Tuesday, April 25, 2017

August is three!

A day before August's birthday, I was playing with my camera- trying out different settings, teaching myself how to use it. August was playing quietly by himself and I asked, "Will you sit in the window and read so I can take your picture?" He climbed right up into a window seat and was quickly absorbed in a book and oblivious to my camera. About a half hour later, he looked up and asked, "Can you come with me to the trampoline?" We got dressed and headed out- me with my camera again. And I love these pictures of my boy. 





August is hard to describe.
Travis summed it up nicely by saying, "He's kind, oblivious, determined, tough, and sweet."

He is a tornado of energy, constantly running, jumping, wrestling, screaming, climbing, swinging, singing, and always, always "fighting monsters." And yet, he is also so snuggly, cozy, and loving. "I want to snuggle with you! I love to sleep with you! You are my favorite! Let's read a book together!" he says.
August is extremely difficult to understand. Sometimes his words leave us stumped. If we ask him, "What did you say? Tell me again!" he will speak very quietly, slowly, and with extra pauses in his words to help us understand- and that makes it even harder to understand! He picks up all these weird speech habits, almost like he's trying them out. For a week or two he will speak with his Sss drawn out, or spitting when he pronounces a B or P, but then he will stop. It's so funny! Grey and Micah are the best at understanding him and often correct me if I don't know what August is trying to say. But he has a lot to say, whether or not we can understand him! He is often chatting- or more often, singing.




August is extremely determined. He hasn't eaten any food in basically a year. If we don't feed him the food he wants, he just goes hungry- or he fends for himself when we aren't looking. I finid him regularly holding and eating contraband granola bars, fruit leathers, or other "snacky foods" that don't constitute a meal.
He does what he wants, regardless of the obstacles. This hike is too hard? Not for August! The cake is on top of the fridge? Not anymore! That's a big kid scooter? An off-limits toy? A neighbor's dog? If he wants it, he gets it. This is extremely frustrating when he's escaping, breaking rules, or screaming for 40 minutes in a row- but most of the time, it's kind of inspiring! He's a rock climbing, no-fear, self-motivated little trail blazer.

He loves to play with his brothers and Travis (he honestly doesn't have many other friends) but is more often completely in his own little world. Daydreaming, playing pretend, building, and talking to himself. He is usually pretending to be Link from Zelda or a little puppy, "your favorite puppy," he says. If he gets absorbed in a book or game, he will play for an hour at a time before we see him again. Often, I find myself worried that he has escaped (again) and headed to the neighbor's house- only to find him tucked into a corner downstairs - lost in his own mind and deaf to me calling him.

August is also very thoughtful and kind, showing his big smile off, bringing treats to everyone, always checking on Louise. He is fairly conscious of other people's emotions. He is violent and impassioned- but feels instant remorse if people are hurt or upset and is (often) willing to sacrifice what he has to make someone feel better.



August is also very musical, he can keep tunes, recognize music, and becomes very absorbed in instrumental music- not dancing, but sometimes karate-chopping to the beat. He loved the movie Moana and after seeing it twice, he could sing along to most of the songs and often requests that we listen to the music. He is almost always singing Primary songs that he learns at church, twinkle twinkle little star, or reciting nursery rhymes to a strong beat.
His favorite songs are Peter and the Wolf, which he can almost recite- and the music to The Legend of Zelda, Skyward Sword.

He loves the Utah Jazz and had fun going with Travis to several games this season. He chants, "Go Go Jazz! Go Go Jazz!" and often requests that we play basketball together- or that Travis plays Zelda with him. He loves Zelda and is very invested in the story. He almost always has 2+ swords clutched in his hands, likes to be called "Zelda Link" and will agree to things more readily if we explain, "This is what Link does. Link loves to ... eat his potatoes, wear his pajamas, hold the baby."
If only that worked with the potty! August is still adamantly insistent that he wear a diaper. He hates wearing it, but the idea of using the toilet is so stressful to him that he cries if I even get underwear out of his drawer. Ah well. I'm sure he'll be potty-trained by four, right?

Right?


Louise Mae - Four Months Old

I am feeling mom-guilt over the fact that Louise's milestones are not being recorded as obsessively as the boys' milestones (or, you know, at all.)


She is already four months old and I haven't told you anything about her!
So here are some pictures that I took of her on Easter. She is such a cheerful, smiley baby! But like most babies, those smiles are replaced with concerned eyebrows when the big camera comes out.
Louise at four months, she has rolled over a few times and can "sit up" for a few seconds at a time- though not as well as August could. She weighs about 15 pounds, and is in the 90th percentile for height, weight, and head size! (For proof, please observe those THIGHS.)



She is so drooly, and loves to have things in her mouth. She grabs things (like blankets, fingers, pacis) and then attacks them with the cutest little baby-lion noises and faces. She chews on things with ferocious glee! And no wonder- she already has TWO TEETH!
The two teeth on the bottom came in at about 3 and a half months. I was so surprised- not only because she is so young, but because she exhibited no signs of discomfort. She wasn't fussy, up at night, or feverish. In fact, she slept better than usual the nights before each tooth popped in! I guess she was using up all her energy being happy while in pain, and needed extra rest.
She is very quiet and observant, rarely fussy or sad. She watches us all the time, her little eyes following everything that we do. She makes all these funny little sounds and facial expressions like she's trying to copy us speaking. And I'm sure that she understands many things that I say, like when I ask: "Are you hungry?" and she starts to hyperventilate in excitement!
When Louise is sad- she SCREAMS. She screams like it's on purpose and she's punishing us for letting her get hurt. She really only screams when she is in the backseat by herself, without any brothers to look at her, or when one of the boys accidentally hurts her- as has unfortunately happened several times.





She hates to be in the carseat, but if a big brother sits by her and hold her pacifier in, she calms down almost instantly and watches him until she falls asleep. She loves her brothers and they can get her to laugh more easily than Travis or I. She often squeals for joy at seeing them and instantly calms down if she is sad. As I am writing this, she woke up from her nap. I know that she is hungry and ready to eat, but instead of helping her- I sent Micah in to entertain her. I can hear giggles from both of them!
Louise is still entirely breastfed. She's a good eater and eats every 3-5 hours, day or night. I'm ready for her to sleep through the night, but she's still so little and nice that I don't mind when she gets up.



Friday, April 21, 2017

Family Conversations

Nope, you're not dreaming! It's a real blog post.



Louise was been losing her ever-loving mind for the ten minutes and August sprinted into our room, screaming "DONT CRY, LOUISE!"
But as he neared the bed, he tripped over a pair of shoes and flew through the air and into the wall. So he started crying.
I set Louise down and scooped him up and said, "Don't cry, August!" and he pulled back and glared at me and growled "I'm not a crying! Say, 'Don't cry, LOUISE.'"

Travis said the bedtime prayer and August started yelling "Bless Peter Puffin! Not robin! Peter Puffin!"
Peter is his stuffed Puffin, who currently goes everywhere with August and needs his own silverware at the dinner table. Robin is Micah's stuffed bird of choice.
We are into birds here.

We had our new furniture delivered when there was snow on the ground. One guy came with it, but another mover was supposed to meet him. So he was waiting in his truck. He came to the door and asked if he could do anything to help me. Maybe shovel the driveway?
So he did. He was very sweet and young and cute.
Micah watched him from the window, "Wow! He's so nice. He must really want to live with Heavenly Father again."

August loves fruit leathers- and regardless of where I hide them, he finds them and binge eats many in a row. I moved them into a new cupboard.
August looked in the cupboard where they had been earlier and then turned to me sadly and said, "I'm sorry. We've lost them."

August really wants to sleep in bed with us, but every night we tell him, "You can't sleep in here, there isn't enough room."
The other day, he climbed into bed and said, "There is enough room. Now you say it. There IS enough room." He refused to be satisfied until after I repeated "There is enough room."

Grey made his bed and he was standing next to it, saying "My bed is looking awesome. Repeat. My bed is looking awesome. Repeat. My bed is looking awesome."

Micah tried to distract Grey and called, "Oh look! A dying fish is behind you!"

Micah gave travis a "Good Job" sticker and said, "This is for you, because you have a good job."

Micah: I love it. It's gonna boil my mind right out of my head, I love it so much.

