Saturday, March 30, 2013

A good weekend

It's Saturday night, and the Easter Bunny has officially visited our house!  Our kids have never finished their nightly routines so compliantly - they did NOT want the Easter bunny to catch them out of bed!  Have I mentioned that holidays are the BEST with little kids? :)  I can't wait for them to wake up tomorrow!  Normally, we write a letter to the Easter Bunny asking him to come on Saturday, so that Sunday we can think about Jesus.  But we had an opportunity for one last night away - a babymoon! - and I was not going to miss it!  We have had babymoons before each of our babies are born and I totally recommend it.  I have especially been feeling the urgency to strengthen my marriage as much as I can before May 5th.  Hopefully, if the baby blues decide to stick around awhile again this time, Marty will remember me for the nice wife that I really am. :)  My mother-in-law was in town helping her son get his new house ready and generously donated one of her nights in Arizona to the cause.  Thanks so much, Sharee - after a rough couple of weeks it's just what I needed!   

Friday, March 29, 2013


Last summer and fall I spent quite a few words expressing my frustration about trying to get my kids outside to play.  As it turns out, they didn't want to go out into the heat any more than I did.  As soon as it cooled off (not the born-and-raised Arizonan version of "cooled off," but the real kind), they started playing outside and I haven't seen them since.  When Brynn comes home from school, she comes in the front door, drops her back-pack, and goes right strait out the back door to swing and sing at the top of her lungs (and the other kids follow her).  In October, we completely re-landscaped the back yard.  There was so much wasted space on the sides of the yard where all the rocks were, so now we have wall to wall grass and the play-set on a big curbed off area of wood chips.  That's given Bryce a lot more room to run around like crazy and burn off his energy.  Gabe is in a wonderful phase and no longer makes {much} mischief back there.  He's getting better at exploring the great outdoors with his hands rather than his mouth and mostly throws balls or pulls grass or just follows the big kids around.
Recently he figured out the t-ball set. 
Step one:  set ball

Step two: lift bat ( this one requires much grunting and scowling)

Step three:  swing with all your might and hope to hit the ball and not your face!

I have this nightmare that continues to play out in my mind.  It goes something like this:  I bring home a new baby just as it gets too hot be outside all day.  This thought keeps me up at night sometimes.  What am I going to do with the kids while I am making lunch and dinner?  OH, and most of the time in between?  Right now, dinner has never been easier.  I begin to pull out a pan and it's like an automatic button to push and the kids head outside.  This summer, I will also not be able to just shoo the kids outside to the little swimming pool and watch from the window.  Gabe's too little for that.  This summer is going to be an adventure for our family for sure!  Good thing I'm spending a couple of weeks in Utah.  Hey fam, let's go up in the mountains!  That would feel AMAZING!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

My constant Buddy

Bryce has been in such a good phase for such a long time.  He is still intense and requires lots of patience with his stubborn, only-if-I-came-up-with-the-idea attitude.  But he is unique to me for the contradiction that he his.  He is such an energetic tornado, but so so gentle - we've never had issues with him hitting or breaking stuff or anything.  He is so stubborn, but really quite obedient.  He uses his loudest voice to make sure you've heard his 10 minute story about his car, but never yells in anger.  It's almost like he's got this impressive self-control over his body at age three.  He loves to be tickled, but he has this incredible will-power to decide to "turn off the tickles" and there is nothing Marty or I can do to get him to crack a smile.

The last couple of days though, he has given me a run for my money.  It's such a sudden behavior shift, that I feel like I should be able to pin-point exactly what's going on and what he needs, but I can't.  He is suddenly whining CONSTANTLY, crying - even more easily than normal, bullying Brynn, saying "but..." to EVERYTHING I ask him to do, and refuses to just play in the loft or go outside.  He just spends the time we normally play whining about wanting to watch a movie.  Like I said, it's been just a sudden change the last few days.  My thoughts are:

  • Maybe he's upset that Brynn is going back to school
  • Maybe he got spoiled over Spring Break (not many chores, lots of mommy time and TV)
  • Maybe he needs a little more love and personal attention from me (if any of our kids gets lost in the shuffle, it's probably Bryce)
  • Maybe he needs the opposite; more discipline and consequences (I can NOT go soft on him, if I give him an inch he takes a mile)
  • Maybe he needs more sleep (although I haven't really noticed a change in his sleeping habits)
  • Maybe he is missing Daddy lately, who is just so so busy right now
  • Maybe he senses he can wear me down when I'm alone (I sure hope not)
  • Maybe his bad attitude is a reflection of my own.  I have been tired, sore, worn-out, unable to keep up with my house and life in general even though I'm trying really hard, and that makes me feel like a failure.  I can tell I am losing my cool more easily with my kids, and when Mama's fussy, everyone is fussy. 
I feel like I should be able to look at this list and be his mom and just know what is going on inside that adorable and frustrated little body, but I can't get a handle on it.  Sigh.  I love you, Buddy.  What's the matter?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Gaber-Smacks, 15 months

I love love love love love this baby.  He is like a freebie baby.  He sleeps like a champ, hardly ever cries, snuggles all the time, is calm, and he isn't as "into things" as I know some babies are.  He is, however, VERY naughty at church, likes to surprise you by sneaking up and digging his fingernails into your legs when you are wearing shorts (by our reactions, I can see how this would be a fun game for a baby) and he makes me worry slightly by being on SUCH a different timeline as the other kids. 
I mentioned him not walking, but actually at one week shy of 16 months, he is FINALLY there.  I know I shouldn't complain because I suppose it's nice to not have to chase after him THIS pregnant, but there are times that I REALLY need to just set him down in a parking lot or park or somewhere and have him walk beside me.  He is walking more than he is crawling right now, but he is still very cautious about it.   
He also doesn't talk.  In fact, Marty and I think it's almost like he has regressed.  Months ago he used to say Mama, Dada, Amen, and hi, and now he only says Mama, and Dada.  I have been reading books and making animals sounds with him literally at least three times a day (each time he goes to sleep, but usually more because he is always bringing me books) for months now, but so far he just growls for every single animal.  This week I thought we had a break through because he started saying "neigh" on a farm page.  But now every animal is neigh instead of a growl and I don't know if that's even a step in the right direction?  His pediatrician is very laid-back about the whole thing and has tried to calm my nerves, but I can't help thinking about how Brynn and Bryce were putting together sentences at this point. 
The biggest thing that makes me feel better is how well we seem to understand each other and still communicate.  For the first time, I finally taught my baby sign language.  I always saw signing with babies as pointless because my first two could just tell me what they wanted.  But at 13 months when he still wasn't talking I decided I was not cool with the whole "point and scream" method of communication.  He picked up on the signs so quickly and now I see why I had so many friends raving about it!  He'll sign when he is hungry, wants more or is all done, milk, when he wants a diaper change, when he wants to read a book, when he wants to go outside, among other things.  I can tell him to do so many things, wondering if he'll even understand what I said, and then he'll surprise me and do just what I asked him to (like, "Gabe, throw your wrapper away and shut the lid.").  Yesterday while I was getting ready, he started tidying my bathroom for me!  He put bath toys in the tub, garbage in the garbage can, clothes in the laundry basket, etc.  When he does stuff like that I know he observes and understands, he's just not saying it.   

His favorite things right now are throwing balls, playing outside, and reading.  He reminds me of Brynn as a baby.  He can't get enough of books and seems to love them more every day, which is a huge blessing to me right now.  Considering how uncomfortable I am, I love having an excuse to sit down with him!
We have thought a little bit about getting him in a toddler bed and giving the crib to the new baby, but I just don't think he's quite ready.  I know it will be hard on him to give up being the baby, but I also really think he'll be ok. 
Basically, this little Sweety-Gabe just MELTS us!  This baby was no exception to the fact that babies are a LOT OF WORK and a LOT OF ENERGY.  Having three little ones at home takes often takes it's toll on my sanity and my body.  But having said that, I am amazed at the smoothness of the transition it has been bringing him into our family.  We never experience jealousy from the other kids, but the opposite.  They STILL scream "Gabe's walking!" whenever he takes a step (and he has been taking steps here and there for a long time).  And they still fight over who gets to go in and get him after his nap.  They still maul and snuggle him.  I keep waiting for them to have a "that dang baby" experience after he breaks their toys or something, but they are still endlessly patient with him.  I hope they treat our new baby the exact same way they have treated Gabe.  Now how Gabe will treat the baby, that's the question....

