Monday, July 14, 2014

Fifth Pregnancy... So Far

I thought a little update on the baby we are expecting would be a good thing to document. It has been so hard for me to sit down and get thoughts to paper, or any other medium lately. I have always noticed a drain on my brain power during pregnancy. But this time, it is especially acute! I feel like I am living in a fog that will not lift. Reading saps me, schedules make my head spin, preparing my Relief Society lesson for the month leaves me stressed and confused. I HATE it! I have never felt so unproductive. Mainly because I forget the task I am in the middle of.

This brain drain is also beginning to have a cost associated with it, and it is adding up! I went to the Farmer's Market to see my chicken lady and bought a beautiful, whole, fee range chicken to cook up for dinner the next night. She put it in a bag for me.  I went to put the chicken out to prepare the next day, only to suddenly recall that I had put it in the bowl on my table after buying it, and there it sat, for 24 hours. Money down the drain.
This past weekend, Del and I went to the city for the night, and long agonizing story short, I ended up throwing my car keys away.
A tow and new set of keys and too many hundreds of dollars not to give me a stomach ache later, and I have yet another frustrating example of pregnancy brain.

 These are just two examples. I am having trouble recalling the others.

Shocker.

Honestly, having my kids home all day, and trying to keep up with their swim team season, Summer camps, music lessons, and doctor's appointments, is not helping me keep a clear head. I am grateful in many ways for these months leading up to the baby, with just the older kids. We have managed to have some fun along the way in spite of my pregnant body.


I have no choice but to be patient with myself, and so I am holding on to the hope that things will return to normal after I get settled with the baby.

I am 26 weeks pregnant. I am definitely in maternity clothes, and have gained weight, but just how much is between me and the scales. Ha! Let's just say that I am bigger than I have been with any pregnancy at this point, so far.
I am really hoping my body remembers to cooperate like is has in the past as far as getting fit after delivery!

We found out at about week 16 that this is a baby GIRL! We are so excited! Finding out was so much fun! We went to a 3-D ultra sound company, and it was worth the money! The time spent with your ultra sound is so personal and fun. We were able to get some really cute shots of our little girl. She has the prettiest profile! The 3-D is just amazing! To see skin and a hairline at 16 weeks is mind blowing! She had her little forearms up next to her ears, and her head tucked into her chin, so we were not able to get a good facial picture of her. But from what we did see, she is precious! I was immediately taken with  how cute her developing features were!


Here is one of the 3-D shots at 16 weeks. Tiny little thing. She keeps those arms up by her head in every ultra sound we have had! It is kind of hard to determine what is what, but this shot is looking down on her head. You can see her forehead, the bridge of her nose, and her forearms up next to her ears.


We also felt really secure in the gender determination by the technician we had. She trains other techs in gender ultra sound. That is always good to hear after being told our very boyish Wally was a girl years ago!

I am finally out of the nausea faze. I have had a couple of nights of sickness since is officially subsided, but for the most part, it is better. I am now dealing with Braxton Hicks contractions. These are nothing new to my pregnancies, as they have always started early on. I have been ordered to drink a gallon of water a day to help ease them!

That is a LOT of water! I have gotten to the point that I can handle it for the most part on the good days when the baby is not laying as heavily on my bladder. At my 20 week ultra sound at the hospital, it was confirmed that not only is this still a girl, but she is snuggled right up to my bladder, and her head is super low. Gonna be a comfy one!
The water is helpful on the good bladder days, but I have found the main benefit has been for my skin! Wow, it is amazing how that much water clears up your skin! I guess I'll keep it up as best I can just for that perk!


Unfortunately, the 20 week ultra sound also revealed that the placenta is low lying, and could possibly be growing down. This could lead to placenta previa, which would lead to bed rest and a C-section! I had another ultra sound just this past week, and the GREAT news was that my placenta is moving in the correct direction, and for now I am out of the woods! I will be monitored by ultra sound continuously to be sure it stays that way.


Our little girl was showing off all her charm during her ultra sound. She sucked her hands and thumb! She yawned and practiced her bubble blowing with her mouth! She played with her toes, pulling her feet way up by her head! It was so much fun watching her just exist in there! It still amazes me that there is a person doing all of her sweet little movements inside of me!

So I have officially recorded something on this pregnancy! Three more months!

Here are the pictures from the last ultra sound that the awesome tech gave me.

Playing with her toes.

Sucking on her hands, and grabbing her feet.

Great shot of her foot!

Profile shot. She kept stretching her neck backward.

Sucking her thumb! So sweet!

