Monday, December 29, 2014

We survived!!!

Quick notes-
 Joe and I celebrated 8 years of marriage and 10 years of togetherness this fall. I can't believe that it's been that long.
 I turned 34 by spending the evening in the federal women's prison. It was a wonderful experience. The bell choir from my ward performed and Christmas program and the spirit was wonderful. I even played well. :) Joe took a photo of my cake before the kids went to bed.
 Molly turned 5. Again, where have the years gone? She is such a funny girl. She likes to make her eyes go crazy, and I have finally found a way to break her when she's upset. Tell her not to smile, not to laugh, and she can't help but smile and giggle.
 Zachary turns 5 months in just a few days. Oh my. I can't believe it. He's such a wonderful addition to our family. He sleeps on a schedule that is so his own. I can almost set my watch to it, especially the 11 pm wake up. Though I am excited for that to end so that I can get enough sleep at night. He giggles so cute. He loves for me to hold him. And he's gained weight and is up to the 15 percentile. Woo hoo.
  The bell choir performance in the Christmas church program went well. We had one major mistake in not explaining to the congregation that that was an interlude in one song that they sang with us so they went right into the third verse of Silent Night and we all dropped out one by one as we realized that we weren't in the right spot. I made a lovely mistake to open The First Noel, one that I hadn't made before so I didn't even realize that the mistake was me and made it twice. Oops, really obvious because they were solo notes, oh well. At least we got the endings right. :) Quite an enjoyable experience overall.
 My in-laws brought us a Christmas tree back form the mountains before Thanksgiving so we've had it around for a while. So the day after Christmas it was undecorated, de-lighted, and chopped up by noon. I love all the Christmas decor but after a while it's nice to de-stuff the house.
  We really tried to concentrate on Christ this year for the Christmas season. We read scriptures and hung ornaments each morning having to do with the life of Christ. We left off from the tree most of our disney and secular ornaments from the tree and around the house. It's so amazing how quickly kids pick up on the santa and all the jazz so that aspect needs little encouragement from us. I think it was a wonderful 25 days of Christ. The girls got so excited to hold the picture or pull out the ornament, to read the scriptural account of the life of Jesus. I can't wait to do this every year. The learned so much. Next year I would like to make a felt nativity scene to go along with the three toy sets we have. I saw one on pinterest that looks so cute.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

bells and whistles... well maybe just bells

This last Sunday a lady in our ward asked me if I might be interested in being in the Christmas bell choir this year. Background, last year was the first year that I even LIKED the bell choir at Christmas, before that, it seemed to be the whole of the Christmas program and I just detested that. But last year I felt the Spirit as soon as the music started, it was the perfect balance of Christmas and bells and Christ. So I jumped at the chance to participate this year.
 Tonight was my first practice, the rest of the group has been practicing a few weeks already. I was a little nervous as I have never played handbells before, but I know music so... It was a BLAST!! Just what I need right now. Here Joe, here's the bay, here's a bottle, the other kids are in bed. I get to be me. I participated in band and orchestra every year but one from fourth grade until my senior year. I love music, I love playing music. I really feel like Heavenly Father gave me this as a chance to be December again, not just mom and wife, but also a person in my own right. I can't wait till next week's practice.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Packing on the ounces

