Sunday, December 13, 2015
November was full of blessings!
First up, we got to celebrate the birth of our oldest kiddo. Axel Jack has always been a blessing in our lives...but this past few months, we've seen a lot of maturing on his part. Not only has he grown to over 5 feet tall (!), but he has also been willing to shoulder more responsibilities and help more with LESS complaining. We love this guy!
He can be a little crazy (yes, that is his, "I'm crazy about SCIENCE!" face), but he is a smart cookie.
This year, he opted for ice cream sundaes rather than birthday cake! We used brownies to sing to him and provide a base for some delicious ice cream.
...And dreams do come true. He was so stoked to receive the Disney Infinity video game (even if it was only version 2.0).
The next blessing we received in November was a visit from Grandpa and Grandma Carla! (We were having so much fun, this was one of the only candids we got--and it failed to include Grandma Carla! Fail.)
While they were here, we had little Mr. Micah's baby blessing at our church.
I cannot believe our family has grown so much. I mean, I know I grew them all, and I've been raising them for the past 11 years, but 6 kids...it's a lot. It has kind of snuck up on me/
We were blessed to have Tyler's sister and family down from Salt Lake, as well as some dear local friends. What a blessing to have such wonderful people in our lives to join us in celebrating the addition to our family.
I'm gonna toot my own horn. I made those cute little overalls that Micah is wearing.
I also made his shoes. And I kinda made him. Crafting for the win!
The day was gorgeous. The guys were handsome. There was all kinds of love and happiness.
(Micah at 4 weeks)
Then, we were blessed to have Jack complete his science fair project and turn it in on time. He even got an honorable mention for his grade! The real blessing was when it was OVER. Preventing apple oxidization is a real thing, folks. The moral of this story: if you don't want your cut apples to brown, but Fujis. You're welcome
Jack was blessed to celebrate his birthday (11 years!?!) with a few of his friends. We got our Harry Potter on. We did the coolest invitations with these owl balloons holding scroll letters. Pintrest for the win!
When the guys arrived, we did potions class. Tyler subbed for Snape and made a flesh-eating slug (or Santa's Toothpaste, depending on hoe Muggle you are). They practiced casting spells with a wizard's duel (throwing small balls at each other) and honed their Quidditch skills (dodgeball). Fortunately, it was gorgeous fall weather so they could do all the activities outside.
Good news with a Harry Potter party: Hagrid's cake from #1 make the cake decorating easy. Dare I say, easiest cake EVER.
This blessing just keeps getting bigger!
In fact this is my view every day. Sure, I don't get a lot done, I have to type one-handed, and I have permanent baby-sweat-halo on my chest...but it is heavenly.
Tyler was blessed to have 2 work trips this month...yeah, that was fun. But he squeezed a trip to the Oakland Temple in, so it was ok.
Just before Thanksgiving, we celebrated the birth of our second son.
Henry cracks us up. He is definitely our quietest kid, but he makes friends like nobody's business! He is one of the biggest kids in his grade, but he is a friendly, kind, and sensitive guy. The only kid I know who would rather be the soccer goalie than the star forward. He is imaginative and smart...and he has killer dimples.
This kid also loves Harry Potter (see his glasses for proof!), but he loves Pokemon even more. In the spirit of simple cakes, we went with a Pokeball cake.
And yes, that cake is correct. The kid is SEVEN.
(I just love this shot).
Right after Henry's birthday comes Thanksgiving. One of my favorite days of the year! I just love the food and spending time with family. I love that Tyler has the day off. I love watching the parade with my family. I love that it feels like opening day for the Holiday Season. Pumpkin pie, stuffing with bacon, turkey...yeah, it's my kind of holiday!
We joined the Martin family up in the Salt Lake Valley for the delicious meal. We love spending time with their family, along with Tyler's Grandpa Larry and Grandma Diane. With the kiddos in school, we don't see our SLC family nearly often enough!
The food was wonderful, the kids were great, the company was perfect. It was a great day.
Henry recently had his birthday party (it actually got pushed back until December, but we'll recap here. This post isn't long enough yet. I mean, you're still reading it).
