1.27.2016

Caleb Comes!

Disclaimer:  It has almost been a year since Caleb joined our family, and I can probably count on one hand the number of times I've gotten more than 4 hours of sleep in a stretch. So, dear Cabes, if this account lacks detail because my brain is a little foggy, resist the temptation to find in this a reason to feel slighted. Instead see this muddled account as golden proof of my devotion to you and your constant well-being, day and (especially) night, for months on end.

It took me a long time to settle on a midwife for Caleb's delivery. After Jane's beautiful home birth, I was excited to have a similar experience this time around. Because we had moved further away, my midwife for Jane (and my miscarried pregnancies) felt it best that I find someone closer.  It made sense, but I was disappointed and still a little broken from the miscarriages, so I put off the task for way too long.  I found one in December, and although it didn't seem like the best fit, it really was too late to change.  

She was a very good, kind person.  I can definitely see how many people would just adore her. She would talk to Caleb in my belly and had a strong feeling that his birth would be wonderful.  She was dedicated and very knowledgeable when it came to herbs and natural things. Any ailment or symptom I had could be alleviated with some kind of herb or goat's whey or diet change.  She is good at what she does, very passionate.  But I really just wanted to take TUMS without being made to feel like I was ruining my placenta.  I wanted someone to tell me I had the blood pressure of a 7 year old, and a blood type that loves babies, and that it might help to try upping my water intake in a way that didn't feel like I was in trouble, all things Rebecca, my previous midwife, had done.

Really, I just wanted to have someone who saw my life full of children and recognized that this pregnancy was very important, but that I had so many things to focus on, and I didn't need another reason to feel like I was failing. My baby was growing and nothing was going wrong.  I just needed that to be enough. This midwife had been unable to have children, and had made natural birth and living her passion.  I had not. I just liked having Jane at home and wanted to do that again.  I wasn't driven by a hatred of hospitals, doctors, or medication, or by a love of all things holistic and natural.  I just liked the peaceful feeling that had accompanied Jane's entrance into the world. So while I appreciated her knowledge, I generally left our visits feeling worse than before.

She had two apprentices, and while I liked them both, this caused it's own sort of distress for me.  About 3.5 weeks before my due date, labor really started.  I'd had babies this early before, and Caleb was measuring big, so I was excited! I labored for about an hour as the contractions grew more intense.  Because Jane had arrived so quickly, I wanted to make sure the midwife had enough time to get to our house.  When I was SURE things were progressing, I had Kevin make the call. My midwife said she'd head over and that the assistants might arrive before she did. Within 15 minutes, my labor stopped completely. I'm not sure why, but it really felt like my discomfort with my midwife and my guilt over dragging 3 people out of their beds and away from their families caused me enough stress to just stop labor cold. And that happened twice.  It made for a long last few weeks of pregnancy.

I took several pictures there at the end, hopeful that each one would be the last.


 

Turns out, this was my last one, taken just a few hours before his birth, though I didn't know it at the time. My current house has awesome carpet and SO. MANY. MIRRORS. Every closet door, several in each bathroom, even an entire wall of my room (exciting, right? ;) ), so as a result, you can see the birth tub in the angle on the right in this picture.

I can't say that I didn't have any clue that Caleb was coming when I took this, though I wasn't having contractions yet.  That morning I was stressed, just a little bit.  My mom had already bought tickets to come for 5 day...I think arriving on the 11th, though I'm not certain about that.  I just know that it was coming up, and I was worried she'd miss the baby entirely.  I was due on the 14th, and as I said earlier, I'd had a lot of labor, but none for several days.  SO...I was worried and stressed and tired.  I just wanted peace and I knelt and prayed for it the morning of the ninth. I prayed that I could stop worrying, that I could let go of trying to control the situation.  I immediately opened my scriptures and read this verse in the Book of Mormon, in 3rd Nephi Chaper 1:

12 And it came to pass that he cried mightily unto the Lord all that day; and behold, the voice of the Lord came unto him, saying:
 13 Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfil all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets.
I hope this doesn't sound sacrilegious, because I know this verse is about the Savior, but it spoke peace to my soul.  I felt like I knew that my son was coming and that I could just enjoy these last few...hours, days...I wasn't sure how literally to take the scripture, but I did feel at ease.  I did enjoy that day.  I remember reading with Adam and Jane, doing a little laundry, talking to my mom and sisters about my hopes for a baby "on the morrow" and just relaxing about the whole situation.  
Well, in that picture up there it was bedtime, and I didn't know what to think.  I hadn't felt a single contraction and it was after 10.  The kids were all soundly sleeping, so we went to bed, but I couldn't relax and I let myself get worried again.  I went out at around 11:20 and started walking up and down our stairs. After about 5 reps and no progress, I leaned against the wall, feeling discouraged.  But the scripture, "be still, and know that I am God." came to mind.  I felt peaceful again and went back to bed.  At about 11:45, I had a strong contraction. Yay! Then...nothing. Nothing. I prayed for more peace, and it was quickly granted.  I fell asleep within a few minutes.  Then, at 12:20, I woke up to another strong contraction, and my water broke!
Kevin called the midwife and began filling the birth tub.  My contractions came hard and close from then on. Kevin was my person, helping me through the contractions and giving encouragement.  We felt like a team to me.  When Jane was born, he was focused on blowing up and filling the tub, and I just did my thing, calling him to help when I really needed it.  This time, we were more prepared, and we had a little more time, so he was with me and I loved it.  The midwife and assistants all arrived at around 1:12, but it was a few minutes before I wanted them to come in to my room.  I was just really focused and didn't want to talk to anyone.  
They came in and I felt like I wanted to get in the tub.  I did and one of the assistants listened to the baby's heart between contractions.  She wanted me to tell her when another contraction came, so she could hear how the baby was doing during contractions. One started almost immediately, and I told her, but I couldn't stay still.  It was very strong and I needed to turn onto my knees. It didn't let up, and I suddenly felt very irrational.  My thoughts were something like "I can't do this, I hate this, why do I have to do this? I'm done. I can't do this!" Then, I pushed. Caleb's head came out with one push and it took everyone a few seconds to realize it.  I was still in my own zone, but could hear them say, Oh, there's the head! I just wanted to be done, so whether they were ready or not, I pushed again, and out slid the rest of him, into Kevin's waiting arms, as it turns out. It was 1:19 am.
I heard him cry before I saw him and I can't describe my relief. He was alive, and breathing! In all those months of pregnancy, I had worried so very much. I honestly was shocked when they put a healthy, fat, red Caleb in my arms. I looked him over, basically amazed that he was completely fine, but he was. At 8 pounds 10 ounces, he was a full pound bigger than my next biggest baby.  He had fuzzy dark hair, another surprise. We got out of the tub and quickly settled into bed. 






He just seemed so robust and healthy, and I cried tears of gratitude and disbelief. My soul seemed to heal immediately.  The midwife and assistants cleaned everything up, I think they made us a smoothie. They gave Caleb a full examination and everything was great. Honestly, it was a blur.  A happy blur. In the weeks before Caleb's arrival, I'd lay in my bed and picture him nestled next to me, and here he was, just as I'd pictured. He was so familiar to me, even in those first moments. 


They eventually left. We marveled. We slept. Our kids woke up to a new brother! Friends and family rallied around to celebrate, and to make us feel comfortable and loved. My friend Amy came with dinner and a quilt and took pictures of all of us, but they aren't on this computer. Such treasures that I will share when I get them switched over. Here's one:

Kevin's sister, Julie, took Adam and Jane for hours and Nicole picked Austin up from Kindergarten and kept him so we could rest while the other boys were at school.  Mikelle surprised me by driving the 4 hours up from Kanab and arrived in the afternoon. 