When I get the full script I will ask how babies' birth weights and lengths are determined. As well as how mothers' milk supplies are, as well as breast milk fat content. For me, those few questions have been extensively thought about with every baby. 
  Size is somewhat determined by mother's health but some part isn't. My babes are average, 6 pounds 6 ounces to 7 pounds 15 ounces. I am not huge, but neither am a small, but my babies are average. I had a friend whose last babe was 10 pounds 15 ounces. The mom is super healthy, and smaller than me. Just interesting. Plus all my kids had small heads, which get proportionate as they grow, but start small. Thank heavens.
 Milk supply is once again a challenge, more so than ever before. I don't know what I did or didn't do, if anything, that made this go around so much less adequate in this department. Little Zach started off 7#12oz. Perfect. But by 2 weeks was only 7#10oz and at 1 month was 7#12oz and at 2 months (and this was after a month of nursing EVERY 2 hours during the day) he was only 8#12oz. Each of the other kids also dropped to the bottom 5-10 percentiles at some point, but it was usually at 4 or 6 months, not 1 month, and Zach was down to the 0.3 percentile at 2 months. Talk about stress and feelings of failure and inadequacy and all those other negative emotions. I have done almost everything that sounds reasonable and somewhat proven to help, More Milk special blend tincture (the most awful thing ever, especially since it's not the alcohol free one, so it burns!), non-alcoholic beer (for the hops, also quite gross, why does anyone drink that stuff??), oatmeal, tons of pumping, wearing Zach when possible, having him in our room at night... It's helped but man o man. To be one of the women who don't have to worry about making enough milk to satisfy your baby. Most of the time we nurse, give a supplemental bottle (with extra formula powder for extra calories to catch up some of the missing ounces), and than I pump. At one point Zach wouldn't nurse at all, oh that was pleasant, incessant screaming when I tried to nurse him. So that is greatly improved, he'll nurse half the time I try to feed him, but he still screams at other times and refuses to nurse. If only he realized it would take less time now to nurse than make a bottle and in the long run he'd get the milk he wanted if he would nurse now. Good luck reasoning with a 12 week old, right? But I have to remind myself that it could be worse, he could not want to nurse at all, he could refuse to take a bottle at all, he could refuse to drink formula at all, any of which would impede our packing on the weight attempt. We have gotten him to 10 pounds 2 ounces as of Monday. We are hoping for a steady 1 ounce a day gain, which seems supper easy compared to the 2-2.5 ounces he's been putting on daily with all our interventions. At 1 oz/day he'll be well above Sean and Julia at 4 months. So he'd be going up the scale instead of down, and could end up the biggest one yet.
 And fat content, what is up with that. As a pumper I see my milk fat layer on top, it's pathetic. I make skim milk. How do others make cream?? What determines that the 10#15oz baby gets cream and the 7#12oz baby gets skim?? Is there anything to be done to inject fat into the milk?? Is it even possible??
  Part of me says this isn't my fault. I didn't try to starve my baby. But part of me recounts all the things that might have contributed... that darn pacifier, not wearing Zach all the time like I thought I would this time round, not pumping long enough initially, the birth control pills (I can do a bottle right now, but not another pregnancy, don't judge), my tired and depleted body, stress, four other kids at home... the list could go on.
  This has been rough and will continue to be work until he's eating food food, that's when all my kids started picking up weight. Renting a good pump, weekly support meetings, nasty tasting medicine, they will continue longer. Is it worth it? I hope so. I hope it's not so overwhelming that that's all I remember when I think about these months. You do what you can but man, sometimes it's a little too much, almost.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Monday, August 4, 2014

0 to baby in 2

  I was so sure we were having a little girl. But again, I was wrong, we had a little boy. He still doesn't have a name yet but he's perfect otherwise. He sometimes gets called Sean and other times Buddy. We have one more night to figure out the name thing before we have to go through the whole ordeal of changing a blank birth certificate and doing the Social Security stuff ourselves so we really want to get it chosen; picking names is so hard for us, always has been. That's one reason a girl would have been easier, her name was set. But that wasn't the plan, I just didn't know it. I am thrilled for this little boy in our family. I knew that the Lord would send the right spirit into our family and I still know that and am so grateful for that assurance. I am also grateful that Sean will have a brother and Joe will have two little boys to do all those scouting things with. Three boys two girls, it's just the way it should be.
  So here is the story.
  Last Wednesday I had contractions all day but they were not too bad and far apart. I was bummed as I had hoped a little girl would be born that day. Thursday I woke with much stronger contractions closer together. I was thrilled. I was so ready to be done being pregnant. I wasn't 100% if it was really labor or not and I had an appointment at 1115 with my OB so I kept going back and forth whether to just wait for the appointment or go to the hospital. But the thought of not getting to the hospital in time for wonderful pain management won out and so we went at 9. Of course once we got there the contractions slowed down. But they took us up and hooked me up to the monitor. And then when the nurse checked to see where I was, she announced 0, well maybe 1/2. Seriously. I was so frustrated and a little embarrassed quite frankly. How could all those contractions do NOTHING!!! I was at this same point at my appointment the week before. She kept me hooked up to the monitor and over the course of an hour or so the contractions slowed and lessened even more. But the nurse noticed the baby's heart rate decelerated during a couple contractions so she left me hooked up and called my OB. My OB knows my crazy labor history and so wanted me to stay longer and also do a contraction stress test. A CST is where pitocin is administered just to produce three contractions in ten minutes so that the baby' reaction to the contractions can be better observed. The intent was NOT to induce labor. So onto an IV I went, which is always a struggle against rolly polly veins, and it was again. I have some nice bruising to show for it but at last I was on and the pit was going, only one unit mind you. Then it was a timing game. The baby monitor slipped out of place right away and didn't pick up the first few contractions unfortunately because I would have been done in maybe 15 minutes, but after those first 15 minutes I was at a rate of three in eleven minutes, AGGHHH. Then, as it always goes, it changed on a dime.
  So the CST started just about noon I think. The timing is still a bit fuzzy. And I was at 1/2 maybe. Well after an hour of the CST I finally got the three in ten, well it ended up being five or six in ten minutes at the end. So the pit was stopped. (The baby's heart rate would drop during many of the contractions.) The nurse checked to see if any progress was made towards labor, though that was NOT the goal. Well surprise surprise, not really when you factor in the pain of those later contractions, I was at 5+. Really. I thought Thank goodness. But that wasn't good because there was no standing order for an epidural and the nurse had to go call my doctor and then get the order then get the anesthisiologist, get the paper work signed and all that and I was almost at 6 which is not good for me. By this time I knew that the baby was coming, I have done labor sans epidural before and I was feeling all that pain again. I was hurting something fierce. I could barely stand the contractions. I know everyone feels them differently, I feel like my pelvis is being ripped apart and my hip joints stabbed with firey skewers. I could barely sit as I was prepped for the epidural. I could barely breathe and was getting a little tense with everyone and when the nurse pushed the baby monitor against me I wanted to scream at her because of the pain. After getting "numbed up" for the epidural and having to wait for a horrible contraction to pass I could feel it was too late for the epidural even though they continued to try and go through with it. But whether she didn't give me enough or if she didn't even try, I don't know, all I know was that there was no relief and I couldn't then relax enough to lie back on the bed.
   From trying to do the epidural till birth of baby was 15 minutes. It was awful. Way worse then with Molly. This baby was bigger and the pressure was worse and it was awful. I just was so not prepared for THIS labor and delivery. Thankfully there was a need for speed and I could hear that in the doctor's voice when she said "You have to get this baby out, push". And three pushes, which was actually a lot for me, and HE was out. That was quite a surprise.
  Fast forward to today, Monday. Baby boy finally has a name, Zachary Caleb. It took until today to pick it. We had a hard time picking it out. Even Sean can say Zach which is super cute. And speaking of Sean, he has been soooooo good. No problems no jealousy no issues whatsoever. I was so worried but everything has been good so far. The girls love the baby and Cassidy can't get enough touching him. Molly will come around but isn't obsessed (thankfully) and Julia is cute with him.
  We are now a family of 7!!! That is NUTS.  

