Friday, May 10, 2013

It’s a…

I can’t ever wait to find out the gender of my babies as soon as possible.  The “nesting instinct” kicks into overdrive!  Since it has been nearly 8 years since my last bundle of joy, we had already gotten rid of any and all baby gear from the former 6 children.  We don’t even own a rattle or have a crib to dust off.  Colton was in his crib until he was a 45 pound 4 year old (he never figured how to climb out of it so we kept him in there as long as possible) and he loved jumping!  He jumped so much that the whole bottom of the crib broke.  We zip tied it together until he was finally ready for a big boy bed, but that crib went straight to the trash. 

I was shocked to discover that gender determination can be made as early as 14 weeks now in the modern world of technology.  Justin and I took all the kids to the ultrasound just a few weeks ago and we all found out together that we were having a boy!  He opened his tiny hand and it looked like he waved to everyone as if he knew we were watching him float and tumble around in utero.   He was stubborn at first and had his legs crossed making it difficult for the tech to get a clear picture, but without question, she announced, “It’s a boy!”

I am still a little skeptical.  I’m saving receipts for the boy items I’ve purchased just in case at the 21 week ultrasound we find out otherwise.  Until then, the rearranging and remodeling have commenced to make room for one more. 

Our first order of business was to move Britney and Matti into the same room.  We have a 7 bedroom house, so each of the kids had their own room, but now they have to share (gasp)!  I wasn’t sure how 2 beds, 2 bookcases, 2 dressers, a desk and 2 walk-in closets full of clothes and toys would fit into one room, but we did it.  Here is their room now:


We used all the same furniture and bedding and accessories we had in storage from the last house, but painted the room the girls’ color choice….green!  This made it feel new to them.  My main problem was storage for toys, books, clothes, stuffed animals and special “stuff”.  Each girl has their own vertical bookshelf for their treasures and I found the trunks for stuffed animal storage on clearance at Hobby Lobby.  I bought Matti a matching dresser.  The key here was vertical storage!   


Britney’s original walk-in closet was like another room.  So I had to figure out a way to blend all their toys and clothes into one smaller closet.  Thanks to IKEA, there’s a place for everything, and everything’s in its place!  Each girl got 4 bins for their “stuff” and their seasonal clothing storage fits on the shelf above.   Harley, our cat, even likes it in there!


All that work was necessary to free up this bedroom which will become the nursery.  We are starting from scratch with this little one!  Here’s what I will be working on over the next several months:


Stay tuned! 

Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Cameron turned the big 1-3 last month.  I can’t believe I am the mother of a teenager.  When the topic arises about the rigorous demands of raising 6 (soon to be 7) children, I hear from older, wiser mothers, “If you think it’s bad now, just wait until they’re teenagers”!   I begin holding back the tears, because some days are hard enough now!


Last week started out with me getting after my teenager for missing assignments and grades that were unacceptable.  I got frustrated at my his lack of organization that I have been trying to teach him all year.  I got frustrated because he never writes his assignments down in his planner, then forgets to do them.  I got frustrated because he did not take responsibility for his actions and found blame and excuses instead. 

I need to remember that he is still learning.  And so am I.  Things could be worse.  I need to appreciate and focus on the good things he is doing and the talents he is developing.  He is not perfect.  Neither am I.  I just want him to listen to me so he can become a capable, responsible, contributing member of society.  I need to teach him, give him all the tools he needs and let him learn from his mistakes.   My brain is telling me that  guidance, love and follow through are the keys to success to raising a teen, but my emotional side flares more often than not and overrides with anger and frustration. 

I wanted to dedicate this post to the good attributes and things I have noticed that make me proud of my son:

He has always been good at making friends.  When he was little, we would go to the store and he would beg me to buy him 2 Hot Wheels cars; one for him, and one to share with a friend.  Whether we went to a park, or McDonalds, he would share one of his new cars and end up with a new friend by the time we had to go.  Not only did he make friends quickly, but he made friends in different ethnic groups.  The suburbs of Salt Lake City, UT don’t have the most diverse ethnic groups.  We have always lived in a high concentration of white, LDS populations.  He would bring home Latin, Indian and Korean friends.  He had a talent for seeking them out and befriending those kids who didn’t fit into the “mold”.  He didn’t care, and neither did I.  He is talented in finding something in common with everyone, which is a great life skill.

If I am not home when he gets home from school, he calls me to see where I am, even though when I am home most days, he ignores me.  

He is a great Boy Scout and is on track and motivated to earn his Eagle by the time he is 15, or sooner (which is great before he is distracted with driving, dating and girls)!