The only rough thing was that I had no prescription medication to help ease the afterbirth pain, and it was excruciating for the first 2-3 days. Worse than labor, except for maybe the last 2 minutes. I was so grateful for all of the help during that time so I didn't have to do anything but stay in bed with my sweet baby. The heating pad was my best friend, but when I would nurse Caleb, sometimes the cramping was so intense I'd have to quickly put him down and curl into a ball to try to cope. That, I remember clearly. ;) 

My mom arrived on the eleventh (double checked in Kevin's journal) and was so helpful, as always. No one loves babies like she does and it's been a treasure to share each of mine with her. 

And from there, the days seem to run together. It took us about a week to settle on a name, in the end it was between Henry and Caleb.  We tried Henry first and it felt forced and didn't seem to be the right one. Then we tried Caleb and it was immediately comfortable and just felt like it was who he was. Like I said, He's most often Cabes, Cabey, Cubs, or Cubby to us now, but I love the name Caleb as well.  We love him so much and feel so blessed to have him as our lucky number 7!











1.07.2016

Words for Loss

Caleb's arrival marked the definitive end to a hard period of time for me, and I feel I need to address that before I can explain my feelings surrounding his birth. The reason this blog was entirely abandoned for so long was that I didn't know how to write about my miscarriages, but didn't think I could just write as if they didn't happen.  I had two between Jane and Caleb.  The first at 11 weeks and the second at 20.

My first miscarriage started as a pregnancy I wasn't exactly trying for.  Jane and that baby would have been 17 months apart, so not crazy by my standards, just sooner than I was planning.  It took a few days to process it, then I was just excited. The weeks of the first trimester seem to take forever, and I was almost done with them, but when I went in for my first appointment at 11 weeks, it was clear something was wrong. The baby was measuring so small and the little heartbeat was steady but very slow.  There was nothing to do but wait for an inevitable miscarriage.  It was an awful 5 days, knowing the baby was slowly dying and I could do nothing.  When it was over, I felt on the fence about having another baby soon.  The pregnancy had helped me get excited about the thought of another, but the loss left me sad and a little disoriented.

After about 4 months, we tried again and I was pregnant right away.  I was happy, but scared.  I held my breath at my 10 week appointment, but all was well.  It was such a relief! At 14.5 weeks we went to the mall to find out the gender of our baby. 100% boy! He was measuring just right and moving all over. We had all of the kids with us, and had made a deal that if it was a girl we'd get ice cream and if it was a boy we'd get doughnuts. Doughnuts it was! We went to Harmon's and bought a box, then went to their upstairs dining area and divvied them up. It was a fun memory. :)

 My next appointment with my midwife was at 20 weeks.  It was on Valentines Day. Kevin was sick, so I left Jane and Adam napping with him and brought Austin and Noah with me.  I was excited to see our little guy again, but...there was no heartbeat. She did an ultrasound and our little boy wasn't moving. He was gone.  He'd died at least a few weeks earlier. My midwife was very kind, explaining some options I had. It was all a blur. I told her I'd talk to Kevin and call her when I got home.

I couldn't bring myself to call anyone. I was so so sad. I packed my little boys into the car and drove the 25 minutes home sobbing. Noah, who was 6, asked what was wrong.  I told him our baby had died and that it made me really sad.  Kevin was as shocked as I was. There were decisions to be made about how to get the baby out. I could take cytotech, and basically go into labor and deliver him at home. I could go to the hospital, and possibly get a d&c.  I prayed for discernment and felt very peaceful about staying at home.  Danny and Nicole came and picked up all of our kids.  My midwife sent a prescription  for the cytotech and Kevin picked it up along with some dinner for us.  We enjoyed the time alone together before the contractions started. It was hard, but I think we both felt a lot of peace that night.  Our little son was born within a few hours. We got to hold his little body and marvel at his perfect fingers and toes.

There were no complications, and physically I healed very quickly.  Emotionally, it took longer. I felt pretty numb for a while, then anti-social. I lost some of my zest for life and it took a long time before I felt like myself again. I had always thought it would be fairly easy to recover from that kind of thing. But it all hit me harder than I would have expected.  I didn't understand the losses, the second one especially.  I wasn't bitter, but I wasn't turning to the Lord for strength either.  I was just going along and some days were harder than others, but I just sort of floated through things, breaking down from time to time.  I never doubted that the Lord was aware of me, or that this was part of His plan, but I was very halfhearted in my attempts to connect with Him. I regret this, but have since felt that He understood and didn't hold it against me.  I think I could have spared myself some pain, though, if I'd allowed Him to help more.

