Saturday, November 30, 2013

November Recap

Here's a quick recap of some of the highlights from November:
Emmy and I attended Gavin's Thanksgiving Feast…so darling.  Gavin was quite funny.  His teachers had set up place settings for the children and their parents around tables, but Gavin wanted to sit by Turbo, the turtle, so we were antisocial and sat alone by the turtle tank…that's my boy.

 Above: Gavin, wearing his turkey hat and sporting his FAVORITE shirt.
Below: Gavin and Turbo. :)

The week of Thanksgiving, the kids were out of school and the Museum of Aviation had a model train display set up, so we took the kids over to check it out.  I was pretty impressed by some of the displays…so much time goes into those things!

Our favorite display was, of course, the Christmas display, but all of them were really pretty cool.  It made me really want a nice train set to go around our Christmas tree...

Below:  random photo from after church one Sunday.  Emmy had been laying on the floor alone, and pretty soon all the other kids were laying next to her, so I snapped a pic.  :)  Not a very good picture of Emmy…:/

Thanksgiving day we had several families over for our afternoon feast and to play games.  we all had a great time and ate WAY too much delicious food.  :)
Below: the kids helping me peel 10 lbs. of potatoes! 

I managed to photograph all the kids, but never did get a shot of a SINGLE adult.  Pretty typical.  In all, we had 11 children, 2 infants, and 10 adults…probably the largest crowd we've ever hosted.  :)

And, just to round things out, here's a shot of my favorite baby smiling at her (and my) favorite man.  :)  She lights up when he starts talking to her.  TOO cute!

Happy November!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

October & the first week of November

Man the months fly by!  Thanksgiving is just days away and I'm just getting around to blogging about October!  Eesh!

Well, the kids had crazy hair day during their homecoming week (I had no idea Elementary Schools had a "Homecoming"…maybe that's a southern thing.)
Anyway, you can't tell from the picture, but Carter's hair is sprayed orange…leftover from Gavin's Halloween costume last year as Ron Weasley.  :)

And, I just noticed poor Emmy…just in a onsie and her swaddling blanket all messed up.  That poor girl is definitely a 4th child!

And yes, before the time change, it was dark when we were eating breakfast!  Super depressing.

 The kids went with a Pirates of the Caribbean theme this year.  Again, my awesome mom made their costumes!  Jemma was Elizabeth Swan, Carter was Jack Sparrow, Gavin was Captain Barbosa and Emmy was a cannon ball.  :)

This picture was taken before our church Halloween Party.  Carter's wig hadn't come in the mail yet and I hadn't been able to find black pants for Emmy…so it was what it was.  :)

Halloween Night we had a super fun, festive dinner with our good friends, the Winwards.  Unfortunately I forgot our camera, so I sent Brandon home to grab it and by the time he got back, the kids were so antsy to get out the door to trick-or-treat, that I didn't get any pictures of ALL the kids together!  I'll have to steal some from Karrissa's blog when she posts them.  :)

Elizabeth with her cannon ball.

Captain Jack Sparrow with his wig!  

The whole crew…the boys wouldn't wear their facial hair this time…said it was too itchy.  I don't blame them.  :)

Trick-or-Treating really wore Emmy out.  ;)

November 2, Brandon's parents and Aunt Jill and Uncle Jerry came to visit us!
We LOVED having them.  They so wonderful!

While we were at church, they went antique-ing and found some really awesome stuff.  Jill came back with this AMAZING old wooden box…but it wouldn't fit in her suitcase, so I inherited!!!  I actually feel REALLY bad that she didn't get to take it with her!  I have promised myself that when/if we move back west, I am going to give it back to her.  I'll just babysit it for now.  ;)

Left: The kids with their Nina and Papa.
Right: Emmy and Nina spending some one-on-one time.  :)

We had the biggest bawl fest when these guys pulled out of our driveway.  All the kids were besides themselves with grief.  Jemma kept saying, "Life is just gonna be normal now!"…apparently she has it pretty bad. lol!  We had to console them with ice-cream. :)

Thank you Zamaroni's & Betencourt's for coming to Georgia to see us!!!  Thank you for doting on our children, for supplying us with gazillions of diapers, and for giving us a super fun weekend!  We LOVED having you!