I signed him up for a Lego Robotics class that he has wanted to join.  There have been waiting lists as long as 23 people long to get into this class.  I finally got him registered, but the weeklong workshop was scheduled the same time as Trek.  I gave him the choice to proceed with the class, or go on Trek, and he chose to go on Trek.  Trek is a simulation of the Pioneers’ journey to Utah.  For 3 days, the teens get to experience the challenges of living as a pioneer.  I never got to go as a youth of the LDS church, but it is a very spiritual experience and the kids come back with stronger testimonies and a new perspective.  I was surprised that he made the decision to go, and proud that he did. 

At the beginning of 7th grade, Cameron tested high enough to skip to the 8th Grade Advanced Math class.  He could have chosen to stay in 7th grade math, which would have made life a lot easier, but instead rose to the challenge of the harder math class.  It ended up being a little beyond his abilities.  He struggled through 3 quarters of the class until he just couldn’t keep up anymore.  He was frustrated with his decision and wanted to give up after the 1st quarter, but he kept studying, staying after school and trying to complete a class that I found out towards the end of the school year,  he barely tested into.  Although I bumped him back to 7th grade math to finish the year, I am proud of him for going out of his comfort zone to try something challenging. 

He sets his own alarm, gets himself up and out the door to catch the bus at 7:45 a.m.   I still set my alarm to make sure he is up.  There have been 2 incidents this year where I didn’t set my alarm and neither did he.  Oops! 

His 6th grade teacher sent me an email telling me how much he appreciated having Cameron in his class.  Although he wasn’t the smartest student, his teacher appreciated him and wants to follow him to see where he ends up in life. 

Another previous teacher assigned him to welcome the new students and show them around the classroom and school.

I definitely see some great spiritual, intellectual and people skills developing in this fine young man.   

I’ve already fought a few battles, which I am trying to choose carefully.  My “teenager” has begged me for air soft guns, and for an account on X Box Live (both which I said, “no” to) and I have Skyward on my “frequently visited websites” next to Pinterest, to make sure he is completing and turning in all his assignments at school.

I am saddened by the downhill countdown that keeps creeping up on me faster and faster until my son becomes an adult. It seemed like yesterday he was getting baptized.  That was 5 years ago.  My how time flies!   In less than 2 years he will have his driving permit.  In less than 3 years he will be dating and driving by himself (I’m actually looking forward to him helping me shuttle kids around), and in less than 5 years, he will be graduating from high school and leaving our nest to go on an LDS mission.  I have a lot of work to do before I send him out on his own.   Will he be able to manage money and time?  Will he be able to cook simple meals, clean and know how to launder his own clothes?  Will he be responsible?  

When I take a step back, I am proud of all my kids and the people they are becoming.  As mothers we definitely have to look for and “find joy in the journey”. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Happy Belated Easter

Since 3 of our kids are gone every other weekend and every other holiday, we have to be flexible and roll with the punches with our holiday routines and traditions.  We like to occasionally arrange sleepovers at grandparents’ houses so the other kids get to feel special and go somewhere too.     


Something strange and unusual happened this year.  We had only one child at home to spend Easter Sunday with!  This was a first, and I’m sure it will be the last time we ever have just one child on a holiday!  Colton loved shaking and opening his jelly-bean filled Easter eggs.  He loved his bunny-shaped marshmallows and spinning his pinwheel from the Easter Bunny.  I think he even enjoyed church.  And as you can see, he loves his wiggle car.  This child does not sit still long enough for a picture.  He is constantly in motion. 


It may seem late to be posting Easter pictures,but it wasn’t until last Sunday that I was able to get everyone together for an “Easter Sunday” picture.  It’s belated, but it is better late than never!


Although it was absolutely the wrong time of day to snap a picture outside, I had to get everyone with freshly combed hair before church. 


It’s not easy sharing kids for holidays.  As a mother, I want everyone together for every holiday.  It makes me appreciate the chaos, noise and excitement when we do get to celebrate together. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Lucky Number Seven

Flashback:  We had only been married a few months.  I was teaching full time.  We had 6 kids under the age of 9.  People asked us if we were going to have more kids.  Justin and I would simultaneously shout, “NO”!   Then one night, after an argument (probably about kids), I received a prompting.  We were not speaking to each other as we went to bed.  While laying in the dark, I broke the silence and said, “You know there’s one more, right?”  and Justin replied, “Yep”. 

That conversation took place nearly 3 1/2 years ago.  We’ve known for that long, that there was one more little spirit waiting to join our family.  Through all our chaos and trials, we finally decided things had calmed down enough to start trying last summer.  I got pregnant on the first month of trying.  It was unbelievable!  After just 7 weeks, I miscarried.  It was a devastating roller coaster.  Finding out I was pregnant right away and telling family and friends right away (up), spotting for 3 weeks (down), getting HCG levels tested multiple times and having the levels continue to increase during spotting (up), having severe cramping and losing the pregnancy (down).   There’s nothing worse than telling everyone you’re pregnant, losing a pregnancy and then having everyone ask you how you’re feeling and having to say, “I’m not pregnant anymore”.  It’s awkward!  That’s why I waited so long to spill the news this time!

After taking some time to get my health in order and recover emotionally, 9 months after the last pregnancy, we are expecting again!  I didn’t even have to take a pregnancy test to know!  We were deep sea fishing in Cabo San Lucas.  The boat ride made me sick (I have never gotten seasick).  The smell of the dead fish made me sick.  Even the smell of Justin’s Chapstick made me want to hurl.  Then and there, I knew I was pregnant and told Justin.  He didn’t believe me until 5 days later when we made it back to the states and I took a test, but I already knew! 

This baby is important to our family because it is our bond.  Justin and I will have a blood-related child.  The kids will share a blood-related sibling.  Our parents will have a blood-related grandchild.  It ties us all together more as a family unit and is the perfect finishing touch to complete our family!  This child is definitely “lucky number seven”!

I have actually experienced many intense pregnancy symptoms that I’ve never had in any previous pregnancies.  I guess I lied when I told Justin, “I don’t get sick, I just get a little tired”.  I was in my 20’s then.  Now I am in my mid-thirties, and boy there’s a difference!  Besides the nausea, extreme fatigue and intense food aversions, I have come up with a more detailed list of these symptoms from my experience:  

Here’s My Top 10 List of:  You know you’re pregnant when…

10.  Watching “Yes to the Dress” makes you cry.

9.  You are not able to drink your favorite beverage.  I have not been able to drink a Dr. Pepper for over 2 months now.  It makes me sick.  For those of you that know me, this has been an addiction of mine for years.  It runs in the family genetics and now, I just can’t drink it anymore.

8.  Your nightstand drawer is full of Tums, Gas X, Tylenol, Prenatal Vitamins and a snack.

7.  You’re so hungry, yet nothing sounds good.

6.  You’re thirsty, but water even tastes gross.

5.  You act on a food craving, take a bite and decide that you don’t want it.

4.  French fries and fry sauce from Arctic Circle is the only steady food choice that always works and never makes you sick.

3.  You’re worn out by noon and need to lay down to rest, like for the rest of the afternoon and evening until bedtime.

2.  When you do cook, crockpot meals are cooked in the garage since the smells make you sick.

1.  Weekly Meal Planning starts to look like this: Monday-Subway, Tuesday-Costa Vida, Wednesday-In N Out, Thursday-Zupas, Friday-Texas Roadhouse, Saturday – Tepanyaki, Sunday-hope a grandparent invites you over for Sunday dinner so you don’t have to worry about feeding your family.

I am now in my 14th week.   Next week we are going to try to find out whether we will be bringing home a pink or blue bundle of joy on or around October 22nd!  

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Where In the World Have We Been?

Here’s part of the explanation why I have been MIA with this blog!  When Justin and I got married, we put vacationing with our family and each other at the top of our priority list.  Since our kids are a little older, we have spoiled ourselves with exceeding our goal of getting away with each other at least once a year.  We decided to take a break from cruising to try a land locked vacation to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. 


Our vacation started out with a snorkeling tour at the arch.  The water was cold!  But the benefit to cold water was that we got to see a lot of whales and their babies during whale migration season.   Our snorkeling tour turned into a whale-watching excursion as well!


Our vacations never consist of spending all day lounging on the beach sipping Pina Coladas.  They are full of high adventure, which leads us to our next excursion of racing through the desert searching out hidden villages, driving over dry river beds and discovering scenic ocean views via side-by-side vehicles.  Let’s just say I wish I would have worn a sports bra, or two. 


Next, we caught a rare glimpse of the sunrise!  Rare for us because we like to sleep in!  We woke up at 4:45 am to drive to downtown Cabo to fulfill one of Justin’s dreams of deep sea fishing.  This was not one of my dreams.  I went along on this 8 hour trip simply to be a good wife and companion to my husband.  The ocean was extremely choppy, which made me seasick for the very first time in my life.  It lasted for hours on end and I was miserable! 


At least someone was having fun!  Justin caught 3 yellow-fin tuna, but he was left unsatisfied because he didn’t catch a Marlin, especially when the boat next to us caught 2!   He is already talking about going back to catch one.  I will not be joining him. The best part of the deep-sea fishing excursion for me was coming back to land.  We were followed by “Poncho” a sea lion that swam up to the back of the boat and happily devoured our unused bait. 


