Sunday, April 6, 2014

Welcoming Baby Number 5!

I am pregnant! I still feel a bit like I am surprising myself every time I say it!

This baby is certainly unplanned, but most certainly welcome! We now realize events that led up to this even being a possibility were all a means to a greater plan. Everything that happened, needed to happen to open the way for this baby to bless our lives.

We are very excited! In spite of my not feeling well. At all. I do have three months under my belt, so I am kind of hoping I am on the uphill end of the sickness battle. We laughed and I did a little crying, when we figured this whole thing out. After about eight pregnancy tests. Which kept giving us mixed results. That was an interesting day!

Walker, our current youngest, and the baby will be a month shy of five years apart in age! I have given away all of our baby paraphernalia. Caught a little off guard! We have decided that we better try very hard to be in the moment with this baby and enjoy each step along the way. Apparently that includes the shopping for baby stuff part of it too! We are blessed to have been given the chance to be expand our family once again. I have not done the pregnancy thing in five years. That feels like a really long time when you take into consideration that I was pregnant again with a year and a half of each of my previous babies!

We are hoping the baby will cooperate enough that we can get a glimpse of the gender at the end of this month!
We told our families and our children while we were on an extended layover in Salt Lake City over Spring Break. Everyone was VERY surprised!
Wally fell right on the floor! Oh the drama! He came to me a few minutes later and said, "Mom, I thought you were done having babies."
I told him I had thought so as well, and we will all just have to be on this ride together!
Georgia told us that she is still feeling a little scared. She is so excited she has not been able to keep it to herself! Anyone that pauses long enough to have a short conversation with her gets the scoop! She just can't keep it in!
Here is the ultra sound I had to confirm. With the date clearly showing, since I decided to announce on April Fools Day, and threw everyone off on if they should believe me or not. Oh, this is real people!

We do tend to get a lot of looks with the four kids we have, so I can't imagine the looks and comments we will get with five. I guess I will just have to keep in mind that the people who think we are crazy, just don't know what they are missing!

You can consider this my three month progress shot. I do feel that this baby is popping a little earlier than the others have, but I realize to others I am still not really showing.

Thrilled to meet this little one in mid October!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Wally Is 11

I am very behind on my posting. I need to play a bit of catch up.

Wally turned 11 back in March. My boy is just getting bigger and smarter and it is amazing that we get the chance to marvel over our children growing in this life!
Wally is a good boy. He has such a good heart. He loves his siblings.

This Winter Will got sick one night. He was having a rough time. I put a bowl at his bedside so he could use it if he needed it.
He did need it many times.
His stomach was so upset.
I woke up when he would get sick, but before I was able to do too much to help, Wally would be there, reassuring me that he was taking care of it. He told me to go back to bed and get some sleep. He spent the night up with Will. When Will got sick, Wally emptied his bowl in the toilet and rinsed it out. He helped Will to the bathroom. He would sling Will's arm over his shoulders and steady him while they slowly made their way, then help him back to bed and tuck him in. Will found so much comfort in Wally's care. He was content to let Wally help him through the night. I could not believe that every time I heard Will, Wally was right there, all night long.

The next day, they were both exhausted, but Will felt better. I let Wally sleep in, so impressed, and touched at the brotherly, and mature love he had shown Will. I love it when those moments of great character really shine through. I wonder sometimes who is taking care of who here?

My good friend Maria offered to make Wally a cake for his birthday. She does such a good job, and Wally's cactus cake turned out to be adorable! She knew we were spending Spring Break in Arizona, and the cake was to get Wally excited! We loved it! So thoughtful!

Wally wanted to play arcade games and eat pizza for his birthday. So we did!
Wally is hard to shop for because often  if he has not specifically asked for an item, he can take it or leave it. I thought it would be a good idea to get him a new bike this year. I was happy that he was thrilled with it, even though it had arrived that day, unassembled, and still in the box.

Wally pointing to himself each time we sang the word "you" in "Happy Birthday."

Taking a peek into a hole in the box the bike came in.

Money from Grandmas and Grandpas is always a birthday highlight! Another year better when it comes to this guy!