Travis: Ow! Hey! August just bit me on the chest!
Grey: Just talking about that makes both of my right-heres hurt. My nipples, I mean. Did he bite your nipples?

Grey: What character will you be in my play about Link?
Micah: Well, I have a beautiful face like Zelda, but i don't want to be a girl.

Micah: You should Google it!
Me: Really? What does Google mean?
Micah: I don't know. To bring something back to the store after you've bought it?

Grey: I love Jesus more than anyone else does!
Me: That's not okay to say, honey. You love him very much, but you can't see inside other people's hearts.
Grey: Well, Doctors can!

Me: You put Louise to sleep! Thank you!
Grey: It's easy! All she needs is a little bouncing and something to chew on.

Grey: I do look a lot like Link.
Micah: And when we use our imagination, you look EXACTLY like him!

Grey: Today when I was eating lunch, I pretended I was a hunter and I had shot an animal and was eating it's meat and other squishy parts.

Grey: Jesus is quite magical.

Micah: August is a little like Gollum, because he's tricky and likes to hurt us- but he doesn't try to eat us, and he can't sneak up on us like Gollum could.

Grey: This movie is getting sad. I'd like to invite you to join us in the living room.
Me: No, thank you.
Grey: Please? I'm a little worried.
Me: No, thanks.
Grey: Just one quick question then: does Wilbur get eaten?

Me: Who are your Grandmas?
Grey: Grandma Pitcher, Grandma Polly, um...
Micah: Grandma Joann?
(Note: The boys don't know anyone named Joann.)

Micah: How many sausages are left for you guys?
Me: Well, there's only one and I'm going to eat it. So Daddy won't get any.
Micah: Why?
Me: Well, Dad loves me and he'd tell me to eat it anyway. So I'm going to.
Micah: and THAT is why we love him the most.

Grey: Do you know why Harry Potter didn't die?
Micah: He was famous.
Grey: No, he was famous BECAUSE he didn't die. He didn't die because his mom loved him so much.  Love is more powerful than bad magic.

Micah: Is this scorpion meat that we are eating?

Grey: Hey, Baby! Take THAT, Baby!
August: No! I NOT Baby-Take-That.

Grey: What a fierce brother I have!

Me: What should we write in your letter to the senator?
Micah: Hello, my name is Micah. My favorite color is blue. I think-
Me: Wait. Do you remember what this letter is about? It's supposed to be about refugees.
Micah: Oh, that's right. I'll say, "Hello, I am sorry to hear that Mr. Trump lets Satan tempt him."

August: August and Auggie are best friends.

Travis (helping August pray): And please bless Grey and Micah.
August: Bless Grey, Micah- best friends.

Micah: When I go rock climbing, I need to wear this shirt because it's full of courage. It gives me courage to climb all the way to the top.

Micah: Knock knock.
Noelle: Who's there?
Micah: Robin
Noelle: Robin Who?
Micah: Can I peck your house to crumbs?

Grey: Even when my hair is crazy, my eyes are blue like diamonds. And even bluer than your eyes, of course.

August: I want to do yoga with me, Auggie.

Travis: There was a little boy running through the woods, as fast as he could. His name was-
August: AUGGIE!
Travis: And as Auggie was running through the trees, he suddenly found-
August: a grocery store!
Travis: So Auggie started looking for something. He looked all over, and then he saw it! It was-
August: A treasure chest!
Travis: Then the manager of the store came over, and he saw Auggie and the treasure chest and he said-
August: "I want the gold!"
Travis: Then he said, "Will you trade me this grocery store for the gold in your treasure chest?" Auggie thought about it, and then said-
August: YES!
Travis: So Auggie gave him the gold and became the King of the Grocery store.

Micah: she almost put all of her hands in my nose, because her hands are so tiny and my nose is SO BIG.

Grey: This marketplace is called a Bazaar, because everything they sell here is very strange.

Grey: What are those white birds called?
Me: Um, pigeons?
Micah: NO. Like they sacrifice at the temple!
Me: Doves?
Grey: Yes! Thank you.
(Note: Mormons do not sacrifice animals in their temples! Micah was referring to Biblical stories of temple sacrifice.) 

August chatting to himself in the bathtub:
"Oh, naughty ducky! You are in time out! YES, you stay in time out! Right NOW!"
"What's a behind this door? Bikes! Bikes a-hind this door! Let's ride them!"
"Louise and me eat a this! Nom nom nom! Yummy! Louise eat a this! It's yummy! Louise likes it!"
"Where is it? Let's go find it! Auggie find it!"
"No, Daddy! I need you, my daddy! You MINE Daddy!"
"Shhh, I love you. Ni-night. Ni-night! Twinkle twinkle. Awaaaaaake! Oooh morning! Good morning!"
"No! This is mine baby! That is yours baby!"

Me: Ugh, what's that smell?
Micah: Probably you. You never shower.

Grey: Okay, someone didn't flush the toilet. You guys, it's disgusting! And this is the last time I'm going to talk to you about it. From now on, let's all agree to FLUSH.

Me: Yucky, August! Don't eat your boogers!
August: Boogers are boogers, Mama. Just boogers.

August: Knock knock
Me: Who's there?
August: A ghost!
Me: A ghost who?
August: A ghost and a popsicle! BOO!

Grey: Louise learned a new word! EGG!

Grey: Who is Hitler?
Me: You know who Hitler is, think about it and see if you can remember.
Grey: Umm... Donald Trump?

(Grey knows that obviously, the smaller something is- the cuter it is.) 
Grey: You're even cuter than a crumb that's so small it's invisible! You're the cutest girl in the whole university!

Grey: I wish I was a grown up when we went to Australia. Then I could buy my own submarine and explore the coral reef.

Micah: Oh! A dollar! Now I don't have to earn one!

Micah: We'll get baptized when we are eight, right?
Me: Yes, you can if you want to.
Micah: Of course I do! Otherwise they'll have to do a baptism for me at the temple after I'm dead.

Grey: After this, let's play a game because I'm going to be filled with so much hyper.

August; I'm a puppy. Your favorite puppy.

Micah: I didn't have time to make any friends, but I did have time to put a lot of sand in my hair. So i did.

Micah: Grey threw dirt at me, just because I threw dirt at Auggie!
Me: Sounds like you threw dirt and it taught your brothers that you love to have dirt thrown, so they were doing it because you did it.
Micah: NO. Grey did it because Dad told him to- to teach me a lesson.
Me: And what did you learn?
Micah: NOTHING.

Travis: August, am I your best friend?
August: No.
Travis: Who is your best friend?
August: Micah!
Travis: Micah?
August: Grey and Micah and Jesus are my best friends!

Grey: Mom! It's Saturday! It's your birthday! Not your real birthday, your present-birthday, which is even better!

Micah: Dad is trying to get his hat, which I accidentally threw on the roof.

Grey: Can I jump on the trampoline naked?

August: I have clean hands!
Me: And a pure heart?
August: Clean hands, a pure heart, and a poopy diaper!

Micah: You're beautiful! And you're even more beautiful when you smile.
Me: Thank you!
Micah: You liked that?
Me: I did.
Micah: Thank you for liking that.


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Family Conversations



August is so tired and stressed from being sick and he keeps hitting us and then feeling really guilty about it. I wouldn't let him pour a gallon of milk down the sink (?!?) so he started yelling, "Mean Mommy! I punch you! I punch you, Mommy!" And he hit me. Then with tears streaming down his face, he went and confessed to Travis. "I hit Mommy a lot, Daddy. I hit Mommy." He has also hit Travis and the boys several times, and came and confessed in tears each time.

On Christmas we got so much snow, August spent over an hour crawling in the snow pretending to be a puppy. A week later, he saw a picture of himself sitting on Travis' shoulders from that day in the snow.
"Look Mommy!" he said, "Daddy and a Snow Puppy!"

August has also been very concerned with Louise, and gets very upset when I burp her. ("No hit A-Wheeze, Mama! No hit!") He also likes to keep me informed on what she is doing all the time. "A-Wheeze sleeping! A-Wheeze crying!" And every time she burps, snorts, or spits up (sadly often), he yells in a panic, "A-Wheeze CHOKING,Mama!"
The first time he saw her nursing, he watched for a minute and then asked, "A-Wheeze SO hungry, Mama? So hungry, she eat YOU?"

