Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Month of May

Having our ultrasound at the beginning of May and finding out about Andros baby girl #4, our May was bright and sunny to follow.  Just knowing the gender of this baby really brought her to life for all of us, especially the kids.

May really did have lots of bright sunny days.  With some new summer clothes and new sun glasses in "their" colors, the little girls were ready to beat the heat.

We spent many days at the park to enjoy every last drop of sunshine.

Chloe wrapped up her softball season at the end of May.  She was supposed to have her final game the first Saturday in June, but it was canceled due to her team not having enough players.  Her whole season was a fight to get enough girls there to play a decent game.  It was really frustrating.  And although I've heard great things about this league, I was not impressed with their organization skills.  Both with Chloe and Mitch's teams, we would get a half hour's notice that the location of a game or practice had been changed.  And every month, practice location, day and time could be changed.  Again, it was always at a minute's notice. 

I was also not super impressed with Chloe's coach.  I should first say that I very much appreciated the time and effort that it takes to be a coach and that I know her coach, who appeared to be a single, working mom, sacrificed much to be a coach and not very many people sign up to be coach's.  But in every game we played, we were out-coached each and every time.  Her coach taught the team the very basic of skills and never built on anything- it was the same small things taught.  Being a softball/baseball lover and former player, this drove me crazy.  The girls didn't even know that they could run past first base!  Maybe that isn't a rule you teach on the first day, but surely 8 year olds should know that by the second or third practice. 

The practices were basically just playing catch and a very casual batting practice.  They were never really taught proper batting form or anything.

Ben took it upon himself to be her personal coach.  He would take her to parks and in our own yard and show her proper form on everything.  Despite a lack of good coaching, Chloe made great improvements by the end of the season.  She was hitting the ball almost every at bat and was much more alert and knowledgeable playing defense in the field.

With her last game being canceled an hour before game time, her season ended very abruptly.  No final game, no end of the year party, nothing.  It was a big let down.  But I think she had fun and did learn something.  We're hoping for better coaching next year.

Look at that great batting stance!

The beginning of May brought illness to our house.  Chloe complained of a sore throat one evening, and by the next day was running a very high fever.  By the time we got to the doctor's office, her temperature was 105.  I felt like the worst mother ever.  She was even more miserable than this picture depicts.  

A quick throat swab and lab test told us she had strep throat.  She was feeling 90 times better the next morning after just 2 doses of antibiotics.

The next day, Leah woke up with some weird spots all over her face.  She was acting totally fine, but had been running a low fever a few days before Chloe got sick.  To err on the side of caution, I took her into the doctor as well. And by the time we got to the doctor, Lexi was running a fever and acting really lethargic.  Leah's positive strep test was all they needed to decide to treat both twins.  The spots on her face were impetigo, a rash form of strep.  So she had strep first, but her body fought off the symptoms and was feeling fine, even though she hadn't recovered.

It was a hot day and 2 trips to the doctor's office in 2 days was wearing on all of us.  I told the kids we would get ice cream on the way home.  3 sick little girls tried their best to look happy!

Within minutes, the twins were out!

My kids respond to antibiotics really well and were feeling great within just a day.

That weekend, desperately wanting to enjoy the nice weather, we took the kids fishing at a great little pond about a mile away from our house.

Ben's dream is coming true- all his kids love to fish!

While they all love the fish, lately they have all become wimps at touching the fish after they catch them.  This day, everyone was being particularly squeamish and whiney about touching the fish.  Lexi decided to get brave and not only touched the fish, but held it.  She was so proud of herself.  She kept asking me all day, "Mommy, was I a good holder fishy?" (Translation: "Was I a good fish holder?")

Mitch finally held one too, but was not super brave about it.

May 17th and 18th was our stake's Father Son campout.  Mitch has been looking forward to this for weeks (Ben too, really).  He very excitedly and happily helped Ben pack for the overnighter that Friday evening.

They got to ride on a boat on the lake with some ward friends (check out all that dirt on his face!)

And Mitch's favorite part of camping- being near the fire!

The boys had such a great time, while we girls stayed home and had a cookie and movie night.  Ben is determined that if we are only going to have one son, that he will give him every exposure to man time with his dad doing manly things as often as he can.  Go MEN!