Monday, March 3, 2014

South Beach 2014

Del and I went to South Beach for a conference put on by the software company he uses for the second time.
 It is a really good way to stay caught up with changes in the industry, and give yourself a mini heart attack several times, in a beautiful climate when you learn of those changes, and how they will affect your business!

Kind of kidding, but not really.

We once again stayed at Loews South Beach. The weather was AMAZING!
Last time we were there, we had a mild winter here in Chicago, and Miami was unseasonably cold.
This time, Chicago is the Polar Vortex capital of the world, and Miami was pushing 90 degrees every day.
The contrast was so sharp, it was like getting off a plane that had flown us to another planet.

We checked in and went to grab some pizza. I unloaded all of our convention "swag."

It is always nice to have some down time while Del goes to some of the seminars. I like to go to the fitness center and read by the pool. The time flies by! It is also nice to meet many of the people that Del knows in the industry.

I enjoy time with Del that is uninterrupted no matter when I can get it. That is when we end up talking about things that we had not planned to talk about. When we come with ideas, and make decisions that we may not have even known needed to be made. I appreciated that about this trip.

The hotel has a lovely spa and great workout space. But you have to pay an extra fee to get in. So I took advantage and used all the amenities after my workout.
Oh, and I took a picture of the inside of the spa locker room for my money.
Kinda fresh looking, right?

Unfortunately, right in the middle of the trip, I had an incident with my food allergy.

I am allergic to tree nuts. Not peanuts, which can get confusing, but walnuts, almonds, pecans, macadamia, and so on. Nuts that grow on a tree. I do not like the attention that comes with having this food allergy, but that is my reality.

I am extremely diligent with my food allergy. My last allergic reaction had taken place in July of 2006. So I had a pretty solid streak going there.

 I am very, very allergic.

I have had an E.R. doctor actually assign the minutes I would have had left  to live had I not gotten to the hospital. On my honeymoon. Yes, I know. Poor Del. No return policy. Ouch.

My protocol is, ask, ask again, explain, explain again, follow my gut, and in many cases, my policy is do not eat.
Vacations can get tricky for us. It is an exhausting dance to do every time you put something in your mouth. I generally avoid desserts when I am out. I have to feel very good about the decision to eat one.

I skipped a step this time, and I am convinced that I have someone watching over me. I don't take that lightly. I pray to my Heavenly Father to be protected on any trip I take. I know that my experience in Miami could have been worse. It SHOULD have been worse.

I accepted what looked like some vanilla ice cream that I didn't even really want.

 And when it comes right down to it, I know better. Del had asked if there were nuts for me. I trust Del. I should never trust the answer that there are no nuts. Verify.

 I put my spoon in the cup and it hit something hard. I should have checked, but assumed it was just a shallow cup. It was not. It was a big chip of chocolate under that vanilla ice cream that had walnuts in it. My absolute worst trigger.
I went right into action mode, pulling out my Epi Pens, and calling hotel security about an ambulance. But I kept telling Del, something felt different. It wasn't coming on like it usually does. It was slower, I was not getting some of the indicators of shock that normally come right away.
We were especially surprised at this when we discovered that it indeed was walnuts!

My reaction ended up being the mildest reaction that I have had since I was probably age 17.

I still have no explanation. I assume that it is because I only ate ice cream that had been next to the walnut, and therefore only had a trace amount. If that is the case, it is a miracle.
I don't know why my reaction was so manageable, and I will not be testing my limits to see if it is that way again. But I am so grateful.

Don't get me wrong, I was miserable. But I was watched over. I know that. I don't take this lightly. I appreciate coming home safely to raise my children.

I am vulnerable.
In reality, it is like anything in life when it really comes down to it. We are all vulnerable, because we are mortal. If it is not one person's weakness, it could be another that changes things for them and their families. We could all have our moment. I want to take what I can from my scare in Miami.

I need to live my life as if I may not have the time it seems I should.
To me that does not mean going out into the world to take crazy risks, or do what I have always dreamt of doing, no matter the cost.