Shockingly, Henry went with a Pokemon theme for his party. We started out having the kids draw their own Pokemon (either real or imagined) and we were amazed by how intent they were on this project. They took it pretty seriously and would have probably worked on that the entire time if we hadn't interrupted with other games!
Who knew their attention spans had matured so much? Maybe only for Pokemon!
We also played "Pin the tail on Pikachu" (pretty self-explanatory) and "Pokeball tag." Pokeball tag combined dodgeball and tag and some questionable rules, but Jack was running the game, so who's complaining? After cake, ice cream, and presents, the kids wanted to go back outside and play! Hooray for another sunny (albeit, chilly) day!
I probably should have rotated this picture, but I think we're all ready to move on from November by this point of the post!
Treat: Lemon Meringue Pie
Animal: Griffins (for the record, he did ask if it had to be a real animal. At least he knows the difference, right?)
BFs: Gabe and Caden
Career aspirations: a computer software designer
Hobbies: Video games with friends, reading, percussion, piano, computer time, banner-making (I don't know what banner making is, but that's what he says...)
Color: Light blue
Food: Sausage Pizza (funny story--he asked for bacon pizza only to realize after I made it that he meant sausage. I guess we don't have breakfast meat regularly!)
BFs: This changes often. Graham! Andrew! Harrison! Jack! Kyle! Preston! Camden!
Career aspirations: An artist (that's the last one he told me, I may have to edit this)
Hobbies: Video games, soccer, piano, playing with friends, reading, Pokemon battles, making pretend weapons
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
This October was a little tricky. I was feeling like my uterus would explode at any moment to bring forth a child (haha, you silly, hopeful woman!), Halloween (and thus, awesomesauce Halloween costumes) was staring me down to see who would chicken out first, and those 5 kids of ours had piano, Cub Scouts, school, Activity Days, Pre-K, percussion, etc devouring time. It felt like a lot of "hurry up and wait!" moments. We didn't take pictures of most of them...until all the exciting stuff at the end of the month!
We began "ponderizing" scriptures this month, as advised by an LDS leader at General Conference the first weekend in October. We started out with Matthew 11:28-30 (which seemed appropriate since I was sure hoping to LABOR early in the month!).
Tyler accepted the invitation to "pitch" Rising Star Outreach to compete for a prize to help benefit their non-profit. We weren't sure whether or not I'd have the baby by then, since it was a few days prior to my due date, but fortunately (?) baby held off and he was able to win "Judge's Choice" for the day he pitched! He only had 4 minutes to "sell" his company, but he packed that 4 minutes full and knocked it out of the park. I'm so proud of this guy and grateful that we can be involved in the amazing work RSO does to lift the leprosy-affected in India.
Meanwhile, my belly got bigger and bigger. I walked into stores and peoples' eyebrows would climb (usually followed by an incredulous comment about how I was ready to pop--I WISH!), I waddled around the house and was exhausted by climbing the stairs, and we hesitated to commit to doing anything because I was dilated to 3+ and 80% effaced and "could go any time now!" Sigh.
This is what I have to show for the first half of the month. Kid-selfies. At least they are cutie pies, right?
Tyler did take advantage of some free tickets to a BYU football game (thanks, Daniel!) and introduced Jack to the pure fabulousness that is live BYU football. I declined the opportunity to slowly waddle to the stadium (which is a bummer, because I love going to the games!) but the guys had a great time!
Then this happened (see previous blog post for all the story or just for more pictures of these delectable cheeks). I'll admit it, he's my favorite event in October!
The weather was gorgeous through the month, so kiddos got to enjoy the river trail with Grammy.
Grammy also made homemade play dough with these 2 littles, and they have been enjoying HOURS of play with that dough.
Cole worked on perfecting his Hobbit impression.
Amelia worked on her baby-cuddling skills.
Sheridan and Henry would have worked on those skills more often, but darn school got in the way.
Jack had his first percussion concert. He is such a talented musician!
We did squeeze in a little jack o' lantern carving on Halloween.
Hooray for cute little jack o'lanterns!