Spring Break

I love the school schedules around here.  I don't mind starting school back at the end of July because it means two week breaks in Oct, Dec, and March, among other breaks.   In Utah, I remember getting really burned out during the school year with so few days off and then bored in the long summer, so I love this schedule.
There's not a whole lot to report about it, I guess. I had a goal to take a picture every day the second week of the break after I replaced our old camera battery.  The first day, that meant getting the kids ready for bed and realizing I hadn't taken any pictures. :)  Bryce snuggles the heck out of Gabe, and Gabe...tolerates it.
He also loves to run around as a super-hero after his baths with the towel on his head.  Baths relax me, but they seem to have the opposite effect on Bryce.

The kids went to the dentist this week.  It was eventful and there was good and bad news for each kid.  Gabe and Bryce have clean teeth, no decay, but one of Bryce's teeth recently suffered some sort of trauma and got a big chip in it.  From the x-ray it looks like it may die and I'd be sad about that. It's his front tooth and he's got such a cute little smile.  I'm just imagining his smile looking even more mischievous with a missing tooth!  For Gabe, his thumb-sucking is already doing dental damage.  Honestly, when I see him smile I can totally tell he is a thumb-sucker from his teeth.  But the dentist said it's worse than he likes to see and that we should break him of the habit.  At first, I thought he was crazy, but I think it's doable.  As I've said, Gabe is adaptable.  So Marty and I are pondering if we are going to do it and how to go about it.  If we do it, it has to be now because I'm not going to further traumatize him just as a new baby is coming into the family.  For Brynn, she has textbook alignment both in her baby teeth and the teeth coming in (from the view of the x-ray).  Hopefully she'll take after Marty and not me.  But she has two cavities to fill.

We spent a lot of time at the library and I was so happy to see this sight over and over.  Brynn has suddenly gained this greater confidence and even in just the last couple weeks her reading has totally taken off.  I love passing her room to hear her reading and not asking for help.  I especially love it because of how often Bryce gets sucked in.

Brynnie-Pie got a hair-cut.  That'll teach her to keep her gum in her mouth!

Of Brynn's favorite things to do, dancing remains close to the top.  We saw a resurgence in "sparkly and squishy" princesses over Spring Break. 

It was so nice to be able to let her imagination completely take over and not have to interrupt her play to do homework or go to school.  That doesn't mean all we did was play.  I actually made them work their tails off each morning and they learned how to scrub their own bathroom.  I am officially turning it over to them.

We had lots of play dates, which was wonderful because most of Brynn's friends are in AM kindergarten so it's been hard to get together with them this year.

We spent a lot of time outside.  It's that time of year when I know our outside play time will soon be limited to the crack of dawn.  This game with Gabe was so cute.  He'd stick his little wet lips up to the hole in the tunnel and give me kisses.  Yum.

Here is Brynn looking for dinosaur bones.  Since pretty much forever, if you asked Brynn what she wanted to be when she grew up she'd say an artist.  Sometimes it was an artist and a forest ranger, or an artist and an author, but recently she just wants to be a paleontologist.  I remember wanting to be one, too.  What little kid doesn't dream of digging around in the mud all day looking for cool stuff like dinosaur bones?

She found a diplodocus nose, and a few other things. :)

What I wanted for my birthday last year was a bike and a bike trailer.  I hate having to pay for brand new stuff, but we looked around on Craig's list and found a screaming deal for two adult bikes, so Marty and I both got one.  But we never really found any good deals on a bike trailer.  Marty finally found me one this winter. :)  So I got to begin enjoying it my third trimester of this pregnancy.  Oh joy.  It has gotten a lot of use, though.   