The picture of her yawing is kinda creepy when you can't see anything but black and white bones!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Georgia's Ranch Birthday Party

Well I am really racing to get caught up with events that need documenting around here! Georgia turned seven at the beginning of May. I had been promising her a party, a real, planned out, lovely party for an entire year leading up to it. She reminded me often that her last friend party was when she was three.

Then her little sister decided that she would join our family. As I have already shared multiple times, sick is just the beginning when it comes to describing my early pregnancy. I told Georgia that the party was still on. But it had to be pushed back several weeks. We made her day special, then set our sights on the end of May for the big event.
Georgia was so inspired by our Spring Break trip to the Dude Ranch, that she wanted to continue the theme. So we set up a party at "Georgia's Ranch."


Our desert table.

Birthday girl!

We had horseshoe cookies made to go along with our theme. As Georgia and I carried the two boxes full of them to the table, she dropped her box, and all the cookies broke. I hope it is not bad luck to break a horseshoe, because that would mean we have an entire box full of bad luck headed our way.

Dressed in our duds.

The invite.
We had a new cake decorating business here in town do the baked goods. It is owned by a young woman, and it is always nice to support those shops. Our poor horse topper took a tumble halfway through the party, thanks to Walker's helpful hands.


Georgia really wanted her horse Brownie to greet her guests as they arrived. We also made sure they were ready to ride with the correct gear. A pink handkerchief, and a sequin cowgirl hat.


Our table set for "chow time" on the Ranch.


Hats and handkerchiefs ended up strewn all over the yard.



We sent the girls home with their hats and handkerchiefs, and a bag of salt water taffy.

Suddenly everything happened at the same time. My friend Michelle (a real life pioneer woman, with a farm, homeschool and all, plus Relief Society President calling… props, girl) pulled up with the horse trailer...

The guy we had come out to mark utility lines to put in a new basketball hoop came to spray...

And all  our little Ranch pardners arrived for the party!

Our ride for the day was named Amigo. He was the gentlest of the gentle. Some of the girls had been very hesitant to ride, and a couple moms called me to let me know that their daughters may sit out the horse ride portion of the party.

We put the girls at different stations, and I had the reluctant girls do their craft before going over to see the horse. By the time they got there, they had watched all their friends ride. We ended up having every girl not only eager to ride, but excited to try trotting! They all did really well with the loping, and it it was awesome to see them get past their initial fear!
Georgia was our first rider. She just loves it!

Our craft table had the girls decorating and painting a horseshoe to take home as a lucky charm.

Michelle brought her little guy who is Walker's age, and the two of them found plenty to entertain themselves. Overlook our sad, sad bush that needs to be pulled out. We had several trees and shrubs that did not make it through this past bitter cold Winter. It was brutal!

Wally taking a ride while the girls ate.

The cowboy of my dreams. Del was so helpful all day, even though I know he had a million things he needed to take care of.


Our "grub." We kept it simple, and seven year old friendly, with sandwiches, chips, fruit, and yogurt. Some of Georgia's favorites.

Again, look past the dead shrub backdrop. I need to get out there with a chain saw. I'm not afraid!

Handsomest ranch hand in the county.



So excited, and relieved to have pulled off another birthday around here! It was a good time with these cowgirls at the Ranch!



Sunday, June 8, 2014

Will Turns Nine

This is a very late post about Will's birthday! It is a long over due update on this blog as well.

Will turned nine in mid April. I was just so glad that I was able to pull something together to celebrate because I was deep in the midst of pregnancy misery.


Will is a good boy. He is friendly and happy. I have told the story before about how when I was pregnant with Will I looked up the meaning of his name, and how most people polled would describe someone with that name. But I will tell it again!

The poll said that most people would describe a boy named Will as tall, blonde, friendly, outgoing, and cheerful. It suddenly struck me that I had found the right name! I could picture that boy in my head. It was my son! I could see him as a teenager in my mind, and I knew that I was reading a description of him.
Will lives up to that poll opinion.
He is a good friend, and he has lots of them. We have kids of all different ages call our house to play with Will. His group of friends includes kids two years younger than him, and two years older. Girls and boys. He has fun with everyone.

Will is our child who likes to take his time. Which can lead to some moments of frustration when we are trying to get out the door.
Will is happy playing with his brothers and sister, building something or other on Minecraft, practicing piano, so that he is DONE practicing piano, eating waffles, his favorite lately, and hanging out with his Dad.
We are so glad this super tall, gangly, handsome boy is ours! He came into this world as a tiny barely five pound baby, and made up for that fast by growing like a weed! Every time we put him in a sport to see if this is the one that clicks with him, we have parents come up to us and tell us that Will has the body for this sport! Wow that long torso, and arms! We just laugh, because with most of the sports, he could take it or leave it. But I am pretty sure one day something will ignite in him, and he will put that long body advantage to good use!



