Christmas 2013

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Christmas

I really enjoyed our Christmas. It was our second time having a really new baby at Christmas, since Miles was born in November and Lydia in December, and it just makes everything so sweet. Also, I was smart and had all my shopping done before Lydia was born. I try to keep gifts simple for the kids, so they got a play kitchen to share and a razor scooter each. Andrew, the sneaky guy, looked over our upstairs half-wall and saw all the scooters before we went downstairs. I even heard him tell Zana and Elira about them…that little punk. I was glad I had made Scott wrap the play kitchen so they’d at least be surprised a little. I guess we’ll have to make sure everything is hidden next year.

Last year I tried to start a tradition of wrapping all our Christmas books and opening one each night as our bedtime story. I’d seen the idea on pinterest and let the kids help wrap up the books and everything. It was such a cute idea… It totally backfired. Every night the kids were mad when the book they unwrapped was not the one they were hoping to read that night, and it just caused mucho crying. So this year we just made a pile of Christmas books and let them choose one each night. Worked so much better. We also followed a chart that had one short set of Bible or Book of Mormon verses about Christ for each night in December, so that was our nightly scripture study. Simple and fun.

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Having both of our families near makes it fun. The past two years we have done Christmas morning at home with just us and the kids, then we headed over to Grandma Wilkie’s house in the afternoon to open gifts with her and Great-Grandpa Wilkie, and to play with Phoebe the dog of course. The kids rode scooters and played with Andrew’s rocket that you stomp on to launch. Then we headed over to Grandma and Grandpa Cromar’s for more gifts and fun. This year we continued on to friends-of-the-family the Snethens for an amazing prime rib dinner. Scott’s parents have been good friends with the Snethens for years, so we do a lot of holidays with them and they always make a ton of really good food.

Despite the prime rib dinner, something was missing from our Christmas…Did you know that I didn’t eat red meat for all of high school and college? Yep, and then I got called on my mission to one of the beef capitals of the world. Argentina would have been very difficult without switching back to eating red meat. Anyway, there is one reason why back in high school I kept eating poultry and fish instead of becoming a full vegetarian, and it is called turkey. (Sadly, nobody eats turkey in Argentina. I kept trying to sell them on it. And people there are really curious about Thanksgiving. They always commented on it and asked, “So…you just get together and eat all that food (that they see in the movies) and you eat turkey?”) Sorry I keep getting off track. So whenever I don’t get enough turkey, we just make ourselves some. So here is our post-Christmas turkey dinner. It was the best. turkey. ever. Oh man, it turned out so good. I used the spices in this recipe under the skin (although I don’t seem to ever have lemon pepper on hand, so I just used pepper, and less of it), but also added a little butter under the skin as well, and cooked it in one of those plastic bag dealies. Using so many spices gives it so much flavor and making gravy from the drippings makes the best. gravy. ever. If you don’t know how to make gravy, come over and I’ll teach you. It’s not really that hard. The turkey came out so moist. Oh, and I used my mom’s stuffing recipe which is:

Stuffing

  • 2 bags Mrs Cubbinson’s seasoned corn bread stuffing
  • 1 C chopped cashews
  • butter
  • 1 C onion, chopped
  • 1 C celery, chopped
  • 2 or more cans cream of mushroom soup

Saute the onion and celery in some butter. Throw it all together. Adjust the amount of cream of mushroom soup to get the right consistency, sometimes add a bit of water or broth if you’re not cooking it in the turkey. Heat it in the oven or in the turkey.

Okay, I’ll stop, but seriously best. dinner. ever. If only I had a freezer with some turkey in it, I think we would be eating that tomorrow for dinner.

 

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Miles, who is almost 2 and a half

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I feel like Miles deserves his own post, because he is changing so much lately. (He’s just like Andrew was where he wears the same shirt most of the time, so all the pictures have him in the same thing.) When I was pregnant with Lydia, we kept telling him there was a baby hiding in my tummy. I think it helped or maybe he was just meant to be a big brother because he loves Lydia. He adores her and hugs her and talks to her in the sweetest voice. Becoming a big brother is making Miles grow up so fast though. Suddenly he doesn’t want to ride in a stroller, he wants to run with the big kids.

He is learning to talk suddenly. I love the stage when they go from 10-15 words to full sentences in just a few weeks. He is saying the funniest stuff, and I have so much trouble telling him no when he asks so politely for things. The other day he asked for an M&M, since I was eating them (“em-em a meeee”), and then dropped it. Giggling, he scolded the blue M&M for rolling across the floor saying, “Hey booo (blue), come back boo.” He is always asking me to play with him now. Either I never knew he wanted more one-on-one time, or he’s just using me now that he knows I’ll respond, but he is always asking “Mommy, build a youuu?” or “Read booot a meeee?” He even has give Lydia her nick name. We all call her Bee-uh or maybe I should write it Bea-a. “Baby Lydia” started off as “beebee Li-uh” and morphed to “beebee-uh” and now to just “bee-uh.”