The second week of Spring Break was spent pretty much on my own with the kiddos.  Marty had a big missionary prep camp-out for the young men that he's been working on for quite a while.  So besides the days he was gone at the camp-out, he also had to check out of life for a while just trying to put the whole thing together (he's ambitious).  It sounds like it was a wonderful experience and I'm proud of him. 
Since I wasn't going to have the van, I figured we'd all just live on our bikes and use those to take us anywhere.  So the very first morning on our own we all headed out to the "big park," which is farther away but the kids love it.  Half-way there Brynn's bike chain fell off, but I put it back on and it wasn't really a big deal.  Then we stayed at the park way too long (I had a good book) and got hot and sunburned and I realized we all had to ride our bikes all the way back home.  Right after we got started Brynn's bike chain fell off again and this time I couldn't get it back on.  I was trying to calculate in my mind how long it would take Brynn to walk it back, when a friendly police officer came to the rescue.  It took him quite a while, but he got it back on, showed me where the bike was broken and why it was just going to keep coming off, gave the kids some hats, lectured me about the fact that no one was wearing a helmet, and left.  About five feet later it came off again.  So I had the delightful pleasure of, at eight months pregnant, hauling home on the bike/trailer: myself and my bun in the oven, Gabe, Brynn, Brynn's bike, all the water bottles, books, and everything else we brought to the park.  Bryce at regular intervals stopped and said he was too tired and he wasn't going to ride anymore.  Did I mention how delightful it all was?  When we finally got back I could hardly even walk my bike up the driveway to the garage and I decided it would be the couch for me the rest of the afternoon, but then there was lunch.  Faced with the prospect of feeding a bunch of hot, hungry, whiny (but delightful) children, I wanted to cry.  But I lucked out and my friend I'd been texting through all this showed up on the doorstep a few minutes later with Chinese take-out and it turned out to be just what I needed to regain my sanity. :)  Thanks, Lindsey!
The rest of the days Marty was gone were pretty un-eventful.  I'd been nesting like crazy the week before, cleaning out closets and cabinets and doing random projects I couldn't get out of my mind in the middle of the night.  I wanted to try to get a lot done before he left so that I'd make sure not to do anything stupid and over-do it and go into labor without him (I didn't know the bike ride was stupid when we left!).  So we mostly chilled.  I had bought a bunch of frozen food, and we had stocked up at the library.  We haven't gotten movies at the library for a long time because it's so easy to rack up a fine with them (and we just don't need them).  But I told the kids to consider it Christmas and go pick out any movies they wanted.  By the end of the week Marty's side of the bed was completely full of kid's books, coloring books, extra pillows, and candy wrappers.  Honestly, it was relaxing.  The only places we went were to meet up with friends at the park, and then we got Brynn an Easter dress.  Other than that it was a whole lot of playing and snuggling. 
I missed Marty like crazy (I promise, Marty!), but the kids were so sweet and everything was so smooth that I just couldn't help but feel like we were receiving some extra help from above.  I know sometimes we have to step into the refiner's fire too, but it was a tender mercy I really needed at the time.  I especially noticed because it was like as soon as Marty was back, Gabe was back to being a 15-moth old baby (I hardly remember a single tear from him the whole time Marty was gone), Brynn and Bryce started fighting again, and my energy was totally depleted.  Anyway, I really am grateful for the whole experience and for the reminder that Heavenly Father is aware of me and showed His hand in a simple way in my life.
By the way, Marty came back a comical color of red-brown.  I knew he wouldn't use the sunscreen!  He took care of all the stuff, took a shower, snuggled and read with the kids, and then took a nap.  I woke him up for dinner (that is to say, to go get dinner) and he was not the same Marty I sent away.  He groaned any time he bent down, was having a hard time holding the kids, and was having a hard time keeping up with the conversation.  Honestly, he kind of reminded me of Pregnant Emily and I wondered if that's what I'm like to live with for nine months? :)  Apparently he got some wrong information from people when he took his trip down to Tucson to scout out locations, and the hikes were a little (or a lot) more than they bargained for! 
So now it's the second day Brynn's been back in school.  I miss her.  I really do.  It's nice to have her at school too, because I can put the boys down for their naps and have at least a full hour to myself for whatever.  But the whole two weeks she was here I'd tell her to play for a while and then come hang out with me in my room.  I was always so glad to see her come in and we'd read on my bed or talk.  And we would do "surprises" which was a coloring game we came up with when I was pregnant with Gabe and she was in preschool.  We spent SO much time back then coloring surprises for each other, it felt so great to be able to do it again!  She's not the slightest bit sad to go back, though.  She is READY. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Thoughts, feelings, details

***So, so sorry about the disgraceful lack of editing and proof-reading, and for the run-on sentences and paragraphs.  I'm just afraid if I don't hurry and post this thing, it will never happen!

I hardly know how to begin documenting this pregnancy. I want to document it for me and for her, but having journaled almost nothing about it at 33 weeks along is overwhelming. I don't even have any pictures! I'll get Marty to take some tonight, I guess. Well, here are some details (and I am fully expecting this to turn into a novel).