All was not misery between my first miscarriage and Caleb's birth. We went on some wonderful trips, and my day to day life was full of children whose happiness was contagious. There were many, many joyful moments. I do wish I'd been better at recording them.

I was pregnant with Caleb 3 months after the second miscarriage, and I worried about him all the time.  I was sure something would go wrong with the pregnancy or that he wouldn't be healthy after he was born. We moved about 20 minutes away during that pregnancy (another post waiting to happen) and I had to find a new midwife. I put it off forever, I think I was functioning under that attitude that no news was good news and worried that an appointment would bring bad news.  Caleb was soothing to me, though, even in the womb. If I EVER feared that something was wrong, he would move, as if to reassure me that he was fine.  I felt a bond with him and prayed that all would be well. So many prayers that all would be okay.

And it was!




Next post: Cubby's Birth Story

1.04.2016

Meet Cabes

Inspired by my friend, Courtney, who was inspired by our friend, Diane, I am going to attempt to post at least once a week this year.  Whew! It's a lofty goal for me, but it's time to come back to life.

First things first: An Introduction!

Caleb James joined our family on a cold dark night in February, 2015. February 10th. He was my biggest baby by a pound, and I really should dedicate a full post to his birth, but not yet. This is just a quick catch up. So, without further ado...Caleb!













 

The last one was taken just yesterday.  He's almost 11 months now and is walking all over! He's brought so much happiness to our family and all of his siblings think he's just the best baby in the world. He knows how to cheer up even the crankiest brother or console the saddest sister.  They simply can't help but smile when he's around and he seems to really be aware of their feelings.


Personally, I love this sweet boy with all my heart. He soothes my soul. He's smart and busy, but also peaceful and content. And he has BROWN hair! It's not dark brown, but it's the darkest we've had.  It's funny seeing him with Jane.  She's so fair and petite and he's big and dark.  She'll take his hands and walk backwards all over the house, leading him from room to room faster than he could go on his own.  He'll go along with her schemes.


I should say, we rarely call him Caleb. It's almost always Cabes, Cabey, Cubby, or Cubs. And his only real downside is that he only like sleeping in my arms, and even then not very soundly. He likes to nurse OFTEN. And frankly, I'm too tired to not nurse him when he wakes up, so he'll eat, then settle back into his favorite spot. 

This was just this morning...and there are many more just like it.




But as tired as I am, I still find it endearing. He likes to be close, and I can't say that's a bad thing. So if I make no sense sometimes, just know I'm sleep deprived, but it's for a good cause.:) It keeps him happy. and chubby.

We're so grateful he's part of our family, and he seems pretty happy to be here.


(and, yes. It has been over 2.5 years since my last post... :/ )

5.07.2013

impatience

Just a few more weeks of school and then we'll be free!  I love that thought and have been counting down for some time now...like since January.  It's not just because I tire of the daily disruption of picking them up.  I genuinely like having them here.  with me.  It's going to be a good summer, too.  We are building a tree house of sorts (well, Kevin is) and I can't wait for it to be done so my boys can get adventuring in it.  Here's where it stands right now:

That tube there on the bottom left is going to be an awesome slide.  I think Kev will finish the floor this week, then on to the railing and ladder.  I think we'll enclose the bottom and make it a sandbox. It's taking a long time, weeks and weeks...I just can't wait because I'm so excited! I wish we had a good branch for attaching some kind of tire swing...maybe we'll figure something out.