And just because I can't STAND that she's changing so fast, here's one of little Emmy.  She's smiling and talking to us all the time now!  I am yet to capture it on camera, but I'll keep trying.  She is such a sweet, happy, CHUBBY baby.  LOVE HER! 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Emmy's Arrival and a Visit from Mom

So, for those of you interested, here is the story of Emmy's arrival.  :)

I had a doctor's appointment on Wednesday, September 25th.  I had asked not to be checked at my prior appointment simply because I didn't want to be disappointed.  But this time, I had to know if I was getting closer at all.  Well, I was 70% effaced and 4/almost 5 centimeters dilated!  SWEET!  The dr. stripped my membranes (owe) and said he expected to see me in the hospital within the next few days.  Well, I headed to every store under the sun to keep on my feet and get contractions worked, but nothing consistent.  That was kind of the story for the next two days...I walked and walked and walked and although I was having contractions, they just weren't getting into a regular rhythm.  Meanwhile, I ran kids to and from school, attended a DARLING baby brunch hosted by my sweet friend, Karrissa, prepped for Primary Sharing Time, assembled General Conference packets for 65 children, and continued to do laps around the house, up and down the stairs and around the neighborhood.

Finally, around 10:30 pm on Thursday night (September 26th), my contractions were steadily coming 7 minutes apart and I felt like it was time to head to the hospital.  So, we called Karrissa who came over and stayed the night with our children and headed to Houston Medical Center.

We were admitted around 11:00 pm and after being checked in triage, they told me they wanted to monitor me for an hour because I was still at a 4, almost 5 and 70% effaced.  I wanted to cry.  So, I lay there for an hour hooked up to all their stupid equipment fearing they were going to send me home.

Around 12:30, Dr. Nyugen came in and checked my progress.  Dilated to a 7 and 90% effaced!!!  Hooray!  They were going to let me stick around after all!  :)

I had decided about midway through this pregnancy that I wanted to have a "natural birth" meds.  Brandon thought I was insane, and I reserved the right to beg for an epidural and not hear a word about it later on.  But the plan was NO MEDS.  I really was doing fine going "all natural" until right after the dr. broke my water at 1:30 am (Friday morning).  Dr. Nyugen said he was gonna head down the hall and close his eyes for a little while and our nurse said to page her if we felt like we needed her for anything.  Well, it was probably 10 minutes after they had left that I felt like the contractions were so intense that I might be getting close to pushing.  At this point, I was wishing for an epidural.  I have never known such intense pain.  So, Brandon paged the nurse, who after staying with us (and helping Brandon to keep my legs from shaking like CRAZY) for a few minutes, decided it was time to call the doctor back in.  I felt like I needed to start pushing before he made it back in, so the nurse put on some gloves and three pushes later, she delivered miss Emmy at 1:58 am.
She weighed in at 8 lbs. 4 oz. - my biggest baby so far, and was 20 1/2 inches long.  Her size surprised me a little, but it was her long black hair that took the cake!  Where did that come from???  We love it though.  It's her trademark.  :)

  Our super amazing friends, the Windwards, stayed with our kids during the night, got them up in the morning and even took them to school for us so Brandon could stay the night with me for the first time since Jemma was born!  It was AWESOME to have him there and know that our children were in good hands.
Brandon brought the kids down later that afternoon to see her.  They were SO excited!

Love the wrinkly hands!

The kids were so enamored with her.  They (mostly the boys) had TONS of questions.