Thoughts and feelings on the pregnancy:
I don't necessarily feel the need to broadcast our personal reasons behind this baby, but so many people have been bold enough to ask if this was "on purpose" that I guess I may as well set the record strait. :) So...back before I was even pregnant with Gabe I had the feeling that babies number three and four should be close together. Then the awful pregnancy came on and the feeling still never went away. Finally by the very end of the pregnancy (I was so crippled!) and with the rough post-partum stuff I tried to shove that feeling away, but I wasn't really fooling myself. By the time Gabe was about six months old Marty and I were talking timelines and decided we wanted a summer baby. That meant Gabe and baby number four would be about 17 months apart at the very closest, and if a summer baby didn't work out we'd just go from there. Well, it worked out! Baby #4 is due May 5th, and we couldn't be more thrilled! We certainly feel blessed (like...overly so!) that everything worked out the way it did.


 I’ve been hearing a lot of “you’re crazy!” and “you’ll be BUSY!”  But the truth is, I want to be busy doing this!  I want my hands full with this mommy lifestyle.  I’ve never felt so invested in something or never felt like what I was doing was so important.  And I just plain love it.  Most of me never wants my little ones to grow up (holidays are going to be so boring without them!) although part of me looks forward to those phases, too.  It’s funny.  I was never the little girl who loved playing with baby dolls, and I was never that teenager to swoon over the new babies at church.  And through a lot of college I had my mind drifted more often towards a career than a mom.  Who knew Emily was the type?  I never suspected the lifestyle would agree with me so much!  Ok, this is not to say I don’t get to the end of some days and cry my eyes out and say it’s too hard, and wonder what on earth I was thinking having any kids at all.  To be honest, I probably feel overwhelmed more often than not and am overcome with the stupid “mommy guilt” of I’m not cutting it as their mom.  They are special kids and deserve “the best”, and I rarely feel I can give them “the best.”  I’m too busy picking my worst attributes as a mom and comparing them with whoever has a handle on those attributes “the best.”  I’m trying to quit, though. J  But I have never ever had the thought that my kids could be any more loved in any other house.  That should count for something, right?


Details on the pregnancy:
33 weeks, due May 5th, feeling pretty ok.  I’m trying really hard not to complain about the small things in this pregnancy, because, miraculously, the big issues I’ve faced before aren’t there!  This is the first pregnancy where I’ve never thrown up.  In the first trimester, I felt nauseas pretty much all the time and had to really stick to my silly routines and diets in order function.  But I {somewhat} managed to keep my act together and wait until the end of the first trimester to announce anything.  Although the nausea lessened somewhat, it didn’t go away until about 18 or 19 weeks, which has been typical of my last two pregnancies.  I really thought this baby was a boy at first.  Having hyperemisis throughout my entire pregnancy with my girl and not with my boys, I had somehow convinced myself that I was done having girls and that Heavenly Father wouldn’t have the heart to put me through that experience again. J  I always said if I had another pregnancy like Brynn’s, it would be my last, whether that meant two kids or 12 (I’m not having 12 kids, btw).  Anyway, with my two boys, pretty much immediately following the end of the morning sickness, the SPD would begin and would get so severe that the pain would make me cry pretty much every day and every night and I’d ask Marty to carry me upstairs in the evening.  Well, at 20 weeks I wasn’t feeling the SPD and thinking that was kind of strange since my dr. told me that it would just get worse and come on earlier with each subsequent pregnancy.  I was feeling some of the pain, but it sort of just felt like the leftovers from the last pregnancies.  So that’s when I started thinking this one could be a girl, because I didn’t have the SPD with my girl.  So really…I had no idea what to think and just asked Brynn.  She tends to be right about these things.  She said it was a girl, so that’s what I went with even though I had irrationally decided I wasn’t having anymore girls.  And for the third strait time, she was right.  Poor little Bryce cried at the ultra-sound, he wanted it to be a boy.  Although Marty is convinced he was just crying because he was wrong and Brynn was right so she got to pick where we went to go get ice cream. J  I had a really amazing second trimester, and the third has certainly come in with a bang!  I’ve had TONS of contractions, which I am not at all accustomed to.  This is my first pregnancy with regular back pain.  I’m sore lots of places, but the miracle is that it is all manageable.  The anxiety I felt with Gabe hasn’t been as bad, the heartburn hasn’t been as bad as usual.  As I said, there are just the normal pregnancy discomforts that we all just gotta feel.  I can walk, I can eat, and therefore, I cannot complain.  (Ok…actually I keep complaining about being up EVERY HOUR at night – literally – to use the bathroom, but that’s probably way TMI.) She is a pretty calm baby and plays nice in there.  No hard kicks to the rib cage yet, just gentle reminders that she is there and she is coming!  I am so busy with my other little ones running around, I can’t wait until I go to bed and I can just lay down enjoy feeling her moving around.  Never. Gets. Old.  


