
**Rent is still cheaper than a mortgage (with utilities)
**Children forced to take "baths" in a shower = less water mess on floor!

Lindsay, our landlords daughter; ie babysitter, sister friend, upstairs neighbor, comedian and opera singer

And we live in the original Salt Lake stake so we get to have conference in this historic building (Assembly Hall). The kids sang in the choir today as part of the program. 

Things I will NOT miss, or that Tyler is tired of me complaining about:
**Basement living
**The hallway, er KITCHEN
**Living with someone else, essentially
**no garage
**Hot summer with no cooling system
**ants and other pests
**lack of friends
**feeling like we have to keep up with the "Jone's" a bit
**the carpet that clogs up my vacuum
**The hills, especially in winter. Ahhhhhh
**lack of enough storage
**Carpeted dining room
**1 bathroom, with no bathtub
**Washer/Dryer in that 1 bathroom which makes it very steamy in winter months

And I'm a pretty picky "buyer". Ideally, I'd want to find a home that fits within our budget AND include...... an updated and open kitchen with window facing the backyard so I can see children playing; 5-6 bedrooms (for sleeping, guests, office and craft), 3 living areas, a master bath (average size is fine with me), several bathrooms, a big level grassy yard, 2 car garage that can fit both cars easily, short commute to work/choir, great schools nearby and safe neighborhood and a bonus would be a mud room You probably think I'm crazy! But Tyler just sold one with almost everything on this list to a friend/client so it gives me HOPE that it is possible. Are any of you moving soon? Buying? Renting? Wishing to rent again?

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Cecily turned 3

Our happy little toddler turned 3 on January 21st. Perhaps she's not a toddler anymore because she is no longer toddling? She is still a delight to be around. She still takes naps on most days. Sometimes she has to sleep in the car where she spends so much time picking up siblings from school or running errands with mom. She has been doing much better at her nighttime routine. She and Jocelyn actually share a room....they have bunk beds.....but now they both share the top bunk so the bottom is empty. It's crazy, I think. It's also sweet. I've tried taking pictures with no success.

She does whatever Samuel and Jocelyn do but is also becoming very independent with wanting to put shoes and socks on by herself. However, she refuses to be potty trained. I tried twice last year with no success. So I am waiting. We keep asking her if she'd like to go on the potty and she replies with, "no." So, we wait.

We went to my parents this year over MLK holiday and her birthday fell on that day. So we celebrated a day early since we had to drive the 2 hours back home on Monday. She used to love Snow White....watched it every day for a while. She doesn't obsess over her as much now but still wears the dress every other day. Our princess dress ups turn into instant Cinderella rags within weeks, and if they're really cheap, days! Sadly, the snow white dress is starting to deteriorate.

So, anyway, we bought her a Snow White doll, perfect for her new crib. A snow white mug (thank you Disney movie rewards points and rewards) to drink her "cocoa hot." And the Merida barbie doll, butterfly wings (perfect for nickname...she also got a butterfly pillow pet for Christmas) among a few other items. She loves to watch movies, play PBS kids (she can control the mouse pretty well now), the ipad (Where's My Water? is one of her favorite games), playing with barbies and princess polly pockets, dress up and anything with Jocelyn. For some reason, Samuel likes to torture her the most. It's sooooo annoying because he touches her wrong or calls her baby and she shrieks. This is especially annoying on the morning car ride to school every weekday.

She's still blond-ish with curls. Some days she really looks like me while others she is definitely a Stoehr. I love it when she randomly comes up and gives me a squeeze or places her head on my leg, "I wuv you much." I love you too Cecy-bug!

 She wanted a red she got a red velvet cake (which consequently is my mom's favorite and one that Levi had requested for his birthday a few weeks earlier). 

I am sorry but I cannot get this cute picture to rotate. I've wasted too much time trying. So, sorry!

The one on the right is a photo of me at about the same age (right, mom?) 

Her new thrift store crib. Read more about it here. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Jocelyn turned 6

Back on December 27th..........

