Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sunday Ramblings

I realize that I haven't really done much to update this blog, other than our monthly newsletter stuff.  So - I thought I'd take a minute here & write down some thoughts/feelings that have been going through this sleep-deprived brain of mine.

 I'm so glad I have a warm home. It's so beautiful outside - we've had some decent snow storms - but I am content at the moment to be in my warm, quiet home, cuddled up with my baby boy while Jason has the girls at church.

Life is good. Sure - I'm still up 2-5 times a night with Link - or with a daughter who had a nightmare - or with our whining/barking dogs - or with my computer that likes to randomly make strange noises... BUT life is still good :) Even now, after being home for about 2 months now, I still have moments - like in the shower yesterday - where I am just brought to tears at the miracle of having my baby boy HOME and WELL. I am just filled with a tremendous amount of gratitude and humility - especially when I see that my friend I met at CHOP (whose daughter has diffuse hyperinsulinism) has to keep going back to the hospital - dealing with a G-tube and medicine. And here we are - fully breastfeeding and no medication at all. Why us? Feeling so blessed to be home with my daughters as well & have them run into my arms after school and talk about fears or challenges they are facing. So grateful to be home.

Another reason life is good - At the beginning of January, I decided to sign up for a biggest loser challenge with a girl from high school that I'm friends with on Facebook. It was kind of a last-minute decision - I wasn't REALLY sure I wanted to do it - and the buy-in was $50, but I went ahead & took the plunge because I knew it would help me really jump-start the post-baby weight loss. I'm so glad I did! It's a point based system, where you get a certain number of points for exercising, doing a weekly challenge (no sugar, 64 oz water, fruits & veggies, etc), and of course # of pounds lost. Let me tell you, this challenge was the ONLY thing that got me out of bed most mornings at 5:45am to go workout - especially after being up multiple times in the night. But it's been really good - I've lost about 12 pounds. I'm fitting into some of my pre-pregnancy jeans and looking to keep going in that direction. There were about 30 other people that are doing the challenge as well & it's not looking like I will win, but hey - like they say on the show - I won because I lost!

 Also - Jason & I watched the documentary "Hungry for Change" on Netflix and it really opened our eyes to the dangers of processed food. So we've kind of done a re-vamp of eating in our household. No - we are not quite health nuts. We don't buy everything organic. We don't go to the farm and buy the grass-fed cow milk. We still have processed foods sometimes. But we are DEFINITELY eating more fruits, veggies, nuts, and whole grains. I am making green smoothies in the morning. I am scrutinizing ingredient lists instead of focusing so much on the fat/calorie content. I am learning how to "reverse engineer" recipes to take out the processed, convenience foods and make things from scratch. I made my own ranch dressing last night! Not even with the packet! :) The website has really been great in helping me go from learning about all these things to actual application with a busy family. So - we have a ways to go, but I am feeling really good about cutting out a lot of the processed sugars and foods & getting back to basics.

A week from today is Link's baby blessing. Yet another "life is good" celebration! I am so thankful to have family & friends that support our family & I am so excited to see them in less than a week.

Something we've been pondering about lately is our girls' education. We just don't feel like they're getting challenged - especially McKinley. We've been praying about homeschooling or maybe sending them to North Elementary next year - they are doing the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) program & I really think McKinley would enjoy that - and I think Ireland would, too. We'll see. 

We've been having lots of things break down lately - Our water heater, our washer, our snowblower. Kind of wondering what the deal is with that, but it sure makes me grateful for hot water, clean clothes and a snow blower. 

Lots of birthday parties lately! The girls had 3 in the past week. I guess I should get thinking about big birthday parties for my girls. I can't believe McKinley will be 8 in September & is talking about getting baptized. I've been thinking about ways to help her prepare for this big step in her life. Please send any advice you have! 