The pregnancy and our family:
This pregnancy is definitely a family affair.  Marty says at least once a day, “I’m home, use me!”  And I do.  A small part of the reason I wanted to have this baby as soon as I did was just to get the pregnancies out of the way.  I don’t at all want to get the babies “out of the way,” but the pregnancies, yes.  I’d love it if my kids could have little to no memory of Mommy being pregnant because I’m just not…the best version of myself when I am.  And sometimes it makes me feel bad for my kids that I can’t always do as much for them as I normally would.  But I’m realizing this is actually a wonderful opportunity for them to step it up.  They’re good kids, capable of so much, and I want them to be responsible.  This is my chance, I suppose.  Brynn is slowly learning how to cook very simple breakfasts and dinners.  She has perfected breakfast parfaits.  She feels so grown-up reading the recipe I made her and takes so much pride in them.  And last week there was a day we weren’t going to see Marty at all and I was on the phone with him saying I was putting off getting off the couch to make dinner.  Brynn overheard that I guess, and the next thing I know she is pulling chicken nuggets out of the freezer and putting them in the oven, setting the table, getting everyone drinks, and putting carrots on everyone’s plates.  When I got up to turn the oven on she said, “Oh Mommy, you have been working too hard.  You need to get back on the couch!”  Marty has that girl TRAINED.  Apparently he gave her a talking to about telling Mommy to sit down if she starts working too hard and that funny girl does not back down!  Then tonight I mentioned to Marty that I had forgotten to bring the groceries in from earlier that day (good thing it was only produce) and the next thing I know Bryce is hefting the grocery bags in from the van without me even knowing he had overheard the conversation.  It’s such a wonderful feeling (and a relief) to know that everyone in this family is invested in this pregnancy.  Every one of us is excited about this pregnancy and everyone wants to be a part of it.  And what is it like being pregnant and having my other baby to take care of as well?  In some ways it’s easier than I expected, in other ways it’s harder.  I didn’t expect Gabe to still be sleeping 12 hours at night and taking TWO naps during the day.  It’s great though, I REALLY rely on those two naps.  Especially because he refuses to walk!  He can do it, he’ll take 20 steps at a time sometimes, but then sits down and starts crawling again.  Our other two were walking at 12 months, so when we planned out this baby I was thinking, “Hey, it’ll be fine, Gabe will be walking by my third trimester.”   But no.  So Gabe has had to feel the effects of this pregnancy, too.  It’s just too hard on my body to carry him around all the time (as much as I honestly love to).  So I took a week, a traumatic week, and trained him hard on a few things.  But he’s actually a pretty adaptable baby and learned the new routines pretty fast.  I no longer carry him up the stairs at all.  I set him down at the bottom and motion for him to follow, which he usually does happily, but sometimes requires drama.  And I no longer hold him at all – ever – in the kitchen.  I normally didn’t mind preparing some of the meals with him on my hip, but it became impossible to do that anymore and he is understanding.  Usually when I cook he plays outside or goes through the plastic cups cupboard and sometimes he still hangs on to my legs and cries to be held.  But I don’t do it.  I thought I might feel bad about Gabe being “the baby” for such a short amount of time, but I really don’t.  I don’t think I could have enjoyed that sweet, calm, snuggly baby any more than I have.  He’s lived a pretty cushy life. J 