Will promised his class that he would bring Takis for his birthday treat. I had never heard of these things, but Will told me that we could find them at Walmart. I hate to disappoint the entire third grade class, so off we went to buy what turns out are really hot, really red, really gross twisted pieces of I don't know what in a bag. Ick. I will never buy them again! But the class was, apparently, thrilled.

Will is a tender heart and he feels things deeply. I love when Will tells me a story, because no matter what it is, he can't tell it without his eyes watering! It is so cute! He already has a testimony of the church he belongs to, and is eager to share it. He often comes home from a friends house, and I find out that he has been sharing a Gospel message while  he visited! He was even willing to share a spiritual thought and say a prayer at a league basketball game Del was playing in! In front of 25 grown men! He did a nice job, and his confidence in what he believes really helped him.

Happy Birthday Will! We love you!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Tanque Verde Ranch

I edited this a bit because we found some pictures of Wally on his horse, and a few others I had forgotten about, hidden in our phones.

Spring break was so much fun this year! After we had a two night visit to the Phoenix area, we headed back down to the Tucson airport to meet up with our driver from the Tanque Verde Dude Ranch.

The Ranch is in the mountains outside Tucson. We loved it. Go!

The ranch is all inclusive, and has a great kid's club program. It is very rustic, but very serene and pretty. We rented a one bedroom casita. It was off a quiet courtyard with a bunch of other rooms. It was pretty basic, but we were comfortable, and we had plenty of space, which was so good. There is only one television on the property, other than the one in the kid's dining room that they played movies on. No television in the rooms. We didn't even notice.

We were up early every morning to get our activities started for the day, and we had the kids in bed by 7:30 every night except the night of the cookout, and they were begging us to leave right after the show because they were so tired. The ranch kept them so busy with new adventures, they could not keep their eyes open!
We met so many nice families on this trip! I was amazed at how many of the guests had been to the ranch multiple times! It is a tradition every year for many of them, and the others just had such a good experience that they came back again. A LOT of the guests were from the Chicago area. I guess it is really popular with the Chicago crowd for some reason! Probably because it is warm! We were told there is a family that has booked their entire family for Christmas at the ranch every year for the past thirty years! Very cool!

There were a lot of people from big cities. We met quit a few from Manhattan, as well as Chicago.  It was interesting to chat with people at meals and get a glimpse of different lives! Really cool people! There was one group of collage age girls all visiting with their families, but once they met each other, they spent all week together. They were all enrolled in Ivy League schools, so they were like a really smart , really pretty, horse riding, posse. Ha!

Here we are at check in, before changing into our more ranch appropriate cowboy clothes. I wondered if we would really feel like we needed all the western duds going into this thing. I learned that boots for walking through corrals, long sleeves, and at hat are the only way to go! I wished I had packed more!
We went to the pretty dining room after check in and had a really tasty lunch, and we were good to go!

Right after we checked in we went straight to the small lake for some fishing.

Walker was the only one in the family to score a catch! It was so funny! He called to me that it was too hard to reel the line in. So I came to check it out, and sure enough he had snagged a Bass!



The ranch pretty much assigns a horse to each child rider for the week. It is so cute to see them feel like they know and love "their" horse! Walker's ride was named Thunder. I told Walker to look at me and smile and I would get a picture with Thunder behind him. Right then, Thunder moved his head over the fence and nudged right into Walker's side! It was so funny! It was like he understood just what was going on, and was game for a photo shoot!
All the horses on the ranch are male. They do this on purpose to try to avoid drama within the horse population, with horses forming partnerships and getting jealous! Isn't that interesting? They said there are still some really strong friendships, and even that can cause issues, because some of the horses don't like each other at all! They are so smart!

One day as we were all getting saddled up, one of the horses on an adult ride took off to the kid's horse corral out of the blue! No rider on him yet, luckily! The wrangler said that he had seen his best friend in that other corral, and took off to go hang out with him. Sure enough they stood right next to each other by the fence and knocked heads. Amazing to me, who has little horse experience! There are 180 horses on the ranch! One evening I watched them release the horses to go eat. Watching all those horses flood out of one corral into anther was almost like watching a pack of wild horses run free! It was really cool!


Walker and Thunder, and off to the right, Georgia and her horse, Golden Eye.

I went out to the kid's corral for all of Walker and Georgia's rides to walk along side and help them with the commands. Unfortunately, they always rode at different times, and in different corrals than Wally and Will. So I have very few pictures of those two!

Here is a video of Walker going out on a ride, while Del walked with him.

Georgia saddling up!