We celebrated her birthday, as we do just about every other year, in Colorado while we visited the in-laws for Christmas.

The day before her birthday, while Tyler's sisters were still in town, we went to a beauty school to have Jocelyn have her first real manicure. It only cost $5 per person.....which is totally worth it. Some of the gals  had pedicures done. The job was hit and miss. Some were excellent students and did great work, others, not so much. But you get what you pay for and everyone had a fun time. Sadly, I didn't get a group photo. Almost all of Jocelyn's aunts were there, one of her Grandma's and all of her girl cousins. She felt like a star. They gave her a birthday crown and showered her with compliments. And while we waited for the pedicure gals to be pampered Jocelyn ran off with her cousins and pretended to be big girls, talking and laughing and "painting" each other's nails. We had a blast. She was all smiles. Then we went out to eat lunch afterwards.

Jocelyn wanted a green cake with lots of sprinkles. And so she did! And guess who ate most of it? Yes, that would be me. I do not boast of my cake making skills. Someday perhaps I'll learn.....someday.

Happy Birthday Jocie girl! You are so mature. You are loving and kind. You are happy, intelligent and witty. You've been to the hospital more than anyone in our family so far (broken arm, eye surgery), are top of your kindergarten class and a great example to us of following the Savior. Thank you for being our wonderful "middle" child!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Samuels Birthday

Because it's an even year, Samuel did not have a friend birthday party. Instead, I wanted to focus more on his baptism and being with family. So he got presents, as usual, and we invited family over after the baptism.

We had about 30 family members over. It was great. I asked people to bring salads/side dishes and we ate this yummy Hawaiin pork served with rice that two of my aunts (from different sides of my family) served at big reunions this last summer. Soooo easy and delicious. Then Samuel opened his gifts. On his actual birthday we gave him the wii game (which we later exchanged for the play station) Skylanders. He's wanted it for nearly a year. He was ecstatic. He received several more skylander figurines, a set of his own leather bound scriptures, a new suit, some other clothing and toys and a boy scout belt from others. He was blessed.

He requested a skylanders cake and designed it himself. He wanted it shaped like the portal of power with skylanders on top. I did the best I could without using fondant (because I think it's nasty....and more time consuming to create). So I looked on Pinterest and found one idea. I used her idea of edible spray paint (which, by the way, looks cool, but tastes sort of nasty) and went from there. I used giant tootsie rolls as the rocks for the cake and whoppers for the cupcakes.

Monday, January 14, 2013


Samuel turned 8 in September. He experienced a lot of changes last year, as we all did. He is usually our most adaptable child when it comes to change. But he was really sad to leave his friends and school in Provo last May. So all summer he was yearning for playmates. Luckily, we moved next door to a couple who has two little boys, right between our kids ages. They played a bunch but he still needed that consistency of day to day routine. So by the time summer was nearing the end he was chomping at the bit for school to begin. And so was I. Once I finally knew which school he was going to attend (just a few days before it started) life was a bit more peaceful. 

School started in late August and I was on pins and needles. He has struggled in school a bit. Not academically just socially and due to respect to adults. It's been a struggle since pre-school. A lot of prayers, angst and confusion are what we've been through with Samuel and schooling. So the month leading up to his baptism was a little tense. I think it was due to the combination of the adversary having a bit of influence on his decision to be baptized and also the fact that he was going to a new school with new friends he was acting out more. I was really worried but a few weeks before the big day he really settled down and was completely ready to be baptized. I was so relieved and pleased. I'm happy with the decision he made on his own. He was so happy to be baptized a member of our Church and to receive the Holy Ghost. I bawled for most of the meeting. Tyler's father spoke about baptism. I spoke about the Holy Ghost. We sang a little and he was baptized and confirmed. We were grateful for so many family members that came out for his special day. Samuel was truly touched.

The big day was September 29, 2012

I love that fake smile. 

His best friend and cousin, Creigh.

Papa Stoehr

The whole gang

Cecily was being a goof. I had to turn her head toward the camera. 

Still not working. Oh, well.

Samuel with most of his grandparents. 

Just for fun!