Memorial Day weekend we had Ben's sister Meredith and her family come up for a visit.

On Saturday, we went to Northwest Trek to enjoy our first uses of our new dual season pass to that park and to Point Defiance Zoo.  The kids were very, very excited!  It was cool and over cast, but did not rain the entire time we were there.

The kids' favorite habitat was the coyotes.  The kids started howling and it got the 3 coyotes to start howling like crazy.  The adults were laughing so hard.  It was hilarious.  Awhile after leaving the coyote den, we heard them howling again, so it must have worked for someone else too.  We went back and visited the coyotes 2 more times before leaving for the day.

The unique part about Northwest Trek is getting to ride their tram tour through 435 acres of free-range wildlife and seeing all the animals out roaming around.

My niece Victoria was the sweetest thing on that tram.  Isn't she a doll?

Chloe, Leah and William

Ben, John and Mitch

Henry, Dave, Lex and me

We found a bald eagle habitat.  Mitch is obsessed with bald eagles and I made him pose for a picture with them.

With 7 little walkers, a baby and a pregnant woman, we needed a few breaks!

When baby Victoria wasn't riding in her stroller, the two sets of twins would take turns riding in it.  They got creative and made it a double stroller when more than one kid wanted a ride.

At home that weekend, the kids had a blast having dance parties to music and music videos.

Chloe loves babies and was quite smitten with Victoria.  Loving on her all weekend sure got us even more anxious for our own baby girl to snuggle on soon.

The next week, the twins took up wrestling with each other.  It was one of the funniest things I've ever seen.

They are quite the wrestling duo.

Mitchell received notice the middle of May that he was one of the top Reading At Home winners for the month of April.  (His name is half way down on the right column). 

For that achievement, he was awarded free lunch with the principal at the end of May.  Here is Mitch with all the other winners and with his principal, Mr. Anderson.  They got a free Subway kids meal.

The girls got to eat right next to Mitch.

Families were invited and even Ben was able to make it.  It was fun to celebrate with Mitch.  We really did work hard on his reading in April.

A quick shot with the winners.

He had to quickly finish his cookie before it was time to go to recess.  Way to go Mitch!

Later that evening after Chloe's softball game, Ben took Mitch out on a Man Date.  (Mitch loves calling it that).

They went to Walmart and had fun.  Mitch has been wanting a watch for quite awhile and we told him that when he can tell time (digitally), we'd buy him one. 

After finding the perfect watch, they ended their Man Date with ice cream at McDonald's.  I call that a perfect date too- shopping and ice cream!

That wrapped up the Month of May at our house.  June has been even busier, but lots of fun.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

IT'S A.....

Ever since we told the kids back on Valentine's Day that we were having another baby, the kids have been desperate to find out if it is a boy or a girl.  Especially Mitchell.  Especially Mitchell.  Oh wait- did I say that twice?  I'll say it again- especially Mitchell.  The 3 girls have varied in their guesses of what they thought it was going to be- one day they'd all say girl, the next day one or two of them would jump ship and say boy.  But our Mitch Man never wavered in his conviction that he thought it was going to be a boy.  Really- the only possible thing in his mind that it could be was a boy.

He started making big plans for his new baby brother- they would share a room, he'd get him out of his crib every morning, and he even went as far as to think that he got to name is brother all on his own.
 (Joey and Josh were his two picks).

As the day of my ultrasound drew nearer, talk of what gender baby would became a multiple times a day conversation.  Ben and I decided it was a good time to discuss how baby gender's are chosen.  We told the kids that while it was fun to discuss and guess the gender of the baby, ultimately the decision had already been made.  Heavenly Father had chosen the gender of the baby already and that even if it wasn't what we thought (or were really hoping for), the gender was meant to be and that baby- boy or girl- was supposed to be a boy or girl and was meant to be in our family.

Mitch, as I said, was absolutely positive it was a boy.  Our sweet little man was definitely the one most interested in finding out and talked about our baby all the time.  Every single prayer he said always included, "We're thankful we can find out if the baby is a boy or a girl."  But we already knew he didn't think there was any chance that it could be a girl.  It just couldn't be.  Every boy needs a brother, right?

