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. =)


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.


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! =)


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?


her biggest fan

Every time he sees Jane, Austin says "Baby Janie is so Teute!" with a huge smile on his face.  He'll tell her she's SO beautiful and ask her if she's happy.
 Austin loves Jane with all his heart.  I'll say "I love you Austin" and he'll say "and I wuv baby Jane"
When she was brand new he'd get face to face with her and ask "do you know me, janie? Do you know me?" in a sweet, high pitched voice.
Now that they've spent considerable time together he instead says "Do you wuv me, baby Janie?"
  I think she must. Who wouldn't love a brother like Austy?


how we're doing

she usually has a great half hour in the morning, calm and happy.
(sweetest baby ever)

a pretty needy rest of the day, lots of holding, sprinkled with short little naps.
(nothing accomplished for hours on end)

a fussy, uncomfortable hour or so in the evening, digestion isn't so fun.
(sad, rough, poor jane, poor parents)

and a night of bonding, as she strongly prefers my bed over her own.
(jane sleeps well, i do not)

thank heaven for little girls.
(and husbands who do laundry and clean kitchens)


two week update

I can't believe how fast time is going.  Jane is over 2 weeks old.  She has been sweet and sleepy and calm amidst the whirlwind of visitors and activity.  My family drove down last Saturday and stayed for a week. It was heaven. Today it's just us, the seven of us, here at home.  Four of my six are actually napping.  This is usual for Adam and Jane, but Taylor and Austin were being horrible so I insisted that they get some rest too.  Noah and Jack are playing legos downstairs and I'm trying to take advantage of this quiet minute before things get bustling again.

Jane is the sweetest little girl ever.  She eats so well, never spits up, fusses very little, sleeps like a champ (although it is often in with me because I fall asleep nursing her), loves baths, smiles so often it seems like she means it, but has a good set of pipes that she is not shy about using if she needs to.  I am crazy about her.

The boys seem to be adjusting well...except Adam.  He was already going through a violent phase before she was born, and he's managed to bite her twice, scratch her once, and bonk her a few times.  I don't know what to do except keep him away from her.  It's not just her, either.  He kept attacking my friend's little girl the other day, and will sometimes beat up on his older brothers too.  They think it's funny and call him the Warrior, which is probably a huge part of the problem.   I'm just not sure how to handle it, so if anyone has suggestions, I'm all ears.  Austin loves her.  He said "He likes me so much, and I LOVE him."  Every now and then he'll call her "she" but mostly not, and I love it.  He knows she's a girl, but hasn't had much experience with feminine pronouns.

School starts too soon.  I still haven't bought any supplies and I really want one more month to just get my feet under me.  I was surprised to see that only one of Jack's good friends from last year will be in his first grade class, but he seems fine with it.  Taylor will have Jack's teacher from last year and I'm so glad.  I think it will be a good fit.  I meet Jack's teacher on Thursday and am hoping she'll be as great.

Time is up=)



Welcoming Jane

I'm not sure where to start this story, because it's beginning is hard to define, which is exactly why it turned out the way it did.

On the morning of July 26th we had plans to meet up with Nicole and her children at a man made little lake in Cedar Hills.  We packed a lunch and headed out.  Due to car trouble, they couldn't meet us so we ended up packing up and heading over to visit them.  My boys love their cousins and it was a very pleasant visit for me too.  I wasn't feeling any contractions, but sometime in the afternoon the baby felt significantly lower in my hips.  I didn't think too much of it, but I do always get a little excited when it feels like things are progressing.

We went home and I got Adam down for a nap.  The other boys were watching a movie and I wondered if resting might help to get some contractions going.  I did rest, but nothing.

At seven we had a Relief Society activity.  It was all about pampering and relaxing and I got a foot soak, a massage, some great make-up tips, some homemade sugar scrubs and lotions, and the final class was on relaxing breathing techniques.  My friend Randi (who is also pregnant) and couldn't stop yawning=).  Even though we left late, I made Randi go for a walk with me.  We went a few times earlier this summer, but it's been forever and I was hoping maybe a walk would help kick start some serious contractions.  We went for a good walk, 2 miles with lots of hills, but nothing.  We got home a little after 10.