For mother's day I've asked for a fence =)  Our yard is fenced, but not enclosed on the sides of our house.  It's something we just keep meaning to do, but haven't done.  We can't decide if we should hire someone, or just do it ourselves (kevin's self).  Kev is feeling particularly handy lately thanks to the tree house, and I do think he can totally handle it.  I just don't know if I can handle the time it will probably take.  I've heard that when it comes to this sort of thing people want things done well, done fast, and done cheap...but you can only ever have two out of the three.  I can tell Kevin wants to do it, so that is probably what will happen.  I'll just have to remind myself that I asked for it when I don't see him for 3 Saturdays in a row.  How much is it worth to just have it done in 4 hours?  Oh, so tempting...

Despite all of this home improvement, I'm starting to really feel the desire to move.  I love my house.  I love so many things about my house. I just dream of more land.  Our friends are moving left and right and houses are selling quickly in our area for good prices.  It's made me itchy.  I'm content to stay for now, happy even. But I can't help it if my fingers keep typing in utahrealestate.com each time I sit down to my computer...I just can't help it.

I didn't start this post with a theme, but I see it.  I'm impatiently counting down the days until summer, I want a tree house and I want it now, and a fence now, and I want land now.  Do you think maybe I could use some patience? 
umm...yes. =)

3.29.2013

Yogi Janie

Jane can scoot, but she can't quite crawl. As Jane is in between phases right now, her attempts at advancing often look as if she's trying to strengthen her core while achieving inner tranquility. 

{gently ease yourself into the downward dog position}

{while maintaining that position, slowly lift your right leg}

{now lift your head and hold that position...breathe...}

 Enter Noah and Adam...

 {relax, smile, relax}

 {And...go back to downward dog}


Beautiful quilt courtesy of Amy Springer, who also took the amazing pictures the morning after Jane's birth.  She is truly one of my heroes.

3.27.2013

back from the dead =)

It seems like an appropriate time of year for this little blog of mine to come back to life.  My computer was out of commission for months because my sons broke the cord and I never made time to order another one.  We have a tablet and smart phones, and Kevin has his laptop that he brought home on weekends, so I just got used to living without one.  The only real casualty was this blog because it requires lots of typing, which takes too much time on a tablet and weekends go by so quickly that I never thought to post while the laptop was home.  My sister-in-law offered me a cord that belonged to a broken laptop of theirs, so here we are again.

Where to start...? 

Jane is 8 months old today. I really hate that I've missed out on recording her little babyhood.  She is so great.  She was sortof difficult for the first few months, but has since become very easy and sweet.  Not a great sleeper, though I blame that entirely on myself.  She's not a bad sleeper.  She usually wakes twice a night to eat, but then just goes right back to sleep.  She's a petite little thing, but is loving real food, so I think she may start to bulk up a bit.  My mother-in-law is a tiny woman, so maybe Jane will be too.  Austin continues to love her, but she's gaining more fans around here as she comes to life more and more.  She wants to crawl and looks like she's doing yoga as she tries to figure it out.  She does manage to roll/scoot wherever she pleases, just not as quickly as she'd like.

Adam is two and is talking more and more.  He's got quite the personality, though he can't quite express it fully with his limited language abilities.  He makes up for it in spade with his facial expressions and body language.  He's a little naughty.  Really, quite naughty.  Austin told me we could give him to a different family and yesterday Jack declared him the naughtiest boy on earth.  Kevin responded by saying that it wasn't so.  He had read about a boy in Mexico who really was the naughtiest boy on earth.  Of course the boys wanted to know all of the naughty things that boy did, so we spent the next fifteen minutes listing off whatever naughty thing came to mind...cutting every cord in the house, bashing the TV with a hammer, hiding his dad's keys in his diaper, putting paint in the washer...the boys were loving it, and I think it helped them see that Adam really isn't so bad after all.  He doesn't do any of those things.