This year, the kids channeled their inner wizard and transfigured into Harry Potter characters!
Sheridan was brilliant as Hermione Granger
Amelia was a purrfect Crookshanks
Jack channeled Draco Malfoy with diabolical glee.
Henry was magical as Harry Potter!
Cole had a hoot as Hedwig the owl.
And Micah was The Boy Who Lived!
Hope you all had a wonderful Halloween!
So, we had a baby on October 20th. The basic info? Micah Alexander, 10 lbs 2 oz, 21.5" long, born at 7:25 pm in Orem.
The rest of this post is the too-much-info-nitty-gritty.
I know this baby announcement might have come out of nowhere for many of you. That's because we never announced the pregnancy. Unless you actually saw me or are very closely related to Tyler or me, you probably were blissfully unaware. Why, you ask?
Well, there are a few reasons. The biggest was the miscarriage I had last year at this time. After feeling very strongly that our family wasn't quite complete, I was due with my spring baby. I saw the heartbeat and baby move during an 8 week ultrasound. I was sick and showing enough that my kids figured out I was pregnant...except at the 12 week checkup, the baby didn't have a heartbeat anymore. We were all completely devastated. My body didn't figure the situation out and kept on with the pregnancy, even though baby had passed away. The drugs I was given to help my body through the process of miscarriage didn't work completely, so surgery was required. That week of knowing my baby was gone...but my body not knowing...it was horrible. I was very seriously, devastatingly depressed. Once the miscarriage was complete, I was better. Still fragile, but better.
A few months later, I found out I was pregnant again. This is how the conversation with Tyler went.
Ali: "So I am going to tell you something, and then we are not going to talk about it for a few months."
Tyler (wondering what the heck was going on): "Uh, ok?"
Ali: "I'm pregnant."
Tyler (stunned silence). "Um...so can I ask a few follow-up questions and then we not talk about it for a few months?"
And then, we didn't talk about it for a few months.
After a start like that, is it any surprise I never could announce it? I started thinking of all my friends going through similar issues with miscarriages or struggling with infertility and undergoing a boatload of treatments and here we are on our sixth kid...and I just couldn't.
This pregnancy was my roughest emotionally and physically. I don't know how much my "advanced maternal age" contributed, but my body was so over being pregnant by the time I was 26 weeks along. But the pregnancy kept going past 40 weeks. I haven't been pregnant past 39 weeks since I was pregnant with Sheridan and haven't reached my "due date" since I was pregnant with Jack. (Do we have time to discuss my pet peeve with the term "due date?" Babies are not term papers or bills or library books--they don't care when you think they're "supposed" to come. Everyone around you, though, who knows your "due date" reminds you constantly that your body isn't doing what it "should" do and is late. Because the person who is waiting for you to have that baby is WAY more anxious than you are for it to come...which is why I haven't announced my due date since I was pregnant with my first.)
Uh, I think I've gotten off topic. We had a baby. Let's tell that story.
So, I was 40 weeks and 2 days (not that we're counting, right? Because we know due dates are guess dates based on averages. Tell that to a woman who had gone over that date) and more than a little anxious to be done with the pregnancy. My SI joints protested painfully whenever I had to do something like move. Heartburn precluded such crazy activities as drinking more than a sip of water or eating. The hormones were only making me a little crazy. My belly was larger than it has EVER been and I was getting tired of people looking at me like I would explode.
(This is my belly about a week before I was "due." It was all in front!)My mother-in-law flew into town the morning of my 40 week checkup and arrived to watch our littles about an hour before the appointment (THANK YOU, MOM!!!). At said appointment, I was sure I'd still be at 3 cm and 80% effaced. Cue angels singing when I was at 5 cm (at the beginning) and 100% effaced going to 6 cm by the end of the check. Midwife: "How close do you live to the hospital?"