No relaxing or resting for us!  Our journey the next day continued with a bus tour up North where we went snorkeling with whale sharks.  I hadn’t recovered fully from deep sea fishing when we were once again on a small boat in choppy, cold water.  I jumped in once, but decided to wimp out and stay on the boat.  Justin and I have a little bit of a vacation curse.  We seek out warm destinations, plan our trip months ahead of time, and usually end up with a drop in temperature for the week we arrive at our “warm” destinations.  You would think that 72 degrees sounds warm compared to our frigid winter temps in Utah, but a humid 72 on a cloudy, windy day is not warm.  I needed my coat!  The wetsuits did not keep us warm!   Luckily, a wonderful meal at a local authentic restaurant saved the day. 


My favorite part of our vacation was the endless supply of fabulous meals and entertainment we came home to each night.  We loved our time here so much that we are planning on bringing the entire family next year!


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Baby It’s Cold Outside!

For those of you that are enjoying warmer climates this time of year, like temperatures above freezing, we have been living with single-digit high temperatures and sub-zero temperatures at night.  Justin’s truck read –7 on his way to work the other day.  It’s just plain cold!  Even indoors, I can’t seem to peel my self away from the fireplace or my electric blanket.  I don’t even want to go shopping or run errands unless I absolutely have to. 

Recently, it warmed up to 12 degrees, so we blew the dust off of the sleds and I took the kiddos sledding.  I didn’t mind watching them from my car with the heated seats on high and the hot air on full blast.  It was a win, win situation. 


Matti headed for a jump someone built.  It was about 6 inches high.  She didn’t get any air that time, but I love seeing the anticipation in her face!


We took a break from sledding on the mountain behind the school.  It is super steep and someone gets hurt every time we go there.    Justin is still recovering with a sore tail bone from sledding there 2 years ago.  Last sledding outing, Wyatt ran into a tree.  He learned the hard way when headed for a tree, instead of staying on the sled and letting your face make contact with the trunk, roll off the sled into the snow instead to avoid contact next time.


We went to a green space a few blocks away that the kids call “the dip”.  It’s really a drainage area for the neighborhood, but makes the perfect sledding hill.  There are no rocks or trees to contend with, and the slope is steep enough for the kids to get a rush. 


Of course, it’s not good enough to just jump on a sled and ride down the hill now.  The little daredevils are starting to do some tricks like standing up, making a sled train and doing tricks off of the jumps.  I feel like sledding has turned into a broken bone waiting to happen, but at “the dip” they always seem to walk away unscathed.


I usually let them sled until their faces and hands are numb and when I announce their sledding journey is over for the day, they always beg to stay longer.  I lure them home with promises of hot chocolate topped with whipped cream.

On the way to the car this time, Matti decided to grab some snow for the road.  I guess I had forgotten to tell the kids not to eat yellow snow, but this was a good time to remind them.  Eating snow is so gross.  I remember my dad melting snow and showing me the dirty water I was eating.  Maybe we will try that experiment again to show them how disgusting of a habit that is. 


I hope your pipes don’t freeze, your toes stay warm and Spring comes sooner than later!  In the meantime, Justin and I are looking forward to our escape to Cabo San Lucas in just a few weeks to get away from this weather! 

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Best Christmas Present So Far

When it comes to buying Christmas presents, Justin and I have always been able to pleasantly surprise each other.  Justin  made me cry last year with a surprise present sending me to see my BFF in Cali.

But this year, I paid him back in a big way.  When Steven Tyler was a judge on American Idol, Justin said he would love to go to an Aerosmith Concert.  So when I got an email for a super awesome deal for a 4 day 3 night stay in Lakeside Property with Suite Tickets to see Aerosmith in Orlando, I jumped all over this deal and suggested to Justin this could be our Christmas present to each other.  We had some flyer miles to use up, so our R/T tickets cost a whopping $15.  Yes, this was the best Christmas present so far…


The best part of the trip that made it such a great gift to my hubby was that we met up with his friends, who are now my friends.  He admittedly he loves them more than some of his family!   He met and baptized Guillermo on his mission in NYC 13 years ago.  Luckily, Yesenia and Guillermo recently moved to Florida just 3 hours away from where we were staying.  They drove to meet us and hung out with us for the few short days we were there.   Wouldn’t you know that I forgot my camera and have very few pics of this once-in-a-lifetime event?


We had plans to go zip lining, to Universal Studios, and maybe even on some air boat tours.  But we ended up hanging out on the grounds of the Orlando Temple, in our hotel room watching movies together, visiting, reminiscing and eating out.  It was one of the most relaxing, enjoyable mini-vacations to date. 




We even got to see some gators before departure. 


Thank you to Grandma Adele and Grandma Carmen who covered for us while we were gone.  I know this was a very special trip for Justin.  It was amazing that the timing worked out for us to get together!