Kevin and I watched an old episode of Numb3rs on netflicks and had some ice cream.  During about the last 15 minutes of the show I had 2 pretty good contractions.  They were not much more than others I've had in the past few weeks, but they felt a little stronger.  I was really hot, so after the show I went out and sat on the back steps.  I saw a shooting star and wondered if it was a sign=)  Kevin joined me and we decided to read our nightly conference talk outside because it felt so nice out there.  Toward the end of reading, I had a contraction that made it difficult for me to read out loud.  When I stood up, I had another rough one.  I'm guessing it was probably about 11:15 or so at this point.  We went inside and cleaned up a few things before heading upstairs.

 I had 2 more contractions and decided it was time to call Rebecca.  It was hard to know what to tell her because I hadn't been really timing the contractions, and they hadn't been steady.  She said she'd load up her car and that we should call her in 15 minutes to let her know if she should come or go to bed and wait.  We hung up and Kevin started getting the birthing tub blown up.  2 minutes later another contraction came on strong.  My water broke.  It was 11:37.  Kevin called Rebecca back and told her that my water broke.  When that happened with Adam (the only other time it has broken on its own), I was already at a 10.  She said she'd come as fast as she could. 

From here, it was all a little crazy.  Kevin focused on getting the tub blown up and filled while I focused on...I don't know, survival I guess=)  My contractions were intense with very little time in between.  I spent some time laying on my bed, some time in the bathroom, some time just walking around, some time kneeling by my bed.  My friend Amber had shown me a position she uses during labor and it totally saved me.  For the worst parts I'd call Kevin in to help push on my back.  It was really helpful.  He'd tell me how great I was doing, and it was nice to hear even though I knew it is the obligation of husbands to say such things in moments such as these. When the contraction died down a bit, he'd go back to to getting the tub filled.  It seemed to take forever.

It was just after midnight and I was in the bathroom when I realized that the baby was coming any minute.  I was in the middle of a very hard contraction, and it was all I could do to get up and move to the tub, which by this time had about 6 inches of water in it.  I said something like "this baby is coming right now", climbed in and within seconds, there she was.  It was 12:04 on July 27th.  She slid out with one little push. I scooped her up and started rubbing her back. She started crying and I felt relieved. I told Kevin to call Rebecca and find out what we should do.  She said just hold her skin to skin and keep her warm and make sure we don't pull on the cord.  She would be there soon.  Little Jane started nursing almost right away and was looking around.  It felt unreal that she was there in my arms, that the pain was over, that this little girl was mine.

Kevin added bucket after bucket of warm water to the tub and brought a towel to put around Jane.  He did such a great job taking care of us until Rebecca arrived.  She arrived about 15 minutes later.  Due to construction on the freeway, she was stuck going 30 for miles and miles.  She looked Jane over and declared her perfect.  She delivered the placenta and Kevin cut the cord.  I didn't have any tearing and all was well with me too.  I was able to hold and feed Jane for over an hour, then Rebecca did a thorough check up with her.  She was 6 pounds, 10 ounces, 19.5 inches.  Everything was normal and good.

The sky was amazing on the morning of her birth:

Rebecca left at about 3:30 and Jane slept and slept.  I woke up every hour or so, making sure she was still alright.  It felt strange that such a new little fragile baby was left in our care.  She just slept peacefully.  It seemed miraculous that a few hours ago she had never breathed air, and now here she was, in her bed, breathing peacefully.

In the morning, as the boys started to wake up, we called my friend Amy who is an amazing photographer.  We wanted her to capture the first few moments of our new family all together.  I'm still in awe of the gift she gave us:

 Welcome to the family Jane Elizabeth!  We are so thrilled to have you!

We've been so well taken care of by our friends and family, I'm blown away by their goodness.

I just wanted to add...
Before this pregnancy, I never would have considered a home birth.  I felt a lot of peace about the choice this time and moved forward with it.  I'm not the sort of tough person who does hard things on purpose, so this was uncharacteristic of me.  Even I couldn't put my finger on why I felt so okay with it.  
But had I not planned a home birth, Jane would probably been born in our van.  We're about 25 minutes from our hospital, and I can't imagine that I would have been able to get someone to be home with the boys and made it in time.  It just wouldn't have been possible.  I'm so grateful that although it didn't go exactly as planned, it was a wonderful experience.  I am so blessed.