Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Our Christmas Letter 2013

As another year comes to a close, and as we hit a level of crazy last year which resulted in no Christmas cards being sent out from our family, we have several updates to share. 

Kevin was selected to attend Air Command and Staff College last year, for a Masters in Military Operational Art and Science.  This gave us the opportunity to live in Alabama for 10 months.  What an amazing experience – we found that the south suits our family quite well.  Kevin was also notified that he will be promoted to Lieutenant Colonel this spring, which we’re all excited about.  He is now the Director of Operations for a space test branch and enjoys trying to fly satellites the size of shoeboxes!  

Amy continues to run our “command center” and still manages to throw a few piano lessons in on the side.  She, in particular, loved our time in Alabama – especially the breath-taking flowers (ever seen Confederate Jasmine?), rows upon rows of pecan trees, and sandy-white beaches that squeak!  She sincerely hopes the Air Force sends us back there … mostly so that we’re closer to Disney World!

Breanna had an amazing musical experience in Alabama, making All-State for trumpet as well competing on piano.  Here in New Mexico, she made it into the Albuquerque Youth Symphony on trumpet, had an fantastic marching band season, and just found out that she made All-State for NM, as a freshman!  She is thriving in high school and in her honors courses.  She is already scoping out collegiate marching bands and we are excited for this adventure with her.

Ryan entered middle school this year and decided to pick up the French horn as his second instrument.  We love to have two brass players in the house and enjoy the “out of the box” projects his honors classes demand of him.  He received his First Class scout rank earlier this year and has become part fish due to the time he spends in the pool with the Chargers swim team.

Courtney is in fifth grade and is lovingly called “our rock.”  She has excelled in learning to play the cello and piano and will perform at the drop of a hat.  She recently was accepted in to the gifted program in our school district and thrives when presented with a challenge.  She also spends quite a bit of her time in the water as she continues to swim for the Chargers swim team.     

Derek is in first grade and loves learning to play the piano and has become quite the little reader.  He dotes on his little brother and cruises up and down our street on the new found freedom of a “two wheeler.”  He can’t wait to join the swim team and asks every day if we can go back to the beach. 

Audrey is three and, well, she is just adorable!  We love everything about her from her curly hair, to her “princess” attributes.  The camera finds her almost every day and she loves it.

Ethan joined our family on December 7, 2012.  Everything about this little man has been on his time schedule… “It’s time to be born?  Okay… how about in 50 minutes?!?”, “Baby food?  No thank you… I will take only table food”, “Teeth? How about six all at once?”, “Sleep?  No time for sleep.  Thank you.”  We love this boy and it is a good thing that he is adorable.  

We hope this letter finds you and your family well and enjoying the season.  We are so thankful for the opportunities that have been presented to our family that we have grown from and continue to thrive knowing that our Savior loves each of us.  Merry Christmas.  We love each of you!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Everything happens so quickly

We fell in love with Alabama. Kevin graduated with another Master's Degree. We moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Ethan is nine months old... tomorrow! As I look back on the last six months, I am seriously amazed that we are all still together in one piece. Things can change so drastically from one day to the next and yet we all somehow manage through the day, sleep and are ready for more in the morning. I think we have finally "settled" although we still have a few lingering boxes upstairs waiting for a random bookshelf. I believe the most difficult part of moving is feeling as though the children have found their niche. As I picked up Breanna from swimming and I watched as she was laughing with her teammates, it did my heart so much good. She got in the truck and said, "I think I am going to like it here." Huge sigh of relief. As I picked up Ryan from Cross Country practice and he lingered while talking with his new found friends, another moment of happiness happened. I watched Courtney in the pool with her lane buddies and as they floated and laughed I had another moment of silent victory. Watching Derek "high five" his soccer buddies and hearing his contagious laugh brought a smile only a mother can understand. Yes. Finally. It has taken two months, but I think we have arrived.

Monday, March 4, 2013

There are benefits to living out in the "sticks"

We took our house in Prattville "sight unseen."  Pros and cons to that method of house hunting and we will probably do it again at some point as all of these houses are only our "make do" houses.  We haven't found our "place" yet; however, we are anxious to find it soon.  Anywho...

A huge "pro" to living outside of the city is that whenever I need something I either make it myself, change the menu or do without. It is a "pro" because I have to be creative and self reliant. Today's need? Hot dog buns.  When you go to Costco and purchase the club pack of Nathan's hot dogs they are definitely on the immediate menu; however, who has ever been to a Costco which does not carry hot dog buns?  I searched high and low.  Not one to be found, so we left without them.  Swimming for all three kids (at different times of course) is tonight, I have a piano student and Kevin is teaching at UAM, so it is absolutely crazy starting at 3:13 PM.  Dinner has to be easy.  Kids like hot dogs. I love Nathan's hot dogs.  Problem solved except.... no hot dog buns.  Solution?  Make them.  Seriously, how hard can it be?  We will find out in approximately 8 minutes when these puppies come out of the oven.  If I am successful, I might even try out my hand at New York Style Buns. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The pink stuff is the best!