Austin just turned four and, well, he's a puzzle of extremes at the moment.  Take his birthday, for example.  I only had a few little things for him to open throughout the day because I hadn't been organized enough to decide on and purchase a main present.  He was thrilled with it all.  He was grateful and he shared with his brothers all day.  We took him to Walmart to pic out something bigger gifts that night.  He found a pinwheel, a glowstick, a ball, and a $5 gumball machine and he thought he'd died and gone to heaven.  He had a huge smile across his face and said "this is the best birthday ever!" many times. I was so pleased with my grateful little son.  BUT...The next day Kevin's parents came over to bring him a gift.  They'd called in advance to find out what he liked.  We'd told them how he likes to dress up as superheroes.  They were nice enough to buy him two great masks.  The gifts were nicer than any we had purchased for him.  He unwrapped them and immediately scowled and said he didn't want them and that he wouldn't wear them.  He threw them on the ground and cried.  When it was time for Grandma and Grandpa to leave, he gathered up the masks, pushed them at my mother-in-law and said "You take these to YOUR house, I don't want them!"  I was so embarrassed!  Fortunately, he is generally neither amazingly good or horribly bad, but you just never know for sure what you'll get from him.


Noah is so great.  He is chipper and sharing.  He has quite the knack for peace negotiating and he really just wants everyone to get along.  He may be a little too fun-loving :)  We recently assigned daily chores to the four older boys.  Noah, almost without fail, will say "What!?  I have to do this again!?  Every day I have to do this and it's the hardest one!..."  And then he acts like it's killing him.  It takes FOR.EV.ER. and a dozen reminders to actually get it done.  They each have their strengths, right?  He's starting to read and I think he'll breeze through kindergarten next year.  I will miss him something terrible.  I love that little guy.

Taylor is enjoying his Kindergarten year.  He is a funny little wonder.  Taylor is complex.  Some days he is just so hard.  He is the source of the most conflict in our home. He is stubborn and unyielding.  I shouldn't say UNyielding.  He's much more yielding now than he was a few years ago.  He sometimes gets it in his mind how things should go, or how they shouldn't and transitioning out of that mindset is difficult for him.  But not at school.  At school he does great.  He's quiet and content.  I don't really know what to think of it.  I should add that he is also my most grateful child, and is the opposite of Noah when it comes to cleaning.  He does his job thoroughly without complaint or a reminder.  And he is also my most lovable child and would cuddle with me for hours if I wanted.  And he is the best at getting us all laughing. Like I said...complex.  I don't know who he'll turn out to be, but he just gets better every year.
 Jack is growing up.  He'll be eight in June.  He's gone for hours every day and I feel a little more distant from him in general, though it's easy to reconnect with him over a game of Yahtzee or a good book.  He's going to be baptized this year and I feel like he is gaining some maturity beyond his years.  We're reading the Book of Mormon as a family and are set to finish on his birthday.  He pays attention and asks thoughtful questions.  He can be a little sulky at times, but he's generally pleasant.  He tells me every day what he really wants the most for his birthday, and it changes almost that often.  Yesterday it was a violin, the day before it was a bike.  With a few months still to go, I'm not going shopping quite yet =)

And us.  Well, we're good.  I've been busy at home, wishing away the winter. The weather today has been so nice and I am in a good mood.  It has been a LONG winter here in Utah and Kevin has big plans for a modest tree house and I may attempt a tiny garden...if I get brave enough this year.  Nicole and I are itching to go out yardsaling again.  Mikelle and Jeff got married in February and are living down in Provo, so we still see them weekly, sometimes more if we're lucky. 

And that pretty much sums it up. whew! =)

10.10.2012

the rundown

Clearly, this blog is outdated.  The pictures, the heading, all of it.  Even the content is not very current anymore.  I'll be working on the design soon, but for today I'll just be catching up on what's going on in our lives.