People asked me if I had any motherly intuition as to what the gender would be.  With Chloe, I knew without a doubt that she was a girl.  I also knew that Mitch would be a boy.  Being 2-2 in the gender guessing department, I was certain I knew the gender of both the twins.  I just knew we had a boy and a girl in there.  I was shocked to find out they were both girls.  From that experience, I had very little faith in myself to know anything for certain about this 5th baby.  Knowing that I so desperately wanted to give Mitch a brother, it was hard to imagine it not being a boy.  And my strong desires were over ruling any "motherly intuition" I might have had.  But practicing what we were preaching, I knew we had to expect that it certainly could be a girl.

The big day came- May 30th.  As I dropped Mitch off at school that morning, he kept asking me when my appointment was and when he would get to find out what the baby was.  He was so, so anxious.  I was too- I had had a dream the night before that it was a girl, so I really had no idea what to expect.

Ben met me at my appointment.  I was very nervous, for a number of reasons.  Finding a healthy baby was such a blessing. 

As soon as the ultrasound tech got to the gender portion of the ultrasound, I kind of held my breath.  She pointed out the "area" and I'm not the best at deciphering things on a sonogram.  If someone tells me what I'm looking at, I feel much more confident.  When she pointed out "the area" to us, I had a guess as to what it looked like, but was not confident in my guess at all.

Knowing our 3-1 ratio of girls to boy, the tech gently told us, "It's... a girl!"

I was shocked, but not really.  It kind of took my breath away, only because I knew how crushed Mitchell would be.  After the ultrasound, Ben and I were discussing the news and the word "disappointed" is a very harsh word.  We were only sad for Mitch's sake that he wasn't going to get a brother.  I knew it would take a day or two to wrap my head around that, but I knew after that I would be fine.  How can you be disappointed with a girl?  My 3 girls have been so fun and I knew a 4th would be even better. 

I knew it would kill the kids, especially Mitch, to have to wait until Ben got home from work to find out the news, but Ben really wanted to be there.  On the way home from the appointment, I stopped at the store and picked up some pink frosted sugar cookies to make the announcement.

When I picked up Mitchell from school, he didn't even say hi- he immediately asked, "So...what is it??"  He was so bummed when I told he we had to wait until Dad got home.

After what felt like an eternity, Ben got home from work.  I wrapped the sugar cookies in a grocery bag and told the kids to close their eyes.  I explained that if the sugar cookies had pink frosting it was a girl and blue frosting meant a boy.

Chloe was the first one to squeal.  Mitch knew right away what pink meant, but was quite stunned.  He kept asking, "Is it really a girl?"  When we told him yes, it was really a girl, he fell backwards on to the carpet and kind of groaned.  I thought for sure if he cried, I would cry.  But he handled it very, very well.  When Ben asked him if he could handle another sister, he gave us the thumbs down sign.

Luckily, the thought of getting to eat the sugar cookies cheered him up.


We had to rush off to Chloe's softball game after that.  Lexi showed us her trick of doing the splits (quite well), and Leah tried to mimic (not so well).

After the game, we stopped by Dairy Queen to celebrate baby girl's big reveal day.  

As the picture shows, Mitch was doing fine.  He has handled the news great and is totally fine now, 7 weeks later.  He is still so very excited about this baby and still prays at every single prayer, "We're thankful we can have a baby."  Leah's newest phrase in the past few weeks is "I'm going to keep the baby forever," Or "I'm going to kiss the baby forever" and then she leans over and kisses my expanding belly.

This has been a very hard pregnancy, but has also been one of the sweetest.  To have four kids who all understand what's going on and to be so, so excited has been one of the sweetest blessings to me.  Not a day goes by that one of the kids doesn't bring up the baby in some way.  They love to touch my tummy and especially love when they can feel her kick and move.  I will often hear one of the kids telling another sibling, "The baby makes mom tired" as I'm resting on the couch.  Or they'll ask me, "Is the baby getting heavy?"  I have probably been asked 1.5 million times "When is the baby going to be here?"  September really can't come fast enough.  But until then, I will enjoy the daily reminders of the joy and excitement that this sweet girl will bring- it sure does make the discomfort and pains of pregnancy much more bearable.  And boy are we sure glad it's a girl!