On the down side, he seems to be mad a lot lately. Mostly when I can’t understand what he’s saying or when we don’t let hom go with the big kids. Oh, and he’s started causing trouble with the girls. He likes to take their toys. They don’t know how to respond, because he’s always been the little nice guy, but suddenly he’s taking their stuff or ripping their papers, hitting them, or eating their M&Ms. The girls come running and whining to me about it, which I think was Miles’ main goal in the first place. The he just struts around like they are playing right into his hands. I haven’t really figured out how to handle this one yet. I told the girls to protect their pictures and M&Ms and to try not to make a big whiny show when he is bugging them, but other than that I haven’t found a solution.

Little Miles wants to be so big. He gave up naps back in November, but was coaxed back into them for a bit. Now they are gone for good, but he can be so exhausted from playing so hard some days. He is a really fun guy and loves to make us all laugh. He dances around and jumps and tells jokes until all the older kids are cracking up. He loves to climb up into Andrew’s bunk and sleep by him when he can sneak up there. He is a seriously awesome trampoline jumper. We all love him so much.

Also, he practically potty trained himself, which is awesomeness for mommy.

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Lydia at 1 Month

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I’m trying to do a few catch-up posts, but I don’t want them to all be just a flurry of pictures or a list of events. Even from so little Lydia is kinda a funny baby. She is amazingly easy in every way. She was waking up only twice a night by the end of her 1st month, she naps in the midst of the noise and chaos of everyone around her, she only poops once a week (her doctor assured me this was fine), and has not even once tried to poop or pee on us while changing a diaper, oh, and she doesn’t spit up. One thing I find especially odd is that if she is eating and gets full, she just stops eating. Or if I want to switch her to the other side and she feels like she’s had enough she will just look at me. Doesn’t it seem like babies usually are so gung-ho over milk they don’t stop until they are completely stuffed. It’s like she’s saying, “um, no thank you, I feel good and I am sensible enough to not stuff myself like a pig.” Anywho, it’s weird, but she doesn’t spit up so it’s good.

And now on to the flurry of pictures.

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Oh little babies grow up so fast. As you can see I’ve been learning to use the camera on my phone. It doesn’t work so well inside, so sorry the photos are all a bit blurry. It’s been fun having a new little one around. The kids all love her so much. In the pics below, Ellie is being a doctor and Lydia is her patient.

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As I was planning a post on Lydia from her 1st month I was expecting to think she looked a lot smaller back then. She seems about the same though. I mean, she weighs a lot more than she did then, but she face hasn’t changed much…although, when Scott holds the babies they always look pretty small. We enjoyed a nice trip to the beach, and Lydia slept through most of it. She was probably just so comfortable in her warm car seat with the nice sea breeze around her. It was really an amazing day at the beach for December.

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Lydia is just our little tag-along buddy at park day. I love carrying babies in the bjorn. They are just so cozy and small.

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And bath time. My one and only baby with hair.

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Whirlwind Tour of Fall

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Hey look! A post I wrote in January that never got published somehow.

Although it doesn’t seem like it, we really did more during fall than just wait around for Lydia. Here’s a super fast version of fall.

In September Andrew started first grade. Andrew wants to be a fireman, Elira a ballerina, and Zana a light blue fairy.

Back to School

October was a super busy month. First, we took another ski trip. This time it was to Lake Nacimiento, where the kids learned to easy-ski.

Lake Nacimiento

Scott tried to get a concusion.

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And Miles looked super cute.

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We did crafts during general conference and some yoga.

At Home2

We did lots of fun Halloween stuff.

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November brought Miles’ birthday number 2.

Miles' 2nd B-day

Andrew turned into an awesome soccer player. He mostly played defense.

Soccer Tournament

We went to St. George to visit Scott’s grandparents, and the only thing I took pictures of was our rocket launch day.

Thanksgiving in St

Finally, in December I was really pregnant and Miles put stickers on me.

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We got a Christmas tree.

Getting Ready for Christmas

And then we were a family with five kids.

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Stay tuned for a post with links to the photo albums of all these events. Or check the photos page.

 

Lydia’s crazy birth

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I wrote out Lydia’s birth story in my journal and it was 3000 words long. I’ve shortened it here, because that’s just a little crazy for a blog post. Lydia’s birth was very similar to Miles’, but there were some important differences that made the whole thing less cool. With Miles everyone was very supportive and kind, and I felt empowered having accomplished something I didn’t know I could do. The people involved with Lydia’s birth were less than encouraging, but still I’ve decided that my delivery motto is just going to have to be, “Epidural? Ain’t nobody got time for that!”