Contractions started at home about 2 hours later while I was on the phone with my sister. After 15 minutes of those, I excused myself to labor in our awesome jetted tub (no joke, I've been looking forward to laboring in that tub since we moved into this house). Tyler's mom offered to get us all dinner, but I really didn't want her to leave. I was nervous we'd need to leave before she got back. I was only in the bath for 1/2 hour before I felt like we needed to get moving toward the hospital. When I got out of the tub at 5:30, the midwife on call was on the phone with Tyler to encourage me to head to the hospital as soon as I thought I was in labor (at first Tyler told her I couldn't come to the phone and she turned to the other midwife, "I hope she isn't going to have this baby at home!"). I let her know we were just about to head in and would be there by 6. I was starting to get teary and shaky and just wanted to go to my birthing place, so I figured that transition was coming.
Tyler loaded the car in record time and I zoned out to my Hypnobabies. Contractions were hard and about 3 minutes apart, but if I stayed in the zone they were mostly pressure. At the hospital, they put me in a triage room for all of 2 minutes until they realized I'd already been checked at 6 cm that day and moved me to my L&D room. We ended up having a nurse that attended at least 2 of our other kids' births (yay Brooke!) as well as an awesome tech who fanned my face for over an hour (yay Mindy!) in the warmish room. I got in my room around 6 pm, checked out at 7 cm and then got out of the bed to labor. Seriously, laying in that bed during contractions made the pain radiate all the way down my legs and I thought I might die. :) Since neither dying nor writhing in pain was on my agenda, I opted to labor standing by my bed, leaning over it and having Tyler squeeze my hips during each contraction. The medical staff mostly hung back and let me do my thing. Leaning over the back of the raised bed became more comfortable as things progressed. My breathing started to change toward the end of each contraction and it felt good to get a little pushy and breathe the baby down. My water broke (at least partially) during this phase. After several of these pushy contractions, the pressure started to get really intense.
It was time. I knew it...but I also knew, "I can't do this!" I held back during the first real pushing contraction because it is such a big, overwhelming powerful feeling. Powerful in a, "there's no way this will fit out!" way. Logically, I knew I'd done it before and I could do it again. Too bad logic doesn't play much of a role in this part of the story! Tyler asked what I needed and I let him know I needed those awful monitors off my belly! So he just removed them, may-he-be-blessed-forever. I loudly announced several times that I couldn't do it, and Tyler kept affirming that I WAS doing it. Tyler was by my side the entire time he wasn't squeezing my hips, telling me what an amazing job I was doing and reminding me to relax. I was pushing on my knees with my arms draped over the back of the bed. Feeling that baby descend--wow. I finally got in the zone and let my body do its job. The next contraction and I pushed the head out. I remember my midwife telling me, "Slow down! Don't push!" but baby's shoulders were already sliding right out and baby started wailing.
I did need pitocin afterwards (and with that I will take something for pain, thank you), but I did not need any stitches (Midwife: "I cannot believe it! No tearing, no abrasions!"). I was tired but I felt so. much. better. I was only at the hospital for 1.5 hours before having our boy, but what an intense hour-and-a-half!
(Baby's first selfie, compliments of Daddy)Naming the baby was tricky. The name we'd planned on for a boy wasn't right even though both Tyler and I liked it. We went back and forth, scrapped our entire list of boy names and had nothing. Alexander finally felt right for a middle name...but that darn first name was elusive. We debated Tuesday evening through Wednesday. Wednesday night we prayed for help--and we both had the name "Micah" come during the prayer. We have never even mentioned Micah as a name, but it felt right, so Micah Alexander it is. And (as I announce almost every time I pick him up), "Oh, I just love him so much!!"
(Me and all my minions)
(These kiddos LOVED meeting their new brother!)
(She wanted a sister and said she wouldn't like a brother...but the second she met him she was in love!)
(I was SO worried he'd feel displaced and reject the baby, but he ADORES his baby!)
(The going-home outfit Daddy had to hastily pick up for him since his sex was a surprise, I hadn't washed the 3 month clothes, and the newborn outfit was WAY too small.)
(Getting bundled up to go home)
(This was one of our nurses--she was also my nurse for Jack's delivery and helped me have my first successful NUCB. We love Debbi and were so excited to see her again!)
(This sweet boy was all tuckered out after his drive home. Welcome to our family, MicahMan!)