So as you know, we have a girl.  She started out quiet and sleepy, then went through a dramatic phase of crying often.  I think her tummy hurt her and she would be very fussy often and even inconsolable at times. I was so grateful for the miracle blanket that our midwife had given us.  It really seemed to help her feel better when we swaddled her in it.  After about 7 weeks, she turned a corner.  I think her digestive system worked out its kinks and suddenly she was happier in general, and never so upset that I couldn't calm her fairly easily.  She's just adorable to me.  I can't tell if she's really cute or not by the world's standards, but I personally can't imagine loving her more.
 She seems smart and sweet and generally happy.  She wakes up at least twice a night, but is getting a little better at staying asleep once I feed her and move her back into her bed (sometimes hours later because I fall asleep).  But she has never had a really horrible night and I usually get about three hours of sleep at a time which is better than average.
(photos courtesy of Noah Larson Photography)

In other news, Taylor started Kindergarten forever ago now.  I was anxious to see how he'd do.  Taylor is not my most easygoing child at times and I wondered how he'd feel about this new situation.  He never went to preschool but he's always done fine in primary at church.  I met with his teacher last week and he is doing great.  He's made eight friends, plays tag every day at recess, is progressing academically, and overall he's just moving along quite swimmingly.  I think the structure is good for him.  Structured is not the first word I'd use to describe our home life, so I'm glad he's taking to it at school.  

Noah is a pleasant little guy to have around as the oldest while Jack and Tays are at school.  Often we get about half an hour to ourselves after they leave and before someone else wakes up.  We like to read together.  He's funny and smart.  I know people say their children get bored before they are old enough for school, but I've never had that problem.  I'm guessing it is because there are many brothers to keep them company.  If I don't intervene, they could spend all day getting into mischief of one kind or another. Noah is a pretty good ring leader and a pretty amazing peacemaker. 

Right now the boys are running in with cups, filling them with water, and carefully going back outside.  When I asked Taylor what they were doing he hesitated, then said, "it's just...something fun...um...nothing really."  Oh boy.  

Jack has adjusted just fine to the full day of school.  I miss him, but we're both staying busy.  He likes his teacher and she seems good.  Not as nice as his teacher last year, not as sweet.  But she seems even tempered and pleasant enough.  He doesn't complain about anything.  When I met with her the only thing negative she had to say was that Jack often takes off one of his shoes and says his foot hurts.  I had no idea.  I still need to ask him about that.

Austin continues to love LOVE baby Jane.  Now that she smiles and coos a bit, the other boys are a little more interested in her too.  For Austin, though, there is nothing conditional about his love.  If she cries, he just professes his love for her even louder and more enthusiastically in an attempt to cheer her up.  He's generally cheerful himself, but occasionally flips out for dumb reasons, causing me to think he really should still be taking naps.  He won't do it, no matter how I try to bribe him to.  So, we have a cranky Austin from time to time, but most of the time he's a wonderful little pal to me. and to Jane.

Adam has improved quite a lot.  He still has a mean streak, but it doesn't come out nearly as often as a few months ago.  He's not talking much and I wonder if expanding his language would help him to feel less frustrated overall.  He doesn't like to talk.  He loves making noises that sound like talking, and every now and then he'll shock me with words like "hot dog" or "cookie" when he sees a great benefit in expressing clearly what it is that he wants, but if I try to get him to say anything he'll just say "no." and that is that.  Sometimes, if he's in the mood, he'll humor me and go along with my requests just long enough to let me know he knows exactly what I'm asking. Then he'll be done and won't say another thing.  

And as for me, I'm trying to be better right now.  I'm trying to get to bed earlier, to be kinder, to read my scriptures throughout the day, to limit TV in general and to be very careful about what I watch.  I'm also really trying to get my house in order.  I'm reading a book right now by Richard G. Scott.  One thing I read today was "Discover how a clean, neat, quiet place can enhance spiritual direction in your life."  I can't go to the temple as often as I like, and things aren't often very quiet here at home, but I'm working on the clean and neat part.  I feel like it will add a degree of peace that I'd like to have in my life. 

And then there's Kevin.  He's wonderful in so many ways.  

I don't mean to short change him, but I have no time left and this post has taken me all day as it is and 4:12 in the afternoon happens to always be pretty awful around here.  Everyone starts to get starving and Jane starts being super needy and no one wants to do homework...and suddenly my house seems to explode and is messier than it was just minutes ago and dinner seems like a difficult question.  So, I'm off to face all of that with a baby in one arm and 3 whiners who are about to die of starvation following me around. =) Dinner suggestions anyone?