So to abbreviate the story, I started having contractions at 5am December 10. They were nearly painless and were 30 minutes apart. This lasted all day. I happened to have my regularly scheduled doctor appointment at 4pm, so she checked me and I was only 2.5 cm dilated but fully effaced. I had a really great doctor who said she thought that night was going to be the night, or if not, then soon. She just gets it. Around dinner time I was starting to have to breathe through the contractions, but they were still easily dealt with. By 10pm I figured we’d better call Scott’s mom to come stay with the kids just in case. My contractions were still 30 minutes apart.

Kim arrived around 11 or 11:30pm. The contractions were coming a little bit stronger then. At about 1am December 11 I could tell that we were going to have to go to the hospital sooner or later that night or the next morning, and I wasn’t sleeping anyway, so I decided that we should head over. I figured that maybe we could get checked in, get a room, and then I would be able to relax knowing that we at least wouldn’t be having the baby in the car or something, and maybe I’d even be able to sleep a bit

By 1:30 am we were at the hospital. I had Scott drop me off at the emergency room entrance and I walked myself to a bench where I sat and waited for him. Of course I had a contraction before I made it to the bench and had to stop halfway to the bench…why do contractions always come when you stand up? Then, I walked myself inside with Scott, all the while having contractions that made me pause and breathe, but then I could answer the questions from the ER check-in lady.

Here’s where the comedy starts. The ER check-in lady just looked at me questioningly and asked, “she’s in labor?” I mentioned having had 4 kids already, and let Scott handle the rest. I walked away and sat down. A guy from labor and delivery came with a wheelchair. He made comments on Scott carrying around a “sherpa pack” (which was really just a backpack, my hospital bag and our pillows (because who doesn’t sleep better on their own pillows, right?)), and how those that show up with everything all packed generally get sent home.

Next came the L&D nurses debate. They looked at me sitting comfortably in the wheelchair, and were skeptical about me being in labor for reals. I think I even had a contraction while we were talking to them. We mentioned this being our 5th kid, and that the last labor went really fast at the end. The older nurses were in favor of putting me in a room right away, but the younger nurses and their skepticism won out in the end, and I was put in the triage area.

At this point I kind of lost track of time, which makes me sad because I like know how much time everything takes, but what can you do, we had other things to focus on. The nurses put me in a bed in the triage area, which had 4 or 5 beds curtained off from each other. There were I think 2 other couples there at the time. After probably an hour of the standard questions nurses ask when they check you into a hospital, they checked me. I was dilated to only a 4. My contractions were about 10 minutes apart by this time and I had to relax more thoroughly during them, but I could still answer questions easily in between. It was about 2:45 am.

Since they were so busy, they still wanted to delay me getting a room, and since I was just at 4 cm they thought that seemed like a reasonable idea and suggested that I walked the hallways for an hour or so and then came back. I went to the bathroom and then we tried to go for a walk. I actually thought walking would be a good way to at least kill a little time. I like having things to do while in labor. It helps me not think of it as a never-ending process. With Miles it was the plan to get in the tub for a while, with this one having a next step of going for a walk seemed fine to me…until we started to walk.

We got about 10 feet out the door and I started having contractions about 2 minutes apart if that. I was relaxing as much as I could, but I was having a hot flash and feeling nauseous on top of all the pain. Scott told me that while I was in the bathroom he had tried to convince the nurse that we should be given a room, because my last labor had gone from 4 or 5 cm to baby in about 20 minutes, and that she hadn’t given in. I told him how I did want to kill some time with walking. We walked another 10 feet down the hall in search of a drinking fountain (another mini goal for me to think about), I had a couple more contractions right on top of each other. Scott said, “this is seeming very much like the last time, I don’t think we have very much time left.” I had a contraction which took a lot of effort to relax and said, “this had better start going fast or I’m going to wimp out and be asking for an epidural here really soon,” and I had another contraction. We gave up on finding the drinking fountain and I said we should go back to the bathroom in the triage area. I went to the bathroom again and had a really strong contraction. The kind where you start crying and moaning in real pain.

Here’s where you have to remember that there were two other couples in this area with us. Scott left the bathroom in search of the nurse, leaving the door open, I had another contraction and yelled, “don’t leave me! Scott, I need you!” The next contraction was a pushing contraction. Scott could hear me growling in pain and yelled, “Are you pushing?” I yelled back, “I’m trying not to!” Oh, what were those two other couples thinking about us? I’m sure it made for a good story. I mustered my courage and hobbled back the 10 feet from the bathroom to my triage bed on my own, laid down on my side in the bed and continued to growl and push with each contraction. The nurse checked me, discovered that I was at an 8, and ran to get me to a room.