So - there you go. Some random ramblings on a Sunday afternoon. Hope you are enjoying your Sabbath Day! :) 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

January Newsletter & Slideshow

Enjoy :)

FAMILY:  The majority of January was spent staying at home, just enjoying being a family again & feeling very blessed every day. Here’s a few other things we were up to: January 4th, all the girls went to a Primary “Meet and Greet” where they got to have hot chocolate and doughnuts and meet their new teachers. All of our girls are in Primary now! We’re switching off taking the girls to church on Sunday – with the flu outbreaks going on, we don’t want to expose Link. With being at home more, we’ve been getting out the craft stuff more – and we’ve been having fun painting, coloring, putting together bead animals, playing with play doh, making crafts out of trash, etc.  J The girls have had fun watching mom do yoga at nights and they like to do the Kids Yoga VHS, too, where they get to act like their animals while they do the yoga poses. One night when they were watching mom do a Rodney Yee yoga video, they had an interesting conversation that went something like this: My girls' conversation as they watch me do a Rodney Yee Yoga video: Kez – “Why is he naked?”, Ireland -  “Kezia, that's just the way they look in those lands” (it was on a beach) McKinley -  “No... he's definitely wearing something.”Kez -  “He's wearing panties!!!”...wherein we had a little discussion (while I'm trying to do the yoga poses) about speedos for men. We had a few pretty good snowstorms as well this month and the girls have had fun playing in the snow & drinking lots of hot cocoa. On the 11th, McKinley & Ireland went to a princess dress-up birthday party for Anna Strand. McKinley was dressed up as Belle & Kezia was Snow White. Ireland was REALLY upset that she didn’t get to go to a costume party, but she had Isabella Daniel’s birthday at the same time & she had fun going to the spa & getting her hair & nails done J McKinley & Ireland started tumbling at the Cedar City Aquatic Center on the 14th. They both really like it and are love to play on the mats. They are learning forward & backward rolls, jump rolls, balance beam walks, and they just started learning cartwheels. They like to try out their new skills when they get home, but it’s a bit hard with all the tile. The older girls got some play makeup from Santa & they have had fun (especially Ireland) using it at every opportunity – even on their brother! On the 19th, we went sledding for a couple hours by CAL Ranch with the Bealers. Great fun was had by all! It was a beautiful day. We finally bit the bullet and got an annual family pass to the Aquatic Center and we took the girls swimming on the 19th and the 26th. They LOVE to swim & go down all the slides. Grandma Potts was so sweet and sent a package in the mail for the girls. It had one Ring Pop in it. Now… 1 Ring Pop and 3 girls didn’t really add up, so mom and dad decided to instigate a competition. Whoever got their jammies on first at night got a point,  and whoever got dressed first in the morning got a point – and whoever had the most points at the end of a week would get the Ring Pop.  The next week was like a dream for mom & dad. Girls getting their jammies on at 6pm – and McKINLEY of all people waking up at 6 AM to get dressed before anyone else. Although there were some arguments over who got ready first, overall, it was great. McKinley ended up winning the Ring Pop! The girls are also really loving playing downstairs on their new swing set. We cleaned & organized the downstairs & upstairs & they are such fun places to play now! The girls like to come up with reasons that Link is crying. A few of mom’s favorites: Ireland - “He’s crying because he thinks he’s having surgery again.” Ireland – “He’s crying because he loves my singing so much.” Kezia – “He’s crying cuz he wants a chip.”
MIRACLE: We sold our other Enoch lot! What a blessing!
JASON:  Jason worked from his laptop the first week of January & then headed back to work full-time after that. Everyone at his work has been so good to us & we are so thankful for their support when we went through our trial with Link. He is also getting back into his calling with the Young Men and is enjoying that. He loves coming home to his 4 girls and his BOY!  
 HEIDI: Heidi continues to bask in the feeling of being home with her family. The amazing miracle of Link’s recovery still brings her to tears at various moments in the day. She is loving her baby boy – and being with her sweet girls, too. Heidi signed up to do an 8-week Biggest Loser Challenge, sponsored by a girl she went to HS with – Jennifer (Wyner) Allen. There are 30 other people signed up for the challenge and it is a $50 buy-in. It is based on points given for working out, pounds lost, and doing a weekly challenge. Heidi is not planning on winning, but it has definitely made a difference in her workouts. She went from working out once or twice a week to working out 6 days a week, usually for an hour – and she’s up to about 6 mile runs. Her eating has definitely improved as well – the weekly challenges are things like no sugar, 64 oz of water per day, only whole grains, 5 fruits & veggies, etc. So far the hardest one is the no sugar challenge, but she has done well and lost about 10 lbs. Only 20 more to go! J She and Jason also watched “Hungry for Change” – a documentary on Netflix about eating REAL, unprocessed foods. Heidi has been doing lots of research on it & feels we have really turned a corner with our eating habits & are trying to really only eat whole foods and minimal processed, sugary foods.  She’s been making more fruit/green smoothies in the morning to help achieve this goal.