Johnson and Johnson original baby care lotion.  The pink stuff.  The baby smell.  My favorite.

With each of our children it seems to be a guessing game as to which lotion and soap their skin will have the best reaction.  (Just had to rephrase that sentence to not end with a prepositional phrase!)
With each one, the pink stuff works the best.  It can't be Baby Magic... it has to be Johnson's.  With Audrey we tried the purple "sleepytime" bottled lotion and had to quickly get her back in the bath to wash it off as she was screaming in pain from whatever didn't work with her gentle skin. 

With Ethan, we tried the yellow bottle with shea butter in it.  His skin broke out in the "baby acne" and, well, that is just not acceptable.  Babies are supposed to have the most beautiful skin.  So, we went back to the good ole' standby, trusted and true pink lotion.  No reactions, beautiful skin and a heavenly smelling baby.  Can I hope that Johnson and Johnson reads this blog and Ethan can be a model? Sure I can.  :)

Monday, January 7, 2013

39 weeks and 6 days

Ethan is one month old today. Yes, the time has flown by. No, I still haven't forgotten the pain of labor and delivery. Yes, he has stolen our hearts. No, He isn't sleeping through the night... yet. He is pretty darn close, though. Yes, I feel that having a newborn and five other children is kicking my booty most days. No, I haven't slacked on my laundry duties.

This post is mainly for myself to remember the little man's birthday since my journal rarely makes it off the nightstand now a days. If you would like to join for those incredible 53 minutes, feel free. :) I have never carried a baby in my womb past 38 weeks. Never. We thought for sure this little guy would show up somewhere around Thanksgiving. Yeah... nope. We had everything set with who was going to watch the kids, rides to swimming and other activites. We were all set to rock n roll over the Thanksgiving break. It came and went. The next week came and went. I was dialating, effacing and the baby was moving down, but no action. We talked induction at 39 weeks simply due to my selfish reasons and then I decided I had moral issues over choosing my son's birthday, so inductin was not discussed again. We just waited. Kevin and I thought it would be stellar to have Ethan in December simply for the reason that we would then have two birthdays in January, two in September, two in October and two in December. We are a bit obsessed about "evenness."

Kevin's mother arrived on December 6th at 4:00 PM. I went into labor on December 7 at 1:57 AM. I really think something subliminal happened and let my body finally relax enough to go into labor knowing that the other children were now taken care of in their own home. No "farming out" children, everyone sleeping in their own beds and someone to drive them wherever they needed to be.

  I rested through a few contractions in bed and then decided that we were definitely in business. Got up and started a shower (which I never made it into) and started getting a few odds and ends together. I knew the birth plan that I wanted which included waiting long enough at home so that I didn't have to have a stupid IV put into my arm and jump through all of the hospitals "hoops" while having a baby. I wanted him to come naturally without any help from medication or having to follow anyones rules but mine. After using the bathroom, I immediately felt my body change into transition phase. It was seriously like a light switch flipped. Crazy experience and one I will never forget. At that moment I had to trust my body to do what it was meant to do and hope that we made it to the hospital in time. Going through the next couple of contractions, Kevin's mom asked if we wanted to just stay home and have have the baby there because she could tell he was coming... FAST.

We decided to leave and try and make it to Montgomery in case there was any hemmoraging since this was our sixth baby. We just felt like staying home was taking a gamble we didn't want to risk.

  We threw everything in the car and headed out of Prattville to I-65. Kevin will never confirm nor deny reaching speeds of epic timliness on our trip down the interstate and I will always curse concrete bridges since we had to cross three of them to get to Montgomery and the repeated breaks in the bridges certainly didn't hinder my labor from progressing.

At the I-65, I-85 junction, five miles from the hospital, I told Kevin I needed to push and he pushed the accelerator farther down. We have always joked that if I gave birth in a vehicle, we would replace that vehicle with a new model. Let's just say we started discussing new Subarus.

Kevin had called labor and delivery on our way down to let them know we would be flying through. They had a wheelchair ready and the security guard, after trying to first direct us to registration, cleared our path and said, "She says the baby is coming out!" The nurse could not push the wheelchair fast enough as I held the baby through three more contractions. Getting to the L&D floor, I hopped up on the bed and said, "Okay, I am going to push on the next contraction." The nurses looked at me like I was crazy, and tried to get the belly montior and IV started while trying to change me into that ridiculous hospital gown. "You can't push" is all they could say, so in my mind, I said, "Oh yeah? Watch this!" Me, the hospital bed and one push and I had my baby boy. The nurse turns to me and says, holding the belly monitor, "Well, I guess we don't need this any longer" and I just look at her while I am handed Ethan. The doctor walked in ten minutes later with uncombed hair and relayed the fact that I hadn't given him much time to get there. I just smiled. They really should have trusted a woman who was giving birth to her sixth child.

  I had the birth I wanted, Kevin never got his new car but had a heck of a fun time getting us down to the hospital, and Ethan has now completed our family.