Now, with Miles’ birth once I started having pushing contractions it was like the part of my brain that filters out some conversation just turned off. Any thought that came to my mind I was yelling out loud. With Lydia, all I did was growl the whole time. I kept thinking thoughts and words, but I just kept growling at everything and with all the pushing. I actually had a very sore throat and couldn’t speak well for a whole day afterwards.

So the nurses pushed my bed into a delivery room, a doctor came running in, and they set up a bunch of lights. You know that scene in the movies when you see the doctors and nurses and the husband from the pregnant woman’s point of view and all you see are their heads in a circle around a giant white light, I opened my eyes at one point and that was what I saw. It actually seemed funny to me at the time, although I really just kept growling.

With Miles’ birth the nurses and midwife were all very encouraging and accommodating. They told me how well I was doing, they let me lay on my side to push the baby out, they helped me and were nice. This time the nurses were still the ones who didn’t want to give me a room, and they kept telling me to put my legs in stirrups and lie on my back, and they got an IV set up in my hand just in case. I was surprised to feel the baby almost crowning, because Scott wasn’t able to give me as many updates as he usually does and it was happening extremely fast.

Then the doctor showed up and started yelling at me to get my attention (I was just growling and lying on my side and closing my eyes and in a lot of pain, so leave me alone thank you), and kept calling me by my name and trying to get me to lie flat on my back because it was “safer for the baby” to which I say “psshhh, don’t give me that line.” Actually I didn’t say that, but I thought it…maybe it was better that words weren’t coming out. Scott tried to tell them that I prefer to lie on my side to give birth, but they kept insisting. I did however really, really want to avoid a tear, so I thought maybe if I layed on my back the doctor would be there to help me control the pushing and stretching and I wouldn’t tear. So I complied.

Then, what had seemed like one long pushing contraction from triage room to delivery room suddenly stopped and I didn’t have to push for a second. They were ordering me to push though. I pushed a bit, then another contraction came to help and I pushed the baby out at 3:32 am Wednesday, December 11.

They put our sweet little baby on my tummy (which I hadn’t ever had happen before), and I was surprised how warm she was and how much hair she had. I think I just said, “baby,” and looked at her, feeling exhausted myself. She was so cute and new and my new little one. Scott told me how well I did and that I was done.

Scott cut the cord and they delivered the placenta. At which point I was feeling like everyone should just leave me alone and stop squishing my tummy so hard and stop giving me pitocin to help the uterus contract back to small, and just go away. Then the doctor kind of apologized for yelling at me, but not a real apology, just one of those where the person is really just explaining why they did what they did, which I think involved the phrase “safer for the baby” again. She was looking for a tear at the time, so trying to make a joke I said, “well, if lying on my back stopped me from tearing, then you are forgiven.” She didn’t take it as a joke though, and I think it made her think I was a jerk for not lying on my back right away and for saying she wasn’t forgiven unless I didn’t tear.

Neither Scott nor I had time to check a clock, but from the bathroom in the triage area to having the baby out was no longer than 20 minutes. It may have been as little as 10. And from the time I started to feel uncomfortable to when I started pushing was only another 10 minutes, so all in all it was only 20 to 30 minutes of pain. But I just have to say that it hurt like hell. Just in case I forget (if there is a) next time.

See, all these little things made my delivery way less awesome than the one with Miles. With Miles I was in awe of what had just happened. The nurses joked that I didn’t even miss a meal that day, and were telling me how well I was doing the whole time from when I got to the hospital until I was done having the baby. Experiencing the intensity of un-medicated delivery, accomplishing something I wasn’t sure I could do, having supportive people around who were complimenting me on how well everything went made the whole thing almost magical to me. In fact, I reflected on the events over and over and felt compelled to write it all down the first day while it was fresh in my mind. This time around I was kind of annoyed at everyone except Scott and Lydia and the whole delivery experience was not “intense and magical and empowering” it was “hot flashes and painful and insulting.” Maybe I should have been saying things out loud, that was a very empowering part last time. If you can’t tell, I have felt a little miffed by the whole thing, and I haven’t been so eager to record it.

Little Lydia is so sweet though, and she fits so well into our family. The kids all love her so much. She is also a very easy baby. She sleeps well, usually waking up only once or twice a night to eat. She eats fast and she has a great latch, so I’ve avoided some soreness I’ve had with the other kids. In fact nursing has not been painful at all, which has really surprised me. This recovery has been super, super easy. I mean, I went shopping the day after I got out of the hospital, and I ran into my doctor at the store, not the mean one who delivered the baby, but my super nice one who was not on call that day. She was surprised to see me so soon out of the hospital, but she was nice and encouraging that I was feeling so well. I still need a nap every couple of days, since waking up twice a night is still tiring, but other than that life is perfect.

(Okay, so I only managed to shave 600 words off this…still too long, but kudos to you if you read the whole thing. It means you love me.)