Grey: Is King Arthur a true story?
Me: I'm not sure. I think many parts of it are true.
Grey: But wizards are extinct in these days, right?

Micah: I don't think August is even cute, I think he just DOES cute things.

Grey: The new star from Jesus' birth isn't new anymore, because Jesus was born a long time ago. Thirty years ago, I think!
Travis: I was born thirty years ago.
Grey: Wow! You must have had a lot of Halloweens.

Grey: My compass says the temperature today is at 80%.

Travis: Tomorrow, if you wake up early-
Micah: We can sneak out and eat a cookie before you wake up.

Grey: I can finish up these dishes for you.
Me: Thanks, honey! You're such a hard worker.
Grey: Well, I AM a Hufflepuff.

Micah: My stomach isn't full of good food- my stomach is full of cheer! It's ready for Christmas!

Micah: I know how Santa travels the whole world in one night! In the North Pole, the sun doesn't rise for months, so one night lasts for weeks and weeks.

Grey: ...and please bless Elanor, that she will marry a good husband when she grows up.

Grey: Please, August. Be calm! Building Lego Castles is a serious matter!

Grey: I want to watch the Christmas Carol again today.
Me: I thought you were scared of it.
Grey: No. I like all the spirits. At first, I thought "Oh no. This is a Dark Power. He is yielding to death." But then I thought- "Oh, they're just silly ghosts. They're helping him learn about Christmas."

Grey: Part of building is taking things apart and putting them back together in a different way. That's my favorite kind of experiment.

Micah: (Holding Louise for the first time) Mom! She farted on me! It was so cute.

Grey: People will see your big belly and ask "Are you still pregnant?" And you can say "No! Surprise! I had my baby!" and show them Louise.

Grey: I think your breasts are full of liquid, because that one looks droopy and huge already.

Grey: Ugh, get up already. Why are you acting like you're still pregnant?

Grey: You always say no to everything.
Me: When you said, "May I please have clam chowder?" I said YES.
Grey: I didn't say that. I would never say that.
Me: If you asked me, "May I please go to bed now?" I will say YES.
Grey: You're the cruelest mother.
Me: Thank you.
Grey: ... I said CRUELEST.
Me: I know.
Grey: That means you're very, VERY bad. The worst and most unkind. Did you know that?

Me: It's not even Lu's fault that I didn't get any sleep last night. I just keep falling asleep while I nursed and then we'd both wake up an hour later and have to finish nursing. Then I'd fall asleep again and have to nurse her again in an hour. Her belly never got filled, since we kept passing out.
Travis: What a tired little girl!
Grey: Dad called you a little girl!
Me: I'm a tired big girl!
Grey: You're a tired marriage-girl.

Me: Today is Christmas Eve!
Grey: Micah already told me. That means tomorrow is Christmas.
Me: And tonight, Santa is coming!
Grey: I never even realized that!

Micah: There was a Santa Claus at the Jazz Game.
Me: Wow, that's cool. Did he look like the real thing?
Micah: I don't think so. He was just a man in a costume. There was no magic about him and he didn't even have spectacles.
Grey: And his sleigh and reindeer weren't there. If he was the real Santa, his sleigh would be there. He was just a human helper.

Micah: This headlamp is from Black Diamond! I wonder how Santa got it.
Grey: I guess there must be a Black Diamond store in the North Pole.

Me: Did you see all the new snow?
Travis: Yes, did you?
Me: I saw it in the night. I could tell there was new snow, because it was shining through the window with the luster of midday.
Travis: What? The LUSTER of mid-day?
Me: It was so bright, I was afraid you'd left the garage light on. So I looked out the window, and it was the moon on the breast of the new fallen snow.
Travis: There was no moon last night.
Me: When what to my wondering eyes should appear-
Travis: Stop it now. Just stop.

Grey: Sooo, now there are six of us. How many people do YOU think should live in this house, Mom?

Travis: I need a brave, adventurous boy to go outside in the deep snow and collect eggs.
Micah: I will do it. To feed my family, I will do whatever it takes!

Grey: I don't want to walk outside, I'm too tired.
Micah: Have a drink of this Cola! It gives you so much hyper-energy!

Me: Please stop being so sassy.
Micah: I'm not sure I AM being sassy. I think you're the one being a little sassy.

August: I want a milk!
Me: You do? Do you LOVE milk?
August: No, Mama! I DRINK milk! I want a milk to drink!

Me: If you wake August up, I'll be so angry- I'll have to beat you up.
Micah: You're not strong enough to beat me up.
Me: You're right, I won't beat you up. I'll just yell at you a little.
Micah: Sounds like you're letting Satan tempt you.

August: I NEED candy, Daddy. I NEED candy. I NEEEEEEED candy.
Travis: You don't need candy, you WANT candy. Let's eat lunch instead.
August: Candy for lunch? Okay! Let's go! Candy for lunch, all right?

(Listening to the Zelda Soundtrack)
Micah: This song is Grandma's favorite, but I don't like it. I don't like sweet songs, I like fighting songs!

Micah: You are ruining my whole life!
Me: What did I do?
Micah: YOU WOULDN'T UNDERSTAND!

Me: Please go downstairs and get the bouncer for me.
Grey: I don't want to go down, it's scary downstairs.
Me: Maybe Micah can go with you.
Micah: Grey, the ocean is scary. You want to explore the ocean, you better get used to scary things. Go down yourself.
Grey: I'll explore the ocean and the basement when I'm 6.

Micah (explaining potty-training to August): It's okay to fart in your pants. It's just stinky. But when you poop or pee in your pants, you need to change your clothes.

Me: Micah, please give Louise her pacifier. She sounds so sad!
Micah: I'm going to let her cry.
Me: That's not very kind!
Micah: Well, it's the only way she knows how to talk. I think maybe she's trying to tell me something.

Micah: Grandma wanted to watch a church movie today, but I explained that on Sundays we usually play video games.

Micah: I want to talk to you privately.
Travis: Okay, its private now.
Micah: No, Grey can hear.
Grey: No, I can't!

Micah: Mom, do you know why rivers live so long?
Me: No, why?
Micah: They always choose the smoothest course. Like a steady, beating drum.
Me: So, did you watch Pocahontas at Grandma's house?
Micah: Just three or four times!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Louise Mae (part 2 - Birth Story)

(As you may notice, this says Part 2- that's because Louise's story started a year and a half ago, when we felt prompted that I should become pregnant. If you'd like to read that part of the story- scroll down to the post before this one. This post is the story of her birth.)






Louise is one month old, so here is her birth story.

Months before Louise was born, I had decided to try and have her without drugs, and had read a lot about pain free, gentle, natural births. I also knew so many women with beautiful, gentle birth stories. I was (and am!) convinced that I had PTSD from the trauma of Grey and Micah's emergency c-section and that the fear and expectation of pain and trauma from that led me to an extra long and painful birth with August. My labor with him constantly shut-down, my contractions were terrible but I made no progress, I pushed for THREE HOURS. I am sure that my own fear and expectations made my body react in negative ways when I labored with him.