Friday, July 11, 2014

No deja vu

   For those who aren't familiar with Molly's birth story, here's the reader's digest version. Three and a half weeks before her due date we went up to the mountains for Christmas, with the plan to come home the day after Christmas. I hadn't progressed at all before we left Monday, but she decided to come on Thursday, which was Christmas Eve. I was at the "hospital" for 10 minutes before she made her debut. It was a great Christmas vacation, and if you are going to be born Christmas Eve you better have a good story to go with it.
  We decided to go back up to the mountains again for the July 4th weekend, despite my being 34-35 weeks along. My in-laws have a place in a little town that puts on a killer fireworks display and it's a tradition, usually, to go up there. So we woke up at 445am July 4th to make the 4 hour drive and not hit major traffic. With kids we average 4 1/2 to 5 hours to make the trip, but going so early we got up in less than 4 hours. Woohoo. We didn't have to stop, there was no crying, barely any talking at all actually (that would be because the two older girls went up with the grandparents a few days earlier), and such a great trip. Those with kids can appreciate the miraculous road trip that will forever be the platinum standard (though probably never to be repeated).
  I was nervous about the altitude and the feeling of being winded all the time like I was while pregnant with Molly. But oh what a blessing not to feel any of that, at all. I didn't push myself much but still it was so nice to have oxygen. My dad also came up with us, so despite the fact that vacation is still living and still a lot of work, it was nice to be able to say, "Hey Sean, go to Grandpa" or "Dad can you carry Sean?" There were more adults than kids for the first time in so long and what a great blessing that was that I really used.
 I wasn't prepared for the AWFUL sleep we got throughout the entire vacation. The first night was the worst and I ended up, after battling Julia and Sean from 1-3am, sleeping on a thin futon mat on the laundry room floor with Julia, while Joe tried to get Sean back to sleep in the bedroom. Who knew that a nightlight could be so vital/detrimental to everyone in the room. The other nights weren't quite as bad but still not fun. Night two was a little better, Sean woke at 4 am and was up until nap time. AGHHHH, at least I was successful in keeping Molly asleep until 6, miraculous.  Again, blessings each day kept us awake and energized to play.
  We spent time at one of the lakes nearby, in the creek behind the cabin, swinging in the hammock (not so easy to exit being so pregnant), going on hikes to gorgeous waterfalls, eating, playing, laughing, and enjoying family. Oh and I learned why it's not a good idea to throw rocks around other people. I was sitting on a rock near the creek and decided to skip a rock. I chose one, kinda too big to skip but... I thought that it might be a bad angle even though the creek was clear in front of me and threw it. Well my fingers held on a little too long, and whoosh through the air. It flew right towards my mother-in-law and hit her, right on the cheek bone. Yup, less than an inch from her eye. She's a professional artist, her eyes are everything. She was black and blue instantly. It's still a HUGE nasty yellow bruise. That wasn't what I wanted to do. So be careful when you throw rocks.
 Back to the beginning, we did not come home with Lotz #5.
 Here's so photos.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Say cheese

     I love photographs, but it seems as the kids have gotten older (and more numerous) I have taken fewer and fewer photos. I just forget to get out the camera most days and even on some kind of special days. But when there is so much going on, something has to give right? I am going to try to take more photos, I just have to figure out where to put the camera so that it is convenient for me to get and remember and not so easy for little fingers to get. They are great at taking random shots of whatever but it has already cost me one camera and I don't need to add that to the list of things to buy/replace. Here are some fun ones of our adventures recently.
Boat captain Julia, just lounging around.