After coming home, we had great friends who took care of dinners for a whole week, which was amazing because that perfectly covered the time before my mom would arrive.  Tender Mercy.  And may I just say that every meal was DELICIOUS.  So many talented women around here.  :)  And Brandon took time off of work so that I wouldn't have to get the three older kids out the door and off to school each day.  Sigh.  I wish he was still off work. ;)

Anyway, my wonderful mother came and stayed with us for 8 days and it was so, So, SO wonderful to have her here in Georgia!  Man I love that lady!!!  She always brings a new book with her to share with the kids.  This time it was "Pete the Cat".  So cute.  The kids LOVE it and read it to me now.  :)

While she was here, the kids had their annual Book Character Parade at school, so with my mom here, I got brave and ventured out for the first time (besides dr.'s appointments) with Emmy.  Carter was Jake from the Neverland Pirates and Jemma was Hermione from Harry Potter.

We also took a trip to Jo Ann Fabrics to purchase ALL the stuff for the kids Halloween costumes - which, btw, my wonderful mother sewed entirely during her visit.  THANK YOU MOM!!!

And, we visited Lanes Orchards so my mom could try their amazing peach ice-cream.  I am usually a die hard chocolate fan, but truth be told, their chocolate pales in comparison to their peach!  FYI.  :)

My darling mother made every meal while she was here, and they were GOOD meals.  No cold cereal or spaghetti during those 8 days!  She made chocolate chip cookies and enough dough to freeze and store for 3 more batches.  She read stories to my children, sewed their Halloween costumes, snuggled Emmy when she was fussy so I could get a shower, AND her last day here, she cleaned all my bathrooms, mopped my kitchen floor, baked brownies and STILL had time to sit down and watch Anne of Green Gables with me and Jemma.  (A gift sent by my sweet sister, Julianne.)  :)
She must be Wonder Woman!

Thanks again Mom for coming, and thank you Dad for always sending her!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Welcome Emmy!

 So, the adapter for our camera that allows us to upload photos to our camera is broken.  I discover broken things daily.  It's awesome.  So, on Friday, I ventured out by mylself for the first time with all four kids on a trip to Walmart.  Awesome.  I know.  But I needed to develope some pictures and wanted to make a cd of all the pics of Emmy so I could finally blog about her coming to our family!  Well, it turns out, I only put the pictures I developed on the cd and not ALL of them...lame.  So these will have to do for now.

The other day my AMAZING frind, Karrissa, came and picked up Jemma, Carter and Gavin and took them on an outing to a nature trail about an hour from here.  They were gone for like 5 1/2 hours!  So, I gave Emmy a bath and decided to try my hand at taking nb pics.  (After which, we both took a very long nap.)

These are some of my favorites.

Here's one from right after her bath...her eyes are actually open, so I had to include it in this post.  She still sleeps A LOT.

I guess I'll be headed back to Walmart to make another cd, unless I find a place that carries an adapter that fits my camera.  eesh.  I'll include more details on her "birth story" when I finally have some pictures to go along with the narrative.  ;)

Suffice it to say, we LOVE this little girl.  She is so super mellow and has such a sweet spirit about her.  We can't get enough of her fuzzy head.  Never had a baby with so much hair before!  It is just so darn cute!!!  She sleeps like a champ and smells like heaven.  I don't know how we ever got along without her.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Summer recap

I realize I have become a less than stellar blogger.  Life just never slows down and I just can't seem to fit "regular blog entries" onto my priority list these days.
I do have quite a bit of catching up though, so here is a taste of what we did over the summer.  :)

We pulled Jemma out of school on the last day of school because we wanted to go to Ti-bee Island in South Carolina on a friday...hoping it would be less crowded.  Well, it was PerFecT.  We had a wonderful time and even got our first (seriously needed) exposure to vitamin D for the summer.  :)

 Allow me to back up a little though...before we pulled her out, they had an end of the year field day with all kinds of fun races and relays.  Prior to the actual field day, they had all of the 1st graders race to see who would compete in a 50 yard dash.  Out of all the girls in Jemma's class, she came in 2nd and the girl who beat her has unbelievably long legs, so there you go.  ;) 
Here's Jemma competing in a balancing relay.  She didn't drop that little stuffed chicken once!  I was quite impressed.