So I spent most of my pregnancy with Louise trying to rid myself of the fear of that happening again and telling myself that birth was natural, beautiful- a gift to women and not a punishment. So when I began having contractions on Wednesday morning, I felt very hopeful. They were uncomfortable, but not painful. They mostly made me feel like I was constipated. I wondered if they were contractions at all, or just stomach cramps - since everyone in my house had a stomach bug! The boys were feeling poorly too, so we snuggled and watched A Muppet Christmas Carol and I tried not to time my "stomach cramps," since I'd been timing contractions for weeks and getting my hopes up only to have them dashed.
At about 11 am, I asked to have some private time in my room. I went into my bed and listened to Iron and Wine and practiced breathing. I started timing my contractions and was disappointed that they were still fairly irregular 5-7 minutes apart. But they were also becoming very strong. I texted Travis at work and asked him to come home. I said, "I'm probably not really in labor, but I do feel very poorly. I wish you'd come home and give me a blessing either way."
He got home around 12:30 and my contractions STILL were only 5-7 minutes apart, it even seemed like they were slowing down! I was disappointed and asked him to just lie down with me for a while. He instantly fell asleep, while I dozed for an hour or so.
(Meanwhile, my wonderful mother and sister Katie were taking care of the boys, so they didn't bother us.) I had stopped timing my contractions again, but when I couldn't sleep through them anymore- I began timing them. There were still some gaps of 5 or 6 minutes between contractions, but most were coming 2-3 minutes apart! Since I still wasn't in pain and they weren't consistent, I was suspicious that my labor hadn't really started. But since I was two days past Louise's due date, I decided we should head to the hospital.
We checked into the hospital at about 4pm. As I signed in, the nurse asked "Would you like to be medicated or unmedicated?"
I said, "I'd like to be unmedicated, but I don't have high hopes that I can do it. I'm not sure I'm in even in labor."
"Is this your first baby?" he asked, "And when is your due date?"
"It's my fourth baby and my due date was two days ago!" I said. Geez! My fourth baby and I don't even know what labor feels like?
They led me into the "unmedicated room," I could still get drugs if I needed them, but this room was equipped with a birthing ball, rocking chair, squat bar, jacuzzi tub and more! I settled into bed while they checked me. I asked not to be told what I was dilated to- only to be told if I was making progress and if it looked like I was "really in labor."
Maybe being two days overdue had made me feel that I would be pregnant forever, but I was convinced that they'd send me home or I would be at the hospital for 20 hours before I delivered- like I was with August.
(However, I did actually overhear my doctor say that I was at 4, which encouraged me. A 4 was progress!)
They checked me, registered me with the hospital, and I was visited by my doctor -who said he was going home for dinner, but wanted to be constantly updated. I needed to be given an antibiotic because I'd tested positive for Group B Strep, so after three nurses failed to get an IV into me- they called down an anesthesiologist to prick my tiny veins. I was still feeling fairly good, my contractions weren't that painful or close (every 4 minutes or so) and I was easily distracted by teasing the anesthesiologist and talking to my nurse about her twin-grandbabies.
I needed to be monitored constantly, because I was having a VBAC, so I stayed in bed watching my contractions being printed out on a chart.
I got the antibiotic at 6, but it needed a double dose to be effective. So I was supposed to take it again at 10pm (4 hours later.)
Then it was quiet for about two hours. Travis and I watched X Files on the iPad until about 8pm. At that time, my contractions had become so uncomfortable that I couldn't pay attention to our show. (Although still only 3 minutes apart). I asked Travis to turn off the iPad and turn on Iron and Wine again. I practiced breathing, reminding myself not to clench up my body when contracting. I held travis' hand and while I contracted I focused all my energy on taking deep breaths and NOT squeezing his hand. I was sure that if I could avoid clenching my teeth and fists, then my body would be relaxed enough that my contractions could do their job.
The nurse asked me (again) if I would like the portable monitors, so I could walk around or rock in the rocking chair. I assured her that I would be staying in bed, where I was comfortable.
"Oh, by the way," she said, as she left the room, "the portable monitor is waterproof. You could get into the tub if you wanted."
WAIT. STOP. I was in the tub by about 8:30, and my contractions picked up in intensity (though not frequency) immediately after I got in. The nurse kept saying, "Well, sometimes they don't NEED to be close together to still do their job."But I was convinced that I wasn't making progress.

Travis, meanwhile, was amazing. The nurse showed him how to apply counter pressure on my back while I contracted. The doctor had also made it extremely clear that if they were unable to consistently monitor the baby, I wouldn't be allowed to remain in the tub. The monitor only picked up Louise's heartbeat when I was leaning back in the tub, but that position was extremely painful when I was contracting. Travis watched me carefully and when a contraction started, he would help pull me forward on to my knees. With one arm, he applied pressure to my back and with his other arm, he held me up while I sagged against him. Then he would help lower me back into the tub. I suspect it was fairly straining to be picking up and setting down a 170 pound person every two minutes.
I also had to get out of the tub five or six times to use the toilet- as my system emptied out. My awesome husband basically carried his wet, naked (pathetic) wife across the bathroom each time and rubbed my back and didn't say mean things about me.
Fortunately for me, I don't think my nurse was a very good listener (to the doctor). As my contractions got more intense and very close together, I found it difficult to move backwards and forwards in between each one. She didn't insist.

It was agreed that I would need to get out of the tub at 10, so they could check my progress and administer the second dose of IV. Somehow, I was still convinced that my labor wasn't progressing. I was so afraid that I would get out of the tub and the nurse would check me and tell me I was only dilated to a 5 or 6.
I kept telling myself, "You just need to do this until 10. Then you'll get out of the tub, and they'll give you drugs." I had labored for so long with August- I knew I couldn't do that with Louise. I was so weak and tired from just the hour and a half of hard laboring I'd done in the tub. As 10 o'clock neared, I began to panic and cry.
"I made mistake. I can't do this. Other women can have their babies like this, but I can't do it." I kept saying, "I need the drugs. When I get out, please give me the drugs. I made a mistake."
It turns out- it WAS painful to have a baby after all! (Duh! Call me naive, but I totally believed all those pain free, drug free childbirth books!)
At 10:05, the nurse told me it was time to move back to the bed.
"I can't," I told her. "I'm too weak. My legs don't work anymore."
She and Travis half-dragged me back to the bed. I curled up on my side as another contraction hit me hard. Travis was trying to towel me off, while the nurse reattached me to the non-mobile monitors. As another contraction came (they were now very close together), I found that I was pushing.
Actually, I didn't even feel like I was pushing- I felt like Louise was pushing herself out!
As the contraction ended, I gasped "I'm pushing!"
I think there was a moment of panic while the nurse checked me! And indeed, I was ready to push!
She called out into the hallway, and several other nurses and doctors rushed in. She paged my doctor- who was at home! He got to the hospital less than 8 minutes after they paged him- but he had missed it!
But I didn't know what was happening at the time. After lying down in the bed, I hadn't opened my eyes a single time. I could vaguely hear the doctors trying to move, adjust, and instruct me- but I tuned everyone out. I was in my own zone and headspace.
The ten minutes while I pushed were the most spiritual minutes of my life. I felt very tied into eternity. As my body strained, I literally felt that all I was was a body pushing. All I had ever been, all I would ever do was push. I had been pushing forever, and I would continue to push forever. I needed someone to say to me, "It's almost over, she's almost here," because I couldn't see the end. I knew I would push for the rest of eternity, because pushing was the only thing that existed. And yet, it also didn't feel like pushing. It felt like pulling. I have a very distinct memory and impression of grasping someone and pulling them through. I believe that spiritually I was pulling Louise through the veil.
But first, I gave up. There were only two moments in those ten minutes when the words of the people in the room got through my haze. The first time was when someone said, "Her head is halfway out! Just a few more good pushes!"
And I thought, "But I can't push anymore. I'm dying." But I felt slightly encouraged and refocused my breath on "breathing my baby down" (as they said in my misleading books.)
Then an instant or eternity later (or perhaps a few minutes?), I heard the doctor say "The baby's heart rate is dropping."
And in my mind, I very clearly heard the spirit say, "It is better for us to pass through sorrow," and I knew that this was the moment of sorrow, and in a minute- I would have my baby in my arms and it would be worth it. I regrasped Louise, and I yanked that girl into mortality with everything I had! It really didn't feel like I was pushing her out of my body, it felt like I was pulling her through deep water, up into my arms. My doctor rushed into the room, just as they set Louise on my chest. I opened my eyes for the first time in 15 minutes and was surprised to see a room full of people.
Louise stayed fairly blue as her lungs were full of amniotic fluid and I was hemorrhaging blood. So I only held my gigantic baby for a few short moments before they rushed her away to towel her off and pump out her lungs a little. In the meantime, my doctor had arrived and he made me deliver my placenta and started stitching me up where I had torn.
After a minute or two, Louise was brought back to me. She instantly lifted her big head up and looked around. The nurses kept saying, "We really need to hear her give one big cry!" But Lu was very calm and didn't give them the satisfaction. After a little while, she latched right on and began nursing.





She was born at 10:20. Only about 6 hours after I got to the hospital, after an hour and a half of hard labor and 15 minutes of pushing.
She was 9 pounds, 1 ounce, 21.5 inches long.










Louise Mae (part 1- pregnancy)

My first public "belly shot," at about 14 weeks.