Our three "cutest show" actresses. Molly was there early and got one of the two mermaid costumes. The others were super jealous. Cassidy had a hard time being convinced that there weren't more mermaid costumes and settled on waving a wand and being a pink mermaid. I love the nemo on Julia's head.

We recently went to the fair with the parents and before we started off I made sure to take a photo of the girls, just in case. I remember going to the zoo and coming across a mom looking for her child. I asked her what the child was wearing and she had a hard time remembering, that stuck with me, to try and avoid the inevitable fog when panicking over a missing child. So now we do photos as we embark. I made the girls wear their matching shirts and with the parents also in pastel they looked so cute. We had a blast and almost bought some chickens on the spot. :) Coming soon.

Finally a photo of Julia's hair cut. The bangs have finally evened out and the bob is so cute, and easy. She is still such a sweet heart except when she gets her attitude going. I love her hugs and she's still little so I can hold her pretty easily still and she's just like a koala. She is the first of the kids to get freckles. Just a handful across her checks and nose. I love it.

Here's Sean's recent haircut. I think it makes him look so much older. He is such a fun little guy. Recently he has been kicking around the soccer ball a bunch. It is so fun to watch him always set up behind the ball, facing the direction he's going to kick it to, and then watch him throw himself into the kick. It's way to young to say he is gifted in soccer but he sure does like it and is pretty consistent in his motion for a 22 month old. Wow, 22 months, crazy. It's been such a treat to be able to see this age 18-22 months without the presence of an infant. I can't do all that I'd like to being 34 weeks pregnant right now but it's more time than I had with any of the girls. He is into giving kisses lately and will make an "uh uh" noise when he feels so inclined as to bestow a kiss or if he needs a kiss on a hurt. He is so much FUN!!!!
So this mom baboon is protecting her month old baby from the other under one year olds who like to come and try and rip it off the mom. They tried it in front of us. I felt the mom's annoyance and knew her response, "Get off the baby!!"           While all that was going on, the dominant male in the group decided he had enough audience around to have a live demonstration of mating in the zoo 101. Thankfully the girls were oblivious to it so we didn't have to have the monkeys and birds and bees conversation just yet.

The kids waiting to see the elephants get fed. It wasn't much of a show. But the docent taught the kids that the baby elephants eat poop to help them stay healthy (I forget the full reason). Thanks.
We drove out to Pro Bass Shops a few weekends ago to do their free indoor catch-and-release fishing thing. There was about a 45 minute wait just to get up to the pond, then another 20 minutes of trying to coax those not-so-dumb catfish to bite a worm on a hook for the 15th time. After a 'guide' caught one we had all the girls take a photo instead of waiting for the other two to catch something. Julia freaked a little and in the end it was fun. The girls did remarkable considering the wait in line and the drive out and then all. So we rewarded them with half a can of soda on the ride home.
While the girls and Joe waited in line I took Sean around the store and found the recliners. Ooh, and this lovely camouflage one has various message settings. We hunkered down for about 20 minutes. It was nice to just relax while the others waited. Oh yeah, this is definitely pre-haircut. He looks a lot like his cousin in this photo. I just noticed that.

So right before we moved our bees, sniff sniff, we harvested much of the honey. It was an awesome harvest considering it was the first week of May. The honey was lighter in color and flavor then last year's harvest. It is DELICIOUS. We are enjoying it. We have missed our bees but it has been so much easier working in the confines of our garden without them. But it has been so much harder to make the trek to the property where they are with four kids and work them out there. But the bees are surviving, though not thriving quite like they did here, but they are alive. I fear that with so many of our neighbors employing pest companies (and seeing how much chemicals those companies spray everywhere) it was only a matter of time before all the chemicals started to affect our girls. Those sprays can wipe out a colony in no time. Super sad. So maybe disaster was averted by moving them.

The girls love story time. I only wish it didn't put me to sleep. I have to remember, instead of counting sheep I just need to read out loud and I am out in no time.

Molly in her last day of swim class. She didn't learn how to swim strokes but she is now able to stay afloat without her vest. We make her practice a little bit almost every time we go in the parents' pool. The kids love having that pool around. Just large enough to play but small enough to feel like you are only an arms length away.
Dads can be such funny guys. Smart phones make them even more interesting.
We took the kids out to Mormon Helping Hand again this year. It was great. We got to play in the dirt at a local library and the kids made a good friend with one of the young women in our ward. I love that they are learning service as a family and ward. Aren't those the cutest little helpers??