To me, it means appreciating the every day. It means being more patient with the sometimes harrowing act of getting my kids out the door early in the morning for school. Or being extra kind during musical instrument practice, or homework help.
It means calling a friend I miss. It means taking more time to gain knowledge from scripture study.
 It means having purposeful prayer.
It means making sure my kids know I have a testimony, and that if anything every happened to me, what I want the most for them, is to have them live the Gospel. It means thanking my husband for taking care of me when I am not at my best, and enjoying life with me when I am trying to be at my best.

I was so grateful that I was able to get up the morning after my reaction, and take in a new day. I am grateful for the angel, or angels I had with me. For whatever it was that stopped me from taking even one more bit, and keeping a level head when I could have panicked.

It was one more life experience that I can reflect on and feel sure that prayers are heard. Also to remember that life is just not going to be prefect sometimes.
Sometimes life is going to hurt, and sometimes it just is not in our control.
But we can't let that lack of control, control us. We have to live, we have to take opportunities. We can't hide in a nut free cave.

It will be okay. That is the main lesson I learned. No matter what, in the eternal scheme of things, it will be okay. So that is what I came home and told my kids.

Sorry to get all sentimental on ya.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Talent Show/ Violin Recital 2014

Del and I have been listening to an leadership series put out by Dave Ramsey when we are in the car. I heard something interesting while listening. It said that in most cases, the last time a person was applauded for was at their high school graduation. It is kind of disheartening to think that is the highlight.
One thing I love about my church is that it provides opportunity to learn to stand in front of people and either deliver a message, bear testimony, be in a skit, pray, lead music, play music, and so on! We start them young! Little tiny three year olds give talks and pray in our primary. There are programs and nights of service from that point until the end of your life that help you with not only your spiritual well being, but develop life skills.
One such night just passed for us. The annual primary talent show! This eclectic night is always entertaining! The children chose a talent to perform, or display, and not only is it a kind, forgiving atmosphere where the attempt is appreciated no matter the outcome, they get a nice round of applause at the end!

This year Will was playing the piano, Georgia the violin, Walker was singing, and Wally was displaying some of his artwork. Until Will was up sick the whole night before.
Del stayed with Will, and I went to watch, and play accompaniment for Georgia.

I am mad at myself for forgetting to take a picture of Wally's art display.  I do have video of Georgia and Walker thanks to the help of a friend.

I am proud of them. I realize more and more every day that my kids are brave. Braver than I ever was at their age. It is asking a lot to play and instrument in front of people. Or dive into a pool and swim in front of people. And they do it well.

Walker sang a happy rendition of a pre school favorite, "Five Little Hot Dogs."

Here is Georgia getting a high five for her violin performance. She played her recital piece, "See-Saw."

Here is the video.

Georgia also had the opportunity to play her song at her violin recital the week before the talent show. It feels like progress can be slow in this Suzuki violin thing. It is so technical, and to be honest, Georgia struggles to keep her attention and focus on task.

It can be painful for me, in her lessons.

I know that it is all part of the learning process though. Georgia's teacher is so patient. She recognizes the natural abilities Georgia has when it comes to playing, and she is willing to steadily work on the aspects that don't come as naturally.

It is hard work. We need to be more diligent in getting a practice session in five days a week. With Georgia also taking piano, it can be a delicate mother/daughter relationship balance.

Georgia will never be a push over. She is a tough little cookie. Getting her to do what I want can be an exercise in self control for me. Add swim team to the list, which she loves by the way, and three brother's piano, swim, scouts, basketball, etc., and the oversight that requires from me, and we have a lengthy list of things for Mom to nag about.  And keep in mind that this is coming from a woman who was not a stalwart piano practicer growing up. So I'm pretty much a hypocrite trying to instill these values.

All of this is either going to shape her into a fine young lady, or she is going to pack up and run away in the night to join the circus.

 Let's hope for the fine young lady.
Preferably one who knows how to play the violin and piano.

Back to the recital.
 Georgia and I practiced diligently for this. She did not want to get up in front of everyone and be embarrassed. Every time she would start to panic I would remind her that diligent practice was the key to confidence.

There is a scripture in a book of Spiritual insight and revelation from God given to our Prophet Joseph Smith in the 1800's called The Doctrine and Covenants.
The scripture is D&C 38:30

"If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear."