After August's birth- I was a wreck. I had a rough labor and delivery and difficult recovery, which actually jumpstarted an autoimmune disease in my body. (They are usually brought on by stress or sickness.)
In addition to the undiagnosed disease that I was fighting, I also was suffering from undiagnosed postpartum depression, which made me angry and irritable. I loved all my kids, but I was feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. I was physically and emotionally drained.
I recognized my depression about 6 months after August was born, and was able to address it. And a little over a year after his birth, at the poorest health of my life, I was diagnosed with Celiacs Disease and was able to start healing physically.

So it wasn't until August was about 15 months old that I felt like I had my own body and mind back.

I wanted to have more children eventually, but the idea of having another baby any time soon sent me into a panic. The exhaustion, sickness, strain and pain of pregnancy was terrifying to me, as was the idea that it might take me years to recover from it. And I had two four year olds and an eighteen month old to take care of, too!

We also had just bought a house, so in addition to taking care of me and our kids- Travis was faced with the financial strain of paying a mortgage and paying for lots of new medical bills. So Travis was even less interested in having babies than I was.

In October of 2015, we started listening to General Conference (a two day world-wide broadcast by leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints), and having another baby was not even on our radar at all. We were not pondering or praying about it. We were not looking for inspiration as to whether or not we should try for more kids.

Elder Nelson gave a talk called, A Plea to My Sisters. As he spoke about the importance of women in the fight for good, I felt the spirit very strongly. Then he said, "We need women who have a bedrock understanding of the doctrine of Christ and who will use that understanding to teach and help raise a sin-resistant generation... We need women who have the courage and vision of our Mother Eve."
As he said these words, I felt a very strong spiritual impression.
First, I heard in my mind the words of Mother Eve saying, "It is better for us to pass through sorrow."
And I felt a very strong impression that I needed to begin preparing for another baby- and that it would be difficult and even heartbreaking.

I almost laughed out loud. I was not interested in another baby! God knew this. And if he was trying to convince me that I should have another baby, why would he do it while telling me that this baby would bring me sorrow?

Despite my annoyance at my Heavenly Parents for giving me such direct and unappealing instruction- I had felt the spirit very strongly. I knew what was expected of me. Over the next few days, I began (rather half-heartedly, I admit) to pray that I would feel a desire to be obedient. I did not ask, "Should we have another baby?" (I knew the answer already), instead I prayed - often saying things like, "I don't want another baby now. If I am supposed to have another child, help me feel a desire to do so."

I prayed like this for about three months, and although I didn't realize it at the time, my heart was beginning to soften. I had told Travis of my impression- but since he didn't want another baby yet either, and since he had not received any such prompting, I believe that his prayers concerning the new baby were even more half-hearted than mine. Only occasionally in our prayers together did we mention the fact that we were supposed to be preparing for another baby. And I don't think I told him that this baby had been promised to come with sorrow. 

In January of 2016, I was standing in my kitchen with several other women. One of my friends said, "I think I am ready to start trying for another baby."
"So am I!" I said, surprising myself as I said it. And even more surprising, I realized as I spoke that I meant it. I was still very afraid to have another baby (or more specifically, to be pregnant again), but I finally felt like the difficulty of pregnancy would be worth another child.

Now that I felt a desire to have another baby, Travis and I discussed the possibility again. He was still adamantly against having a baby. He wanted to wait another few years- after our home was a little less chaotic. I urged him to pray about it, and we visited the temple together several times and prayed about the baby. He still did not receive any promptings about the baby. Meanwhile, I started to feel an increasing desire to be obedient. I knew what was expected of me, God had given me time to prepare my heart- and now, I wasn't being obedient. I wasn't following instructions. It made me feel anxious and unhappy. God had answered my prayers- I wanted to obey!
Around this time, I also had the almost constant impression that I couldn't find my baby.
I would wake up in the middle of the night, searching half-awake through my sheets and blankets for the baby that I was sure needed to nurse.
When I buckled kids into the car, I was constantly counting, "Grey, Micah, August, and... where's the baby?" More than once, I rushed into the house, shouting to Travis, "We forgot her inside!" or "We're missing someone!"
Only to find myself standing in the kitchen, realizing that I didn't actually have another baby yet. "Who are we missing?" I asked every day, on walks, at the playground, at the store. I kept feeling that one of my children had wandered off- and yet they were all there.

I knew who we were missing.

After a few weeks of this, I felt like I was going crazy. I wrote out a list of all the things I wanted to discuss with Travis, and we sat down together. (I needed a list, because I knew that I would begin crying and have a hard time making points unless I had all my thoughts written down.)

And so we began. I explained that I felt a desire to be obedient. I explained that God wanted us to have another baby. I told him lots of things that were personal and heartbreaking, and I sobbed through the whole conversation.
But the thing I said most often and empathetically was, "She is waiting. She's waiting and she's anxious. I can feel her waiting, and I want her here with us."

Travis wasn't quite ready to agree to having another baby, but he did agree to pray and ponder whole-heartedly and not half-heartedly.


It's a GIRL!


In April, 6 months after I received the impression to prepare myself for another baby- I was pregnant. It had taken Travis and I each about three months to accept the idea of having another child.

My pregnancy was amazing. It was easy, and I felt good. I was able to hike, travel, take care of the boys, and didn't throw up a single time. I felt so blessed- but I also felt worried.
What was this sorrow that I was supposed to prepare for? If the sorrow didn't lie in my pregnancy, then should I expect it in my daughter?
Would be be disabled? Sickly? Would I lose her in childbirth?
I felt panicked as I tried to remember exactly what I had felt when I was prompted with those words, "It is better for us to pass through sorrow."
But over the months, I also felt peace.
I felt reassured that whatever happened, was supposed to happen. God doesn't make mistakes. And if there was something "wrong," it would be better than if everything was "right." It would be what we needed, what was right for our family and our daughter.
As I attended the temple, prayed, and read my scriptures looking for answers - I realized something.
When Eve tells Adam, "It is better for us to pass through sorrow," she isn't talking about a specific event.
She isn't referring to death, disability, or Cain killing Abel. She is talking about life. About mortality. Everything.
It is better for us to be alive and have families, even if it's hard. It is worth any heartbreak.
And I felt sure that God wasn't promising me a big, huge problem. He was promising me a baby.
And babies are hard. Children come wrapped up in heartbreak, in sickness, in sleepless nights, and broken arms, and angry words, and growing up. And it's all worth it.
The sorrow of having children is worth it, because babies also come with more joy than could be imagined by non-parents.
Maybe God was referring to fear that I felt of pregnancy. I needed to overcome that sorrow.
Maybe he meant the sorrow of wanting to be obedient and not being able to.
Maybe he meant the difficulty and pain of childbirth, or the sleepless nights and acid reflux that we're dealing with now.
Maybe there is something big, lurking around the corner. Maybe there is sickness, death, heartbreak and sorrow waiting to spring on us.
But now that we have Louise, I know that he was right. It is better to pass through sorrow. She is worth it. She is worth the heartache that I've already endured for her- and all the heartache that will come, just as all my boys were and are.
I am grateful that God knew what we needed better than we did. I am grateful that he told us to prepare our hearts and home for Louise, even though we were scared- even though it took a long time to find the desire.
Because by the time she got here, we were all anxiously awaiting her. I don't think we could have lasted much longer.

Due Date!

(A note: If you are not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, you might be confused by our beliefs about Eve. So let me sum them up.
Unlike most other Christian religions, we don't believe that Eve made a great big mistake in the Garden of Eden all those years ago. We believe she made an important and brave decision.
When God told Eve that she would die if she ate the fruit of the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil- it wasn't a threat. It was an explanation.
Eating the fruit of the tree wouldn't kill Eve, but it would make her mortal. It would introduce grief, pain, and death into the world- but it would also introduce life. Eve and Adam would be able to bear and raise children.  Eve's decision to become a mother was brave and selfless- she gave up the ease and comfort of a painless and eternal life, and it allowed each of us to be born and live and die.
Likewise, all women are able to follow in Eve's footsteps and bring children into mortality- giving everyone a chance to experience life and gain bodies. If you're interested in reading more about Eve, you can read the scriptural account in Moses 4 & 5 - consider it an "extended edition" of Genesis. Or you can read this article about Eve, which is one of my favorite explanations of our beliefs.)





Monday, November 14, 2016

Family Conversations

Heres the truth: I write blog posts in my brain all the time. I am nearly always writing them out, thinking of funny things I want to tell you or remember.
But then I don't have any time.
Or I remember that the last time that I wrote on my blog was in May and if I'm reopening the blog- shouldn't it be for something important?
Then I think that I should finish updating you about our trip to Australia, or show you pictures from the Fourth of July, Halloween, and - by the way, I'm eight months pregnant.

So I don't end up writing anything, I just give my Instagram pictures extra long captions and pretend that counts as documenting my family's life.

But the file on my phone of funny things the boys have said is just getting TOO LONG!
I have quotes and conversations on my phone from March and April that I have never been shared! The last time I shared funny things my kids have said, my kids were still four.
Now they're kindergarteners who can read and count to 100, like tiny grown-ups.

So here you go. Family Conversations and a picture to boot:



Grey loves his toy owl, and she goes everywhere with him. Her name is Katie (and Grey also named his chicken Aunt Katie!)When his uncle Jack asked why nothing was named after him, Grey said "But Jack- I LOVE Aunt Katie so much, more than anyone!"
He was recently giving Micah instructions for babysitting Katie and said, "She's so easy to take care of, because she isn't messy. She doesn't even poop!" Then he carefully covered her "ears" and whispered, "She isn't really alive, but don't tell HER that!"
Another time he was swinging Katie in the hammock and announced, "Katie carries no weight at all, she's just stuffed with fluff!"

Grey: Where's Katie?
Micah: What Katie?
Grey: AUNT Katie.
Micah: Which Aunt Katie? Aunt Katie the human or Aunt Katie the chicken? There are starting to be too many Katies! Katie your owl, Katie the mom, Aunt Katie the chicken, Aunt Katie the aunt, and YOU! When you pretend to be Katie!
Grey: I am pretending to be Katie now!

Grey drank a large cup of milk in one draught, slammed his cup on to the table, leaned back and sighed "Ah! Alcohol!"
"Hey," I said, "What did you just say?"
He immediately looked really embarrassed. "Nothing. I said 'alcohol,' but THIS isn't alcohol. I wasn't pretending to drink alcohol, I was just thinking about people who drink alcohol."

Micah: His name is Skipper, he's a Fire Dog! That means, if you try to pet him- he gets so angry HE TURNS INTO FIRE. That's what 'Fire Dog' means.

Grey: Mom, I'm snuggling you SO HARD RIGHT NOW.

Grey: I see a face in the moon, I think it's the Moon Man!
Me: Does it help you sleep well, knowing he's watching over you?
Grey: It would, except how could he watch over me ALL night? Doesn't he ever sleep?
Me: He sleeps during the day, of course.
Grey: Oh, of course! Then yes!

Grey: Someday I'm going to be a dad.
Me: I know, and you're going to be amazing.
Grey: I really am going to be a good dad.
Me: What will you do to be a good dad?
Grey: Well, when my kids want to watch a movie, we'll watch a movie together. And when they want to play video games, we will play video games. And if they want to watch a show, we'll watch a show.
Me: Oh, so a good dad watches a lot of shows!
Grey: When his kids want to.
Me: What if your kids like to swim in a deep ocean?
Grey: Then a good dad would take them swimming, so I will! And sometimes Dads need breaks for sleeping and eating.
Me: True. What sort of things do good dads teach their kids?
Grey: Important things! Like listening to Heavenly Father, mostly. And nothing else.

Micah: I saw an American Indian by our house today.
Me: He's our neighbor, he's very nice. I bet he likes a lot of the same things as you. You can go meet him.
Travis: His name is Peyton.
Grey: SATAN?!

Grey: For the record, people should try NOT to drown.

Grey: When I'm done with breakfast, may I have a smidgen of snack cereal?
Me: No, you may not. But you did use the word smidgen correctly, so good job.
Grey: Great! Thanks!
(He was more excited about the compliment than the cereal.) 

Micah: Mom! I saw a gnome in your garden!
Me: A gnome! What did he look like?
Micah: A king!
Me: Was it a big king or a little king?
Micah: He was a Mouse King!

Grey (singing): I wish I had a body like Jesus and Heavenly Father! And I could wear the same clothes as they wear! I wiiiish I could be as BRIIIIGHT as them- it would be pretty good I think!
Micah: They're as bright as the sun!
Grey: They are!

Micah: Mom, do you know what's another word for my penis?
Me: No, what?
Micah: I'm not telling, I'm asking!

Micah: The only way I can go to sleep is to take sleep medicine. Then my eyes feel heavy until they drip closed.

Micah: Hello, what do you need my help with sister?
Me: Well, I brought down the dirty clothes, so I need you to start a load of laundry. And I'd like it if you could clean up the living room.
Micah: Okay, female.

Grey: I can share my handkerchief if I see someone crying, but not a stranger- just with pieces of our family.

Grey: I see a brown man, Micah!
Me: You know, it's not really important what color skin he has, honey.
Grey: Oh, I know. He belongs here too.

Grey: Your belly is getting fatter and fatter, Mom. I hope it's because you're growing a baby.

Travis was flying a toy airplane over to August, "Here comes your airplane!"
"Hey!" yelled Micah, "That's not his airplane! It's MY airplane!"
"Yeah," said Grey. "it's his gum holder!"
Travis flipped the plane over and discovered chewed gum stuck to the bottom.
Later he clarified, "This is where I stick my gum at night, so I can chew it in the morning."

Grey: This is my work-handkerchief. I use it when I'm working so hard that I need to wipe sweat off my face. Or if I need to wipe tears off my face because I'm sad that you're forcing me to work.

Grey: Look! We are both wearing gray pants!
Me: We must be twins!
Grey: We are not. Micah is my twin, and my brother. You are my mom, and we are just wearing matching pants.

Flight attendant: All boys?!
Grey: AND A MOM!

Micah: Grandpa Chris will take me fishing!
Grey: Who is Grandpa Chris?
Micah: You remember. He's married to Grandma Polly. He's the Grandpa like a bear!
Grey: He's not a bear. He just has a beardy face, but the body of a human.

Me: Micah, please leave August alone.
Micah: I don't know why he's crying! He usually likes to play with my tongue, but right now he doesn't want to.

Micah: Know what I see with my good eyesight? SO MANY CARS!
Travis: How many? Count them!
Micah: I think sixty.
Grey: Maybe forty.
Micah: No. Definitely sixty.

Micah: Want to know a secret? If you say "concrete," babies cannot talk. Grandpa Chris told me that.
Grey: He was trying to trick you. He's a trickster I think.

Me: What do you think of the name Moses?
Grey: Well, there's already a movie named Moses, so that could be confusing. People would say "Is that the baby Moses or the movie?"
Me: What about Kurt?
Grey: Again, that's a mans name already, so it would be confusing.
Me: What about Elias?
Grey: That sounds like a girls' name.
Me: What about Elliot?
Grey: Yeah! Elliot! That's a good one for a boy that no one has!

Grey: We could name the baby Streetwalker!
(Like "Skywalker," I think- but for Earthlings.) 

Grey: We are beach people now, right?
Me: Sure!
Grey: Dad's a Beach Loser, but we are Beach Winners!

Micah: Australia is very nice.
Me: It is nice, isn't it?
Micah: But you guys ARE NOT NICE.
Me: Oh, thanks.
Micah: No, I said not nice, Mom! I didn't say you were nice!

Me: Will you make us milkshakes?
Travis: I'm SO tired!
Grey: Daddy, Mom does everything. She just made us dinner.
Micah: You didn't even help her. You didn't do anything.

Micah: Grey is being a bully to me. And he said my heart is filled with anger, but right now it's filled with sadness!

Micah: Be careful in the ocean! I cannot live without my darling precious mother!

Micah: I'm drawing a picture of my dear. Not a deer, like an animal with antlers that lives in the woods- but a dear like "I love you, my dear."

Grey: We have to learn to skateboard so that we can skateboard on a skateboard!

Grey: Did you know that I have puppies named Grey and Micah, Micah?
Micah: Micah-Micah?
Grey: What? No. Micah, Micah. Just Micah.
Micah: Grey and Micah?
Grey: Exactly.