Monday, June 9, 2014

it's beginning to feel a lot like summer

107, it was 107 degrees yesterday. blah. 30+ weeks pregnant and it's 107 degrees. yuck. at least it was sunday and we had afternoon church and dinner at the in-laws so we avoided the hot house for most of the day. but when it's 89 degrees at 10 pm it's just too hot. today is only supposed to be 97 I think, but it was 70 at 7 am this morning. so... we shall see.

cassidy lost another tooth, probably a month ago. again the lower central incisor so it's not super noticeable and the other is almost all the way in so only a small gap. she self-taught herself how to do block lettering. she saw some that I had done (poorly) and immediately was off and doing it, pretty adeptly for a first go at it. She's like that, see it a few times and then does it, pretty well.

molly took a running leap into the pool Saturday, totally unplanned, totally Molly. She was pushing a toy around in the yard and walked right off the edge of the pool and in she went. Thankfully she had her suit on already and Joe was in the pool so he was there to lend a hand. She just finished "swim lessons" so she actually did a really good job of keeping her head above the water but the whole thing being unintentional she was a little freaked. It made for a good laugh for the rest of us though.

julia got a haircut a few weeks ago. I thought I would have photos up already but obviously I haven't. Maybe later, hehehe, again, we shall see. It's cut, a little bob right above her chin. It's so Julia. She is learning how to give attitude very well. Her newest thing is to almost yell "you get out" as she points her finger and dramatically gestures toward the door. It would be hilarious if it wasn't done to me when she really is in need of discipline (like when she's hitting :[ )

sean is talking up a storm. he picked up "cool" and even uses it at the right moment, like the first time when I received a book in the mail I had been waiting for for weeks and he said "coo-ool" as I pulled it out of the packaging. He is also finally saying Cassidy's name, "cashie". it's fun to hear him talk. he's such a physically oriented child. a lot like molly was/is. he's always bouncing and jumping and such. yesterday he took a flying leap off the couch, towards the chair I was in and landed just close enough to hit his head on the corner of the leg of my chair. something the girls never would have and never did at his age.

joe and i are tackling our long long list of projects.
   I finished a kimono for a friend who went to the temple for the first time last week. it turned out really cool. i forgot to get a picture of it before i gave it to her, I modified the sleeves so they weren't so long, only 8 inch drape as opposed to the 24 inch drape in the original. i also made the obi a little (lot) more narrow and only one drape in back instead of two, and no pillow or back support. It's definetely still a kimono (she's full Japanesse) but much more temple appropriate. I love that it just screams family history.
   our long list of family names is getting done quicker than I thought possible. I think there were 180 names going back to November of last year and  now all but about 20 are done. our ward has been so helpful in getting the work done. and with the temple being closed for 7 weeks starting next week and not opening until the week before baby is due (but hopefully the baby will already be here by then), i will have lots of time to find more names before I am back going. too bad the next closest temple is almost 2 hours away otherwise I could go to another one (that is one of the aspects of Utah that I am truly envious about, so many temples within short distances from each other.
   I finished about a month ago a blessing dress for our little one. Any guess as to what gender I am 95% certain the baby is?? It is satin and lace and turned out great. I wanted some practice with sewing lace prior to sewing a dress for me with lace so it was great practice. And now I don't have to worry about doing it once the baby is born.
  We are lagging in our raised beds in the garden, but with the severe draught and major water restrictions we will not need them this year so we are doing other projects while looking at the undone one.
  joe made my wheat grinder rolling cart a couple weeks ago. it's great because our grinder is from the early 80s I think and must weigh 30 or 40 pounds and is so difficult to pick up off the floor, especially when pregnant. Now it has a cart which I can just roll out of the pantry and then roll it back.
  I started a countertop to go over our washer and dryer in the garage. Joe cut the wood Saturday and now I just need to stain and seal the wood, then assemble. I am SO excited to get it made. I so want a more useable top to the machines as it is the only flat work surface in the garage and is always crowded with stuff.
  then it's on to the tool shed. and the potting bench. and the raised beds. and the touch up painting in all the rooms. it just never ends. but it's always fun.

we are done with joy school for the year. it was fun. we had a small group, with only one other family, but it was good. I am glad to be doing it and look forward to doing it again in september. i hope to find another couple of families to do it but either way.