That is what I would tell Georgia. You will be ready, because we are preparing. The scriptures hold the answer to all questions, don't they?
I loved the lesson she learned from this. She got up, did her best, and did well. She learned that she has to practice for that to happen. The result is only as good and the preparation. I hope it sticks! At age six, I'm not sure.

Georgia looked beautiful at her recital. And she also looked tiny.

She played her piece pizzicato. This means plucking the strings. Georgia is working on bowing at home and during lessons. But in Suzuki, bowing is a privilege. Every step and skill added is earned. Georgia is getting to the skill level to be able to bow in her recitals. The majority of the little tiny kids played their pieces pizzicato.
Here is her performance. Good job, Georgie girl!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Wilmot Mountain

And, some other Winter stuff.

We have been ducking our heads and bracing ourselves in the cold here these days. It has been relentless! We don't struggle with finding something to do most days because we are pretty busy with swim, basketball, and music, but most of our down time is just spent inside at home. Enjoying the fact that we don't have to be out running around in the frigid temps.

On Martin Luther King Day, the sun was out, the wind was mild, and the temperature was bearable. So we decided to give tubing a try at a ski resort up in Wisconsin.
Ski is a term that most Westerners would use loosely, and resort, would just make them laugh, if they saw the hills people are using out here in the Midwest. But when it comes to going down these things on a tube, it is pretty stomach lurching.  They gave us a pretty good thrill. They were steep, and covered in ice.

We talked Walker into going down three times, and he did well. Mainly because I promised him hot chocolate in the lodge if he would cooperate. He cried the whole way down the first time, and it took some negotiating that would impress Congress to get Georgia on the thing in the beginning. All is well that ends well. Georgia ended up loving it the most, and we had a nice day as a family.

It has been nice this year because the kids are all old enough to enjoy most activities together. Walker is so much more independent, and he will do what it takes to keep up with the big kids!

Georgia's hat flew right off her head once we picked up our speed on the hill. The nice man in line behind us risked his life, or at least a broken leg, and climbed out onto the hill to grab it and bring it down to us. So nice.

Walker wanted to ride on our laps so badly. He had to ride in his own tube attached to ours because you go so fast, one little bump would send a lap rider flying. So that was his main concern. He was a brave boy.

The magic carpet back to the top!

This hill does not look nearly as intimidating in pictures as it does in person. All the kids were good sports!

The promised hot chocolate! That hit the spot!

In other news... Del called me one night from our temple parking lot. As he was pulling into a space, the wheel of his car fell off. Yup. Fell right off. The poor car is pushing 250 thousand miles, so what more can you ask of it, right?
So after lots of discussion, and a little mourning on Del's part (he really wanted to be able to say he got that thing to go to 300 thousand miles.) we finally decided that it would probably be a good idea to go ahead and buy a new car. Our next door neighbor is the car dealership owner extraordinaire, so we called him up. Within the week, we had the car he and Del had decided on, two guys pulled it into our driveway, and we signed some papers, and handed over the money, and it was ours without even setting foot on a lot!
Service with a smile! Here is Del sitting in his new car in the garage.
Now the ironic part. Del decided to get the car fixed after it was towed.
So then we had three cars.
We went to church the next Sunday, and a guy in our ward who had just arrived home from serving his two year mission two days earlier was there. Del talked to him, found out he was looking for a job, emptied the old Honda, which he had driven to church, out in the parking lot, and the guy left with a car, and a job to go to the next morning. Del hitched a ride home with the Bishop.
 Del is a good man.
And the returned missionary is doing a great job in Del's warehouse, and using the car to do all kinds of good in the world. He stops to help every time he sees someone pulled off the road, or stuck anywhere. He helps them as much as he can, and gives them a pass along card for our church. He said he always stops. No matter what. Maybe that Honda will make it to 300 thousand miles after all!

Georgia always gets stuck wearing a mini version of my outfit to church on Sundays. Once I get one of our outfits picked out, I am always subconsciously sticking with the same color pallet when I choose the other's. I'm not very adventurous.