(Grey finished eating and was playing on the couch, while Micah and August finished dinner.) 
Micah: Am I doing a fine job of eating?
Me: Not really.
Micah: I'm just too instructed! August is so cute, he's the cutest boy in the world. I can't stop looking at him, I'm so instructed.
Me: Distracted.
Micah: Yes. And I really miss Grey. I miss him when he's gone.
Grey: I'm right here.
Micah: But you're not at the table with me, so I cannot eat.

Micah: This dinner is actually quite delicious!
Grey: Yes, it's SCRUMPTIOUS! Wait. What does scrumptious mean?
Me: Delicious to the taste.
Grey: It is scrumptious then, I was right.

Me: See how nice and clean your room is?
Micah: Hmm, it IS clean. But I like it better messy.
Me: I like it better clean! Then you can find all your toys and you have lots of room to spread out and play!
Micah: But when it's messy, and your toys are lost, you get to DIG for them!

Me: Tomorrow is Sunday.
Micah: I think I'm going to be sick then.

Grey: I'm writing in my book of remembrance, so I can never forget the things we say in Australia.

Micah: If this baby is a boy, let's name him Bravery. Bravery Pitcher. Bravery DeCon Pitcher. That sounds pretty good and pretty brave!

Grey: This is the scrumptiousest dinner I've ever eaten.

Micah: Ugh, Grey. Look! Yuck! Did you know that the longer you look at poop- the ickier and ickier it gets. I'm learning that right now.

Micah: Who wants to be a sugar burger girl?
Me: I don't know what that means.
Micah: It means you're a Sugar Queen in Witch Land and you love to eat sugar hamburgers!

James: What's your favorite dinosaur?
Grey: I don't like dinosaurs.
James: Your favorite dinosaur is the eucephalus.
Grey: Okay.
James: What are you drawing?
Grey: A treasure chest. And if you can guess what's inside, you'll get a prize!
James: There's a quetzacoatlus inside!
Grey: Um, yes. You win!
James: Hurray! Your favorite dinosaur must be a quetzacoatlus!

Me: Grey, be careful!
Grey: You don't have to worry about me. I can do my own safetys.

James: What dinosaur do you like most?
Micah: I don't like any. I like little, gentle animals. Like kittens and small chickens.

Micah: Do you know what James told me?! The long necked dinosaur likes to eat plants and not people!

Micah: Mom, do you know what Dudley from Harry Potter knows?
Me: No.
Micah: He knows that if he pretends to cry his mother will give him anything.
Me: That's true. Do I give you what you want when you cry?
Me: No!
Travis: That's because we don't want you to grow up and be like Dudley.
Micah: No way! He beats people with his smelting stick!

Me: Alright, Mr. Sassy Pants.
Micah: I'm not Mr. Sassy Pants! You're Sister Breast-Pants!

Grey: Do you know why I'm helping you so much?
Me: Why?
Grey: Because I hope it's a girl baby.
Me: Oh, will you help me less if we find out it's a boy?
Grey: Maybe, Mom. Maybe.... Maybe.... Yeah, I think if it's a boy, I'll help you just a little less.

Grey: August is poopy.
Me: Tell Daddy, he's outside with him.
Grey: I think he must already know. It's a very powerful poopy smell.

Grey: I can't find my California Brothers hat.
Me: Minnesota Twins?
Grey: Ah yes, that.

Grey: Brr! Roll up the windows, I'm freezing!
Me: No way! The fresh mountain air makes you stronger!
Grey: I think there's enough air in here, that if we shut the windows the air would be trapped and we could keep getting stronger.

Me: How's it going out there?
Grey: We are having awfully, milliony fun.

Grey: Ugh! There are bugs on me. I think they are females and they're trying to lay eggs on me!

Grey: I would like forty billion, million-hundreds of cherries.

Micah: How many Harry Potter books are there?
Me: Seven.
Micah: Does Harry kill Voldemort in number seven?
Me: Yes.
Micah: And then they have a party!

Me: Your room is so messy!
Micah: No, just a wee bit messy, I think.

Micah: Elanor, you're so beautiful. I think you're even beautiful when you wear very dirty clothes, or even if you had no clothes! You'd still be beautiful naked.

Grey: Elanor, when we are married, would you like to go fishing together?

Me: How was camping?
Micah: Good! It was as fun as being with Jesus!

Grey: Leaving Max's house is as sad as not going rock climbing for two years!

Micah: Get this harness off my temple!
Me: What?
Micah: My body is a temple.

Me: We are going to a park.
Grey: Have we been here before?
Me: Yes, but not since you were three, so you won't remember it.
Micah: I remember it!
Grey: I remember everything!
Micah: I remember those balloons!
Grey: I remember everything!
Micah: I remember that gray house!
Grey: I remember everything!
Micah: Why do you keep saying 'I remember everything?'
Grey: Because I remember everything!
Me: Okay! Here we are!
Grey: Huh. I don't remember THIS park.

Me: Micah, were you throwing mud at Milo?
Micah: Um. He didn't tell me, "I don't WANT to be muddy."

Grey: I wish I was a grown up so I could stay up as late as I want.
Travis: I wish I was a kid so I could eat candy and have nothing to worry about it.
Grey: Kids have lots of things to worry about.
Travis: What are you worried about?
Grey: Boy-eating foxes.

Micah: Do you know what a person-bomb is?
Me: No. What's a person-bomb?
Micah: When you love someone so much that you explode.

Travis: Do you have a crush on her?
Micah: No, I just like her accent. I'm not CRUSHED on her. But if I see her, I might even marry her.
Me: Do you know what it means to have a crush on someone?
Micah: No.
Me: It just means you like them, and think they're pretty and want to spend time with them.
Micah: Oh, that's all? Yeah- I do have a little crush on that Australian girl, then.

Micah: What are you thinking about, Mom? Harry Potter or how handsome Dad is? Which one?

Me: Do you know what the difference is between boys and girls?
Micah: Girls have the power to grow babies and boys have the priesthood power. And everyone has scripture power!
Grey: Not EVERYONE.
Micah: No. That's true. You only have scripture power if you read your scriptures. Also- girls have vaginas and boys have penises.
Me: Nailed it.

Me: I'm so proud of myself!
Micah: That means you're stiffnecked!

Grey: Can you even the heck see me?

Micah: Wow, August! You look like you come from a land of cool magicians, where it's so bright- that you need to wear sunglasses in the fields. By the way, fields are very bright because there are not trees to make shade.

Micah: We got to see real human blood today, but we didn't get to feel it.

Grey: Do you wish you had a nice, fat husband?
Me: Not really, I want your daddy as my husband- and he's not fat. So I want a skinny husband.
Grey: Yeah, but don't you wish he was a little more... snuggly?

Micah: Look, Mom! These two spiders are mating. And when they're done- the female will EAT the male! Awesome!

Grey: Our room is swollen with toys!

I tucked the boys into bed. Then less than a minute later, I went back into their room to grab something and Grey sighed "I'm just dropping off to sleep."

Grey was so cute apple picking. He kept saying "These apples will keep all winter! How lucky for us to gather apples that can last us through the year!"

The boys did my makeup and told me that I looked as beautiful as "a girl missionary" and the "painting artist Frida," and I looked like "a handsome baby."

The boys just did Rock Paper Scissors like this:
Micah: Think of one.
Grey: Okay. I have mine.
Micah: Mine was scissors. So I guess I win! Scissors cuts paper.
•long pause• 
Grey: I chose... rock.
Micah: What?
Grey: Rock smashes scissors, so I guess I win.
Micah: But... scissors cut paper.
Grey: I didn't choose paper.
Micah: You didn't choose paper?
Grey: Rock wins. I win.
Micah: Huh... I guess so.

Grey: I think we should have two more babies after this, so we have six kids.
Me: Maybe, but maybe just five.
Travis: I'm going with four.
Grey: Why don't you want more babies, Dad?
Travis: Well, it's a lot of work and money to have so many kids.
Micah: But babies make you happy, Dad. Don't you want our family to be more happy?

Me: I'm sorry! Did I bump you with my big fat belly?
Micah: You're not fat! Don't say that! You just have a growing baby inside of you and it makes your body huger. Hopefully the baby is fat for real, but you're not!
Me: Haha, thanks Micah. I hope our baby is fat too.
Micah: It would be so cute, if she's so fat with fat little cheeks and legs. But then, when she gets bigger- she'll probably be skinny like us.

Dave: Thanks for cleaning that game up, Micah!
Micah: When you are in the service of your fellow being, you're only in the service of your God.
Dave: Wow, that's right! That scripture is from the Book of Mormon.
Micah: Mosiah 2:17.

Grey: Wow! Look at all the spots and lines on your stomach from stretching to grow your babies. Your body is so amazing. I wish I could grow babies, too.

Grey: I want to open these tomatoes.
Me: Let's wait, we are almost home.
Grey: UGH! I just love tomatoes too much.
Micah: He can't even help it! He needs to open those tomatoes!

Micah: Well, I only felt the spirit ONCE at church today. So that was disappointing.

Micah: Mom! Aurora doesn't like ONIONS.
Me: What!? Only crazy people don't like onions!
Micah: Well, I'm crazy and I DO like onions!

Noelle: Well, I'm headed to the temple.
Micah: To look for a husband?
Noelle: No, but maybe I should, huh?
Micah: (Sigh). Husbands are hard to find. There aren't many husbands around here, they don't like it because it gets too cold in the winter. You should go somewhere warmer, like Australia.

Grey: When I'm a grown up, I think I will name my first son "August," after my cutest brother August. Then we'll have two Baby Augusts!
Me: That is very nice, but when you're a grown up, August will be a grown up, too. So you will have a Baby August and an Uncle August.
Grey: Oh yeah! I didn't even realize that. That's even better, because then we won't get confused!

Grey: I went and spoke very kindly to a brown man. I said, "Hello, what are you doing?" He said, "We are fixing rain gutters." And I was like, "I don't even know what rain gutters are!" That's my story, Mom.

Me: What are you thinking about?
August: Huh? Mountains, tunnels, and milk.  Mountains and Milk. Milk Mountains! 

Neighbor: How old are you?
August: Um... August. 
Neighbor: Your name is August?
August: Name is August. 
Neighbor: But how old are you? Two?
August: Two, three, four- August.  Yes. 



.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Australia 7 - To Perth!




I am proud to say that we made it to Perth! Travis had a really full day on day that we left, so I was left alone to finish packing, load up our things and children, drive the more-than-an-hour to the airport (through a foreign country I'm fairly unfamiliar with, remember!) return the rental car, take the shuttle to the airport (with three kids and 6 bags!) navigate the airport, get on to our flight, and survive the six hour late-night flight with a baby who wouldn't sleep.
Aaaaand, I'm 12 weeks pregnant! So I want everyone to be very impressed with me.

Several people on the flight, including passengers and slight attendants, came over to compliment the boys on being so well behaved and to praise me for having such quiet, sweet children. I almost started crying every time someone said this to me, after the week I've had - being told what terrible demons my kids are and how awful I am at parenting.
The big boys were so friendly and funny talking to the man they shared their row with, and he was really kind. He kept offering to help them with cutting their food, untangling headphones, etc. It was such a blessing to be next to someone like him. It made the flight so much smoother, because I really could focus on trying to take care of August.



We were so relieved and happy to see Aunt Camille at the airport terminal. Finally, we felt a little less out of place.
The boys were hyper and excited the drive back to the Spencers, and practically hysterical with joy in the morning to find cousins ready to play, book shelves filled with books, a trunk of costumes and bins of toys!
It's been hard to entertain ourselves for the last month, and I wasn't sure which they were more grateful for: toys or friends!
Camille is the midst of a dance workshop in downtown Perth- so I was actually home with the boys (including Finn all day, and James when he wasn't in school) for the first few days- and it was actually really nice. It felt like getting home from a long vacation, to be in a house full of food and with a yard and driveway to play in. We got to rest and chill for a while before we dove back into being tourists.


The boys (while crazy and wild when all together), are getting along really well, especially when James is home! He's such a peacemaker. He's so gentle and inclusive that whenever he comes home from school, everyone suddenly gets along really well again, even if they'd been fighting and crazy for the entire day. 

One of our first days in Perth, I decided to brave the park with the four boys. It was overcast and chilly, but I put everyone in sweatshirts with hoods- and figured we'd just come home if it got cold or started to rain. After a while, it started to drizzle a little- but the playground was under a canopy and everyone was still happy. The park emptied around us, and while it had been full when we got there - we were soon one of only two groups left. The sun started to shine again, and I was glad that we hadn't been fooled into going home to escape the weather.
And then- KABOOM! Suddenly, the weather completely changed and BUCKETS of rain started pouring down. The wind was so strong that it whipped the water under the canopy and soaked all of us! I started trying to gather kids- instructing them to start running towards the car, but everyone was frantic and freaked out, and worried about leaving the buckets, dump trucks, and water bottles that we had now scattered across the park.  So instead of running towards the car, they were mostly running in circles screaming! I kept trying to laugh and make jokes as I gathered them, hoping they'd see how funny and silly it was that we had to run to the car in such crazy weather- but the wind was so hard and loud, and the water was so cold that everyone was still hysterical. And my glasses were so wet that it was hard for me to even herd everyone effectively to the car.
After a good ten minutes, I finally managed to get everyone into the car (soaking wet!), and then I had to leave them and run back to the playground in the rain to gather all our toys. Of course, by the time everyone was buckled in and ready to drive home, the sun had come out and was shining again!
But then we were as wet as if we'd been wearing  our clothes in the shower, so it was time to head home.
We decided to spend much of the rest of the day making homemade muffins, snuggling, and watching some cozy movies. It's amazing how it really feels like late-autumn, early winter here while Coolum Beach was still so summery and warm.





Monday, May 23, 2016

Australia 6 - Goodbye Sunshine Coast



My favorite days (and Travis' LEAST favorite!) are the days when Joe calls in the morning and says "We don't need you until noon," and then he calls again at 11am and says "We don't need you until 4pm!"
Those are the days we get to have Travis come adventuring with us!
We are leaving Coolum tomorrow, so I was really excited to have Travis for the day on Saturday, and insisted we go back and visit Noosa Head together. (The national beach-forest that I took the boys to with such pathetic results.)



This time, we were hiking prepared. The boys had swimsuits under their shorts (they insisted on shorts) and we had lots of snacks, sunscreen, and a dad to carry sleepy babies.
We only passed about two other families with children (we hardly see any kids on Sunshine Coast!) and several people commented on how impressed they were with the boys' hiking ability. We only hiked about 4 miles total- but one man even asked, "How did these kids get up here? Did you carry them?" No!
Well... okay. August was carried a little.




The hike was so much more fun this time, and not just because there was no whining. Travis is much more adventuresome than I about leaving the path and exploring with the boys. He lead us down to a pretty little cove that was filled with fairy pools! They were tucked away, up on the rocks, but they were very deep and clear pools of water- full of tropical ocean fish, crabs, anemone and more. It was so beautiful!
Unfortunately, my camera was slung around my back as we were standing on some cliffs- looking out at the water. When a huge wave came up, I turned around quickly to shepherd children back up to safety and got hit in the back with the water! The camera won't turn on, so hopefully it isn't ruined and all our pictures aren't lost! In the mean time, we are living mostly on iPhone pictures, anyway.







When we finally reached the top- it was too windy to take any pictures!

It was a fun, busy Saturday. On Sunday, we decided to attend the other ward at the church building. They meet at 9am and we hadn't made it there yet. Now we are so disappointed that we didn't go there every week! It was full of kids and young families. Several moms asked if we could get together- including a woman pregnant with twins! A few women were from Salt Lake, and the boys' Primary teacher was from Park City. And with an ice-cream social afterwards? Well, what's not to love?



On the way home from Noosa on Saturday, we noticed the tire on the car was flat. We filled it up, but it was flat again on Sunday morning- and again after church! I felt pretty accomplished getting everyone to church by myself, filling up tires on the way! But I felt really nervous about taking everyone to the airport in that car.





Travis took the car today (Monday) to get replaced, so we spent the day "at home" in Coolum Beach, saying goodbye to the playgrounds and beaches that we've gotten to know so well in the last three weeks. And cleaning and packing up the apartment we've been in.
It's been good to us- but we are excited for our next adventure!