so two weeks ago, my dad, sister and i brought my grandma a new bed and couch. she said it was her first new bed since she was married. that's a shame, a new bed is AWESOME. that was ordered over the phone and delivered so that easy peasy lemon squeezy. the couch, now that was another story. as soon as I saw it in the consignment store I knew she would love it. It was goldish with gorgeous carved wood trim. That is the part I knew she would love. and she did. I picked it up from the store and the boys put it in the truck and I tied it down and drove it to her place. there is a gorgeous canyon road I love to take to her house but I was nervous about the couch so I took the longer freeway way.I got there just after the delivery guys had left. so after determining that the couch would not fit through the front door, in any direction, nor would it go through her gate, the only way was to go over the fence and in through her sliding door. So there was a  68 year old man, 29 week pregnant woman, and my little (ie short) sister trying to lift this gorgeous couch over her fence. it must have been a sight. but it worked, barely. it barely fit through her sliding door. but she loved it. truly loved it. and she loved the quilt my mother-in-law had given me. Again I knew my grandmother would love it, way more than any of my girls so with a new smaller bed she needed knew bedding. She gushed over the quilt and insisted it go on top of the other new bedding my dad brought her. what fun to deliver and then leave with everything wonderful and my grandma so happy.
I must say that she has the greatest son-in-law (my dad). My mom passed over 10 years ago, but my dad still goes out every week now and does her shopping and takes her to appointments as needed. he really has shown himself to be a widow's best friend. he's building a HUGE mansion in heaven. what a great example of selfless charity.

on a sad note, we had to move our bees last month. super sad in most ways. joe and i miss being able to just stand there and watch them fly. plus we had to move them to a place that just isn't as good for them in terms of nectar sources. but we had no choice and are having to learn how to make a weekly trip with kids to someone else's home and not enjoy the luxury of letting the kids out during nap time and checking the bees at our house. oh well. it wasn't our choice and we didn't have any other option. but it's worth it to not start issues. we are still waiting on a couple of queens to mate and start laying but our laying queen in a champ. she's great and i kind of wish we had gotten two. but oh well. we are learning a ton and loving it nonetheless. we did harvest honey already this season and that might be all we get for the year unless we get some rain in the summer or fall. please please please, we need rain. and it was might good honey.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A whole lot of new

So a few weeks ago, I can't remember the exact date at the moment, Cassidy entered the big girl stage. She lost her first tooth. Bottom left central incisor. It's not so obvious when she smile as it is on the bottom, but boy was she excited to show all her friends the night it happened. After she finished crying because of the small amount of blood.

Sean got whacked good Sunday morning with a wooden train track thrown by Molly. He instantly got a nice bruise and now has a scab. Right in the middle of his forehead. Oh well. It's bound to happen ... again.

I got some inner Bob-Villa channeled this last week. I finished two projects that we have had in the works for years. Yes, years. The first was the appliance built in. It was an open space accessible in the dinning room that was built under the stair landing to accomidate kitchen appliances, to free up pantry space. Well, that was dry walled and painted with the remodel in 2011. Now it's 2014 and it's done. We had the drawers built and I "stained" them. That's not the right word, maybe finished is. Three coats of clear polycrylic, with two sandings. Those were done a couple of months ago. Then it was time to wait, more waiting, for the doors. Those were a complete surprise last Tuesday. I had until Friday to do four coats and sand between each coat. That's when the handy man was coming back to install. He came, installed, and left. Somehow in the chaos they weren't opened and the slide out drawers pulled out, so when I did that very thing about an hour after he left, I found, the doors blocked the drawers. Talk about frustrating. Here I've waited years and just when everything is perfect, it isn't. So after a few rants and hours at HD and on the internet I found the hinges I thought were the right ones and ordered them. (I hate ordering unknown things on the internet because you can never be quite sure they are the right thing I would much rather go to a store and see the item before buying.) They arrived today and I quickly changed out the old bad for the new good and now.... perfection.  Man, I LOVE how the doors turned out. I love how the whole thing turned out. The doors are so smooth and gorgeous. They match the newel posts on the stair case in terms of style and the color is just slightly different. I love working with wood. If I had more free time...

Just when we found out we were pregnant with Sean I completely revamped my closet with Elfa components from The Container Store. Now I can fit EVERYTHING in my closet, I don't need any drawers in our lone dresser. So I thought Joe's closet should be "fixed" too. Well, I bought the components during their 30% off sale in January and they have sat in the closet waiting to be used ever since. I had our handyman who built the cabinet/built in cut the grooves to accomidate the supports and then spent two hours installing and voila!! All done and so much nicer looking then before. Somehow I had miscalculated when I purchased the items and was short two shelf supports so it's not 100% done, but it's 95% done and 100% useable.