Probably one of the hardest parts of the pregnancy was facing the reality that I would have take a hiatus from teaching piano.  I so love it, and feel it’s such an important part of my identity, and I feel horrible leaving my students in a lurch like that.  But with all the crazy responsibilities Marty has had lately, plus all my own responsibilities to my three (well, four)  little ones, there was just too much.  I’d hardly see Marty at all during the week.  I’d teach until bedtime, put the kids down, run around trying to accomplish everything that should have been done that afternoon and evening, then Saturday came and it was a blur of projects and errands and scouts and whatever and then I had overdone it so much that week I was sick on Sunday.  I was literally sick four Sundays in a row and I just really felt like it was because I was overdoing it during the week.  So, we had to pick some things to go.  Since really none of Marty’s stuff could go, it had to come down to kids stuff (like sports teams) and piano lessons.  I cried for days just feeling sick about it all – knowing it had to happen but unable to force myself to break the news to my students.  But after a very calming blessing from my wonderful husband I knew it had to be done and it would be ok.  And it has been.  Although I have to say that after seeing a kid every week for years you become so attached, and I miss them already.  Sigh. 


I keep getting asked about baby names.  I have no idea what we are going to do.  We have a list a mile long of boy names that we both love and would be happy using, but we can’t seem to agree on a girl’s name.  I suspected this might be the case ever since we named Brynn (which is my middle name).  That is the only name we really loved and I think we just kind of knew from the very beginning that she should be a Brynn.  And here we are six years later still unable to find any other girl names we agree on.  We each have our very favorite which the other isn’t crazy about, so we finally went back to the drawing board and put together a list we can take to the hospital.  I’ve had so many people talk about refusing to settle on a name until they see the baby.  But we settled early on with Brynn and Bryce and waited until the hospital to name Gabe and it was REALLY STRESSFUL.  So usually when people ask what names we want I ask them to help me out and contribute a few nice names.


Well Baby Girl, I’m sorry I waited so long to write all my thoughts and feelings and details surrounding your presence.  I love you and I hope this NOVEL makes it better.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Feb & March

In February, we went up for my Grandma Peterson's funeral.  It's been a rough year for the Oldhams, especially my parents.  I knew I was really lucky to be 27 years old and still have all four of my grandparents, but now I've lost three of them in just over a year.  I'm so grateful for my knowledge of the Plan of Salvation, and I know that they are all happy.  I will still miss them, though.  I always knew there were four people on the earth who thought I was special and wonderful and loved me no matter.  Yes, yes, the rest of my family loves me too, but there is something different about Grandparent Love. 
We got the Oldham kids band back together and my brothers accompanied me singing "Somewhere, My Love," (Grandma's favorite) at the funeral.  And Brynn sang the first verse of "I Often Go Walking," and my mom and I joined her on the second verse.  I thought it was a fitting tribute to her love of flowers (she knew everything about them and had the most beautiful flower gardens).  Especially the last line, "For if I love flowers and meadows and walking, I learned how to love them, Dear Mother, from you."  We talked about this a lot with Brynn and it really made an impression.  We re-landscaped our yard this week and at the Nursery when we were picking out plants, all Brynn really wanted were flowers.  Of course, here in AZ we are "responsible" and pick the most low-water plants (read: ugly shrubbery), but I did the best I could for her.  And everywhere we go she'll spot something flowery and say, "Oh, Great-Grandma would love that!"  Or, "That makes me think of Great-Grandma!" 
So here we all are, back in Boulder almost exactly a year after leaving Grandpa here.  My Grandpa used to say, "When God created the world, he started in Boulder."  I do feel better about leaving them in a place that is that beautiful and that is so near and dear to our souls.
All the Petersons