After one ride, Georgia got off her horse and ran her hand over his nose to say goodbye. Her horse stepped toward her and nudged her side. The wranglers got so excited for Georgia and told her to give him some more love. They said that does not happen all the time, but her horse loved her! It was sweet! I missed the actual moment, but this was right after it happened. It is very short.



The girls that ran the kid's program, and managed all the rides were really cute, nice girls. They kept good track of a lot of kids, and knew what they were doing around the horses. They were the right amount of cautious, and were not afraid to let the kids know when they needed to be more careful. I thought they did a nice job!

The one picture of Will. He started on a horse names Blitz, but then he switched to Blackjack during the week.

Here is a short video of Will taking his horse to the line up for a lesson.

Wally on his horse.

Wally grooming his horse.




Del went on a long mountain bike ride. He had a lot of fun. I avoided those activities this time around.


Del also went on a four hour ride way up into the mountains one morning. I caught a picture of him giving his horse a pat before getting off. (And walking funny for a minute, unavoidable for us city slickers!) The ranch offers all kinds of horseback activities. I only did walking rides. It was nice and relaxing, and I loved it. If you pass a loping test with a wrangler, you can sign up for loping rides, which I heard are a lot of fun! I need to go back when I am not expecting!
Del also had fun in the penning game they had. I could hear them getting started as I headed out on a ride. Lots of "Hah!!" being yelled out in an effort to get the cows to move!

A little down time on the wide, shady porches.


Our kids wanted to follow the same routine every day. Kids club with lots of games and riding until 3, then hit the pool, shower, eat dinner, maybe the kid night games, and straight to bed! Nothing thrilled them more than knowing that is what the day held!

Georgia discovered cheesecake in the dining room one night, and I don't' know how many pieces she ate. It was plenty.



Wally and me, outside our casita.

One night of our stay was the cookout in a pretty grove of trees. The guests got decked out in their finest cowboy duds! The food was super yummy! Every meal, every day, all week! I still think about the turkey they served! It was so good! The food was pretty simple. Not a fancy pants dish kind of place. That is just right for me, because it is hard to keep my nut allergy needs in check when we start getting fancy. They were really good about checking on ingredients for me, and the chef came out multiple times to walk me through what dishes were safe.


We snagged a table before they had thrown a table cloth on it.

After dinner they had a guy come preform gun slinging and rope jumping tricks. He was pretty darn amazing. He had a little rope for his daughter that he said the kids could try out. Georgia was very anxious for her turn. When we got home, Walker said he was going to show us how to dance one night. He put his fingers up in the shape of guns and started hustling his feet around. He told us he learned to dance from the guy at the ranch! So funny!



One morning we went up the mountain to the original homestead of the ranch founders for a sunrise breakfast. The boys rode with Del, and I walked up with Georgia and Walker.

Here are the boys and Del ready to ride.
Pretty view of the mountainside full of Saguaro cactus. They are amazing.
Inside the old homestead.



The front lawn. They were setting up for a wedding in which the bride would ride in on horseback.

We had one night in Tucson before flying out early the next day. We checked out old Tucson, the neighborhood around the spot Prosidio Fort used to stand, and the art fair they were holding. It was so cute, and made me daydream about placing the characters from the book "These Is My Words," in the area. That is where it was set, and I loved seeing what it may have been based on.



A very strange twist of fate had us flying through Salt Lake for a lay over on our way home from Tucson. The strange part came when we got to the gate, and while stuffing food into our kids before boarding for Chicago, we were told that our entire family had been bumped from the flight! We could either fly to Detroit and hope for a flight the next day. Sans clean underwear because our bags had gone on home, or we could stay in Salt Lake. Not just for one night, but TWO! We obviously opted to stay with family, and get two trips out of one! We were reimbursed for our flights, booked for first class for the whole family for two nights later, and off to see our families!
Here is Georgia eating her meal in first class. This flight passed so quickly, and our kids were extra well behaved. I was so relieved about that. I'm sure it was due in large part to the fact that they had a big plate of food in front of them to keep them quiet!


It was crazy! And apparently pretty unbelievable, because everyone acted like we were making the whole thing up! I made a stop to get some of the basics, after they gave us a toiletry kit, and we enjoyed visiting our parents and siblings.
I was still a bit taken aback with our new baby news at this point. We had decided to wait to tell anyone for a long time.
When we knew we were seeing our families, Del said he wanted to tell them while we were in Salt Lake. In person! It ended up being so much fun to surprise everyone with our announcement! No one saw that one coming! They were as certain we were done having kids as we were! He, he! What do you know! Turns out life is full of surprises!
We had a great trip! It was hard to come home and do my own cooking, and entertainment for my kids! What amazing memories for our family! We had a feeling going in that would be the case, and Tanque Verde did not disappoint!