A number of years ago Joe's mother bought him a heavy duty 24 volt cordless impact driver. It's got lots of power, but weighs a TON and is pretty bulky. We have gotten a lot of use out of it, but I hate having to use it because it really does weigh about 10 pounds, and when you are trying to hold the screw, the item to be screwed, in a tight space, and that behemoth it's just a pain. Plus you have to charge the battery before you use it, every time. What a pain. So when my dad asked what we wanted for Christmas the answer was super simple. He's a machinist, journeyman, handyman, tool guy and so I knew he'd pick out just the right replacement to our monstrosity. Enter the bright green Ryobi impact driver. I love it. What a difference it has made in these little projects. We have charged only one of the two batteries and it still is on that first charge. Thanks Dad.
 My cousin stopped by yesterday with an Easter gift that is one of my all time favorite things in the world... Easter lilies. I love how they can fill the whole room with their beautiful scent. I have it on my kitchen counter so I can see it's elegant blooms and smell it's heavenly fragrance.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Mom's time out

I just did it!!!!!!!! I just booked a hotel room for the upcoming Time out for Women event out here. Last night I bought my ticket to the event. I am super excited. This will be my first night away alone from the family, since we've had kids, the only time I've been away has been when I've been in the hospital following a birth. I am so looking forward to going. Sheri Dew is a speaker, as is Chris Williams, who has been featured in some mormon media (I love his example). The date is about a month after Lotz baby #5 is due so it'll be PERFECT timing to get away for a Friday and Saturday. Thanks Joe for doing super dad duty.

Friday, February 28, 2014

A basketball team

     Or maybe two pairs of doubles volleyball teams, with an alternate. Or what else??? Enough bodies to completely fill our Odyssey (it holds seven). That's what we are about to have, come August. Five more months and we will be the proud family of a new little blessing from heaven.
      I don't know why I've put off shouting it out but it may have to do with the "I think your crazy" comments or the look of shock we keep getting from so many people, but we are excited about this next family member. I always feel the need to add that I am pretty sure that this will complete our family, but one never knows, as if that will take away some of the shock others feel and express. We always thought that we would have between four and six kids, and five is right the middle. But that is a lot out here. I was looking around and noting that there are only a few, maybe four or five families in our ward with five kids, none with more who are young. And outside church there are even smaller families and so five seems huge in comparison to two. Joe and I both come from families of two and two is just as consuming, just different. I firmly believe that having children is hard, no matter how many and how old. The challenges are just different in each family, but there are no shortages of challenges. But more blessings than can be counted.
        This new baby is due middle of August, and with a sister and brother both with birthdays within three weeks, we are prepared for either sex (seasonal clothing wise) and so are leaning towards leaving that a mystery to be revealed in the labor room. We did that with Julia and it was such a fun thing. It made those moments following a quick, painful, unexpected delivery so much memorable. I was so focused on knowing if it was a boy (I thought boy the whole pregnancy) that I didn't think about anything else immediately. It was just a fun thing. So was finding our the sex at the 20 week ultrasound. It's been fun every time. Just different and unique to each pregnancy and child. A different story. It helps me remember each one because my brain is quickly turning to mush, that must be why I am getting so many gray hairs. No more brain. The best thing I've bought in the last two or three years was a watch with date, timer, stopwatch functions. If it weren't for the date I would be lost whenever anyone asks, how old is..., or when does ______ blah blah blah...
       You know what is also fun??? There are three other ladies (that sounds weird) in my ward who are due within a five or six week period, with me number two of the four. It will be a blast going through all of this with them, we can help remind each other how far along we are. It was like that with Sean, three babies within six weeks. Who, by the way, goes to nursery SUNDAY. WOOHOOOO!!!!! Good thing because Joe and I both teach Sunday during the third hour. I'll have to find a back up for diaper duty if needs be.

Busy as a bee

      Last year we had a family from our ward over for dinner a few times and got to talking while the kids played. This family is not like most of the families in our ward. They raise cows and chickens, the wife makes cheeses and ice cream, and they sell their beef and milk at local farmers' markets. They are cool people. Well, we found out that they keep bees as well. Joe and I were instantly interested. I read a book they had on beginning beekeeping, we went to their home and helped with a few hive inspections, and then we accepted one of their hives and put it in our backyard.         Beekeeping has become our thing. It is so fascinating to read about the amazing honey bee. We can watch the hive from our master bedroom and get sucked into just watching the bees come and go for minutes at a time. We had already put up a small fence and gate in our yard to separate the main yard from the garden area. So we had a great spot already set up, in our garden, that would keep the kids and guests away from the hive. We also already had tons of bees in our yard prior to the bee arrival and haven't noticed any more since. Which makes since if you know that flowers have limited pollen and nectar producing capabilities and so only so many bees can forage any given plant in a time span. Plus when you watch you see that they leave the yard and fly over the neighbors home, and ours, and are on their way to more flowers.
       I know someone will ask, in the 5 months that we've had the bees only one person, me, has been stung and that was because I was brain dead and was in the hive without any protective gear (face mask, gloves) and one got me in the ear. (Which describes well how it felt, like I just got my ear pierced, not fun but nothing fatal) Plus we had just harvested the honey and I think they weren't happy with us. My father-in-law walked two feet in front of the entrance to our hive while Joe and I were working in the hive and he wasn't bothered at all. It's too bad we all grow up being told that bees will sting you because though it is true, they will, they won't if you are slow, gentle, and nowhere near their hive. I took one off a shirt recently and it, she, just walked on my finger (bare finger mind you) until she flew away. I was no threat to her and she had nothing to protect, so why would she kill herself just to sting me, a none threat?
       Bees are amazing, the more I learn of them the more I love having them in my yard. I feel a little closer to the earth knowing that we are aiding in a small way the production of so much. Bees are HUGE contributors to our food supply through pollination, without them we all are in trouble food wise. I love it. They take some work, more monitoring than anything else, but are so worth the little bit of time. An hour every seven to ten days in the spring and summer and even less in the winter. Oh have they loved this weather. And they fly in the rain. Tinkerbell did something to me and I was a little shocked when I first saw that, but then again, bees aren't fairies.
We are looking forward to this being a family industry, a few hives at a satellite location (in a few years) and one or two in our yard. The honey is amazing and so much healthier for you than what is sold as honey in the store. Oh and if we ever sold any (we've only given it away to some friends so far) you can make a little change to  pay back the investment of equipment.
I will post pictures of our hive this week. It's just such a cool experience. I love it.

Blessings from heaven

           I am sure that most have heard about the drought in California. It was kind of weird how it just "happened" while we were playing outside enjoying the gorgeous weather. We never had horribly hot weather just so many unbelievably beautiful warm days to play with all the now 14 kids within four houses of ours. But so many dry days mean, ta da, so many days without rain, the driest calendar year on record. Well, the First Presidency asked all members to fast in February for rain, and guess what. It was rainy before we even left for church. It's been such a blessing the way that Heavenly Father has blessed us with rain. A few days of moderate rain (1/2-3/4 of an inch) then days of sun then some more rain, than sun. To see that Heavenly Father is taking care of us in giving us a bit at a time so that we don't have mud slides and floods is faith building. How nice to be able to say after just a few days on intense rain, "ohh yeah, drought is done." But to do so quickly would cause even more problems. We just have to be patient and remember to keep asking for rain and he will give it to us.
        On my mission, every single day that there was a marriage scheduled between investigators there was rain. While the 20 or so members were in Spain, being sealed in the temple, there was a tropical storm that rained for a week. Rain had huge meaning for me on my mission. This drought in Cali is nothing compared to the normal conditions in Cabo Verde. Though our farmers (as of now) will get NO water for their crops this year (so just get ready for produce sticker shock come summer) it doesn't compare with the absolute lack of moisture that I saw there. Therefore, the rain was a blessing from heaven. Heaven showed it's approval for those couples and blessed a whole island.
      We took the girls our in the rain today, too bad it was pouring, and they enjoyed every minute of splashing in the puddles and carrying umbrellas and making paste out of chalk. And we saved a number of worms from drowning and helped a few lawns in the process. Such fun. I will say that I no longer enjoy getting wet in the puddles, but I do like sweeping the water around in the gutters. It's kind of fun to watch it push forward then retreat, carrying dirt and rocks, and then finally falling through the storm drains.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

What was I thinking??

   Six months ago Cassidy and Molly had their dentist appointments and Joe took them and set their next appointments. Back then my dad was coming over every Wednesday and so the appointments were for a Wednesday so that he could watch the other two kids at home. Well, a few months ago he switched to coming on Thursdays. Fast forward to yesterday, Wednesday. Two dentist appointments, four kids, and no babysitter lined up. What to do? Take all four kids. Oh I prayed that it would go well.
And I am so grateful that the worst thing was a leaky pee diaper from Seany that couldn't get changed till we were all done. The girls did remarkable. Instead of Cassidy and Molly having their teeth cleaned, Cassidy, Julia, AND Molly all had their teeth cleaned and all received great reports. While Molly was a hard sale until a new toothbrush was on the line, Julia was all ready to hop up and open wide. Too keep the non-patients occupied we brought books, etch-a-sketches, sippees, and even a balloon for Sean. Too bad I didn't bring an extra diaper in from the car. :)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Growing pains and heart aches

In my head, I know that everyone is going through something. Usually I don't know what that is, I try not to pry. I often forget that EVERYONE I meet is going through something because I don't see the its. But everyone once in a while I get a glimpse into the growing pains and heart aches of people I know and people I don't know, and my heart aches for them, with them. I sometimes wish I had made a better decision the last time I saw those friends, but i know that when I see them again I will be better, at least I will try. Does that make any sense??
To those who are going through something, I send you the biggest hug. I wish I could take the pain for a while, to give you a breather. I know that much is learned through our trials but sometimes we all need just a moment. You are in my thoughts and prayers and I will find an open temple, call it, and put you on the prayer roll, tonight. It's Tuesday, okay, they are open.