Flora Peterson

Flora Peterson
Flora May Robison Peterson, beloved wife, mother, great-grandma, grandma, sister, aunt and friend passed away peacefully with her family by her side February 7, 2013 in Spanish Fork, Utah.
Flora was born November 22, 1928 in Fillmore, UT to William Adelbert and Myrtle Utley Robison, the youngest of eight children. Her childhood was spent in Sevier County. She married Bert Darwin Peterson on July 5, 1949 in Salt Lake City. The marriage was later solemnized in the Salt Lake Temple. Dar passed away one year ago, February 24, 2012.
Flora was a faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and she held many callings throughout her 50 years in the Salt Lake Pioneer Stake. Her favorite calling was working with the children in Primary. Flora enjoyed camping, baking, and spending time with family and friends. She loved caring for flowers and could name countless varieties.
She is survived by her children Debra Oldham (Allan); Rod (Linda); Michelle Sparks (David); grandchildren Corey, Justin (Helen), Emily (Marty), Dylan, Damon, Carter, Mikayle, Nicholas, Madison, Gabrielle; great-grandchildren Brynn, Bryce, Gabe; brother-in-law Garth Peterson (Lois).
Funeral Services will be held Saturday, February 16 at 11:00a.m. in Spanish Fork at the Aspen Meadows LDS Chapel, 1661 S. 1400 E. Friends may call Saturday morning at 9:30a.m. Interment will be in Boulder Town Cemetery.
Her family extends its deepest gratitude for the loving care given by everyone at Hearthstone Manor, where Dar and Flora lived together and exemplified a tender, enduring companionship. Thanks also to Alpha Home Health and Hospice, especially Cassidy Berge and Marleen Oaks.
I wish we could stop meeting together for such sad occasions, but I'm at least happy to be meeting at all!  It's so hard to get the Alaskans out here and I feel so lucky we've seen so much of them lately.  We were in Utah during Valentine's Day and Brynn was broken-hearted about missing her class Valentine party.  But all the family was very cute and we exchanged Valentine's with each other that morning and the Alaskans took Brynn and Bryce on a surprise date: 
Ice Skating!!!

Brynn's dream come true.
The walkers they let the kids use were so helpful!  We have taken the kids one other time and it was hard.  Marty had to take just one kid at a time out on the ice and I think the next day was pretty stiff after bending over each one the whole time.

Sitting in the "hockey box."  (Don't laugh at me, I know next to nothing about hockey). 

Yep.  Bryce in his undies jamming on his ukulele with Justin.  Something about that really warms my heart. :)

We had actually just been in Utah a few weeks earlier at Christmas time and the kids were so disappointed that the snow just wasn't right for making snow men.  I told Brynn this time around to go out and try it and I'd be out in a few minutes.  I was so proud of her!  She worked HARD and rolled enough snow for the whole snow man.  Justin helped her stack and decorate, of course. :)

Snowball fights...

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Utah, December 2012

I seriously can't believe how disgraceful I've been using my camera since I've been pregnant.  Not sure exactly what the pregnancy had to do with it, but I can trace my picture-taking absence to then.  These are all from my mom's camera, so all I have are Oldham pics.  Next time, I vow to do better and get some with the Johnson's, too. :)

Grandma snuggles.

Brynn discovered a new favorite toy - an ipad.  The other day we saw one for sale in a store and she said, "Oh, an ipad!  Can I have it?"  Yeah, right!
Snow play!  Being the good adventurous mom that I am I stepped out the door for a minute to snap the pictures and went back inside.  This is probably about the coldest I've ever been in Utah.  At first, I thought I was just being wimpy after acclimating to AZ, but then when I actually started checking temperatures I realized it wasn't just me.  Most days it was only getting up to just a couple of degrees.

I was surprised by what a good sport Buddy was.  He's a very particular and persnickety boy who really likes to be comfortable.  He's only played in the snow a few times in his life, but during most of those times he has started whining and crying after just a few minutes. 
Gabe had two favorite things at G&G's house:  crawling up and down the stairs (not sure why, there are stairs at our house, too)
and Grandpa's guitars!  Loves, loves, loves music.

A couple months before this, he also realized how much he loves books.  He'll sit for as long as I'll read.  With Bryce, I couldn't get him to sit still long enough for a book.  He'd get mad and squirm and throw the book - he was just too busy.  But Gabe does quite a bit of sign language and his sign for book is way too adorable to resist.  He's always sucking me in for a book.

Here's Corey being a good uncle and playing along.  They put on a circus for us!

At Great Grandma Oldham's house.  Here's the whole family!  A small clan, but a lot of love!
I let the little guy's hair grow out again.  I would have cut it earlier, but I really wanted my mom to be able to see how curly it's gotten in the back.  Secretly, I'm hoping this baby girl coming will have the exact same  hair just so I can see what it does if I never have to cut it.
Brynn asked for the camera and came back with this picture on it.  I asked why and she talked about how it used to be Great Grandpa's chair and started asking questions about if it's where he died.  It was sad, but I'm glad she remembers him, and I'm glad she's sensitive to his absence.  She misses him.  So do I.
Auntie Helen.

Snuggling with Great Grandma.  I thought being there at nap time would be a problem, but mostly I think it just made him even more snuggly than usual (is that possible?).