We played "Heads up, seven up" for Family Home Evening  few weeks ago, and it was a hit! Now it is the request every time.
That is a glimpse of our Winter so far! It is looking like we may have the cold weather around for a while, so I am sure anther Winter update will follow! Now I need to go get ready for the carpets to be cleaned in the hopes that I can get some of the salt that has been impossible to keep out of the house, to come out of it! Oh the joys of the Arctic!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Southern Utah

The day after Christmas we headed down to Southern Utah for a few days with both Del's parents, and mine. It was such a nice trip!

On the first date Del and I ever went on when I was sixteen, and he was eighteen, I told him that I wanted to go to Dixie in St. George. My sister was headed there for school the next year, and I just liked the idea of it. Del told me that he had applied there, and was offered a scholarship. While he was serving his mission for our church, I had hesitations about following through with my plans to go to Dixie, because I wasn't sure if it would make me look like I was desperately following him around if that is where he ended up landing when he got home. Never worry about what people will think as much as I did.

As fate would have it, I got a scholarship there too. And so did some of my best friends! So we all ended up in Southern Utah, at Dixie! I roomed with my friends, and what a fun year it was! Del was only a few blocks away, and we ended up spending all our time together.

Del and I got engaged while in St. George, and we lived there for the first year of our marriage while we attended Dixie for another year, and Del was the Student Vice President.
After that year, Del transferred to Weber State in Northern Utah. We hadn't been back in over seven years.

Things are very different in St. George these days! I swear there is more commerce there than in the entire county we live in now, with a far bigger population! Restaurants like mad! People must eat out a lot there! Ha!
One thing that doesn't change, is that St. George is still a charming, unique town in the middle of the beautiful desert scenery of Southern Utah.
I still love it. The air has a specific smell in Southern Utah.
We headed straight into Zion National Park the morning after we arrived. So get ready for a lot of low quality pictures of red rock!

Don't worry, what I lack in quality, I make up for in quantity!

We walked the path that leads to the trail head of the Narrows. It was so cold, and so icy, we had to turn around before we got to the Narrows entrance. Google the Narrows if you have never seen pictures! It is mind blowing! I want to go back and hike through when the kids are older, and the weather is a lot warmer.

That would be Angels' Landing. Next time we are in Zion, I want to try hiking that with the kids. It would be too much now, but in a few years it will be a great challenge! So glad we were able to show our kids the beauty of Zion, and the red rock of Utah.

We did the Emerald Pools hike. We went around the entire bowl, and I am so glad we didn't stop when it got icy. The other side was in the sun, and it felt amazing, and it was the perfect hike to do with kids!

We all brought home some of the red rock dirt on our shoes as a souvenir.

We sat down after our hike while Del and my dad ran back to the parking lot to get his parents who had waited for us to do the hike.
Georgia suddenly jumped up and declared that she now wanted to do some planking. (This was right after my planking quest, so it was on the brain.) Walker wanted to join her. Planking in Zion. Awesome!

I have a few friends that live in St. George. I talked to two of them about getting together, but it didn't work out because life is crazy. My friend Kathryn was in Salt Lake while I was in St. George. We must have passed on the freeway. So Del and I decided to start a game of "house tag."
We took this picture at her front door and texted it to Kathryn.

Kathryn, tag, you're it!!

We drove around campus and pointed out our old stomping grounds to the kids, who were not overly interested. Ha!
We stopped in front of my apartment complex and took a picture in the same spot we took one the night Del proposed. Pretty glam, as you can see! I lived in the apartment on the third floor here! E6!

Here is a picture of me with my roommates in our apartment kitchen back in 1999. I still value the friendship with these girls. Really, really good women!
Don't we all look tan and excited about life?

Del's parents headed home the morning after we did Zion, and we went to do a tour of the Brigham Young home with my parents.  We also made sure to hit our old favorite restaurants and ice cream spots! Yum! I am ready to go back to St. George, considering it is pretty warm there year round. This was the coldest I have ever seen it. They also have a fun parade of homes there every February that I love to see.

It was a good trip. We had a nice time out West. Hopefully we see it all again before another seven and half years pass!