 Carter also graduated from Pre-K.  We really liked his preschool and were sad to see it end...especially because kindergarten is ALL day here.  (LAME, LAME, LAME).  He loved his teachers, especially his MUSIC teacher, Miss Tammy.  She was hysterical and all the kids just LOVED her.
 In the interest of conserving space on this post, here's Carter with just the boys...Michael, Collin, Howey and Owen.  I heard about these guys pretty much daily...for being such a shy dude, I was grateful he managed to make a few friends.  :)

For Father's Day, I had the kids all take a picture in Brandon's Air Force boots.  They were just too cute not to post.  :)

 We also snuck into his office and I took a picture of them at Brandon's desk, then we framed the photos and put a poem about dads in a photo collage frame for him to hang in his office.  :)

 The kids also participated in a two week swimming lesson session at the beginning of the season.  Jemma and Carter made huge progress and are now swimming across the pool confidently and going off the diving board and slides without any flotation devices!  Woo-hoo!  This was especially important for Jemma who later accompanied Brandon and me to Hawaii!

Gavin, on the flip side, only attended his class 3 out of the 8 times and when he did go, he sat on the edge of the pool crying and refusing to get in.  The very last day, I told him that he didn't have to go over with his class, but that if he did, he was not allowed to cry and he needed to try to get in and do what his teacher asked.  Well, he finally got in and one of the guy lifeguards actually spent a fair amount of time with him jumping into the deep end (with a life jacket).  Sheesh!  This kid.    

Our 4th of July was a little sad.  It was pouring rain most of the day and into the evening, so all the parades and firework shows were canceled.  We decided that that was not going to ruin our celebration, so in the morning, the kids did their own parade (We watched our friends' youngest child, Greyson, while they were on a, the little blonde on the end is not ours :), but he could have been one of ours by the end of the week.  Our kids LOVED having him stay with us and he was a super easy goin' dude.)  We also had several friends and their families over for a bbq in the late afternoon and the rain even stopped long enough for us to set off fireworks in the front yard!  Yee-ha! 

We planted a garden and ended up with more produce than I could put to use!  It was exciting to go out and find things growing and ready to harvest.  This picture is of ONE harvest on a Saturday morning.  :)

We started off the summer with A LOT of fighting.  The kids were constantly at each other's throats!  But by the end, they were best buddies, always coming up with very entertaining forms of imaginative play.  Here's one shot of them I got on another Saturday morning.  LOVE the dress-ups.

 We also made it out to California for a few weeks at the end of the summer.  We got to see just about everyone we could possibly have wanted to, even our good friends, the Hamiltons.  Alan and Alee Hamilton were both influences for good in Brandon and my life as teenagers and have continued to be people we care about and look forward to seeing whenever we make it back home.  We had an opportunity to spend a morning with them and they had this hilarious little buggy still decorated for the 4th of July parade in their area, so they sent Brandon and the kids off for a ride.  Too funny.  :)

We stayed with Brandon's mom and dad most of the time (minus our 8 days in Hawaii - that trip requires it's own post). Their property is awesome and the kids played outside A LOT.  Trey, our kids only cousin on that side of the family, was staying with them during that time too, so our kids had an opportunity to do a little bonding with him.  Here are a few shots I took one of our last night there.

 And no trip out there would be complete without quad and tractor rides out in the pistachio orchard.  TOO FUN!

 But all good things must come to an end, and so, after 3 weeks of AWESOMENESS we reluctantly came back home.  :(  Home to humidity, bugs, freaky spiders, daily rain and thunder storms, school, structure and routine.  Alright, it's not all bad...I'm just feeling extra lazy here in the last trimester of this pregnancy and I sure enjoyed living a more flexible, relaxing lifestyle for 3 weeks.  I'll get over it.

  The boys, however, are LOVING the rain.  They get to go out and play in it every time it starts pouring, to which I have no problem as long as there is NO THUNDER and LIGHTNING.
Hey, your only a kid once. 

Like I said, you're only a kid once...and those are some TALENTED kids.  I can't even do that!

And here are Jemma and Carter on the first day of school...BOOOOOO!  I have cried almost every other day when I drop them off.  I still can't bring myself to put them on the bus.  Maybe next week...or when I'm finally in dire need with a newborn.

When did they get so big?  Sigh...