-McKinley was helping mom clean out her closet one day & we were listening to “If I had a million dollars.” There was a part that said “…but not a real fur coat, that’s cruel.” McKinley asked what that meant & mom told her that they would have to kill an animal to get a real fur coat – that’s why it’s cruel. The next verse has a part that says “…but not a real green dress, that’s cruel.” McKinley piped up “Yeah! Cuz then they’d have to kill grass!!”
-One day McKinley was playing witches with her sisters & mom was smiling & asked about their game. McKinley said “It’s not pretend!  - and don’t put that on facebook!”
-One of McKinley’s sayings lately “Really, mom? Really?” (said with hands on hips).
-When we go to the library, McKinley likes to check out “How To” books. One time it was “How to Cook” and last time it was “How to Write Stories & Fairy Tales.” Mom & McKinley went over the book and took some suggestions and McKinley wrote and “published” (in Microsoft Word) her tale of “Farilena Saves the Forest” – about a Fairy that saves a horse and also saves the forest  by going into the humans homes and taking all their saws. It was a very creative, sweet story. Great Job McKinley! Keep writing!
-One day the family was all playing in the Living Room. There was lots of confusion. At one point, McKinley looked up at mom with big eyes & said “Did you hear what Kezi just said?... She said the ‘S’ word!” Mom & Dad looked at each other, worried. McKinley continued... “She said STUPID!”
- McKinley said that when she grows up she wants to be a writer or a teacher or a rock star. But she said she doesn’t want to be a rock star that says bad words.
-McKinley has had some real problems lately with complaining. From the minute she gets up, she is complaining about getting up, then about going to school, then about the clothes she has to wear. Then she’s complaining about breakfast and about her lunch & on and on… we have had some discussions about doing better and we’re hoping she can have a better attitude soon!
-When we went swimming, McKinley got to see a couple friends from school – Chloe and Lindsay. We got Chloe’s number and she came over to play one day. They had fun playing downstairs and doing Play Doh.  Mom was so proud of McKinley when she asked Chloe if she wanted to come to church with us sometime. Great job being a missionary McKinley!
-McKinley has been begging to do gymnastics, so we figured the Aquatic Center tumbling would be a good place to start. She has a lot of fun – and her friend Brenna Dixon signed up with her, so she gets to see her twice a week. She has learned a lot and wants to sign up for “real” gymnastics soon.
-McKinley has started to do the apostrophes with her fingers. As in “I don’t really (finger apostrophe) ‘like’ him, mom”

-We were picking books to read one night & Ireland said “I want a Mermaid book because I want to be a Mermaid when I grow up!”
-We were on the bed one night & there was a little shock. Jason told Ireland it was static electricity & explained a little bit about it. She woke up in the middle of the night a couple times because she was so scared of the static electricity. She said the sound scared her. We had some prayers & she went back to sleep, but for the next few weeks her prayers always included something like this…”and please bless that there won’t be any static electricity. And no BIG static electricity. And no small static electricity. And no medium static electricity.”
-Ireland earned a date from getting enough points! Great job Ireland! When mom asked where she wanted to go for her date, without hesitation she said “Disneyland!!” Well… she ended up having to settle for McDonald’s, but she and mom had a great time there J
-One day at lunch, Ireland asked “Dad, have you ever eaten an alien?” Dad said no. Mom asked what she thought they might taste like & Ireland said “Hmmm – probably squishy bones.”
-One of the funny/not-so-funny things that happened this past month with Ireland was when she went to church with her beautiful sequined, transparent bag that she brings her scriptures in. For some strange reason, she thought it might be fun to bring an egg to church in that bag. Mom had no idea about it until after church when she held up her bag that had orange goo dripping from a corner of it. We had to have the strange discussion about it not being a really good idea to bring eggs anywhere.  
- Mom was talking to Ireland one day after she got home from school. She kept looking at her funny & said “Mom – you’re mascara is falling off your face.”
-One night there was some contention about who was going to get to take a bath with Link. Ireland REALLY wanted to, but mom said it was going to go from the youngest to the oldest. Ireland said “No! Make it go from the oldest to the youngest.” Mom informed her that then McKinley would get to take a bath with him. She thought for a second & then said “Well, then, make it from the middlest to the oldest!”
-Pretty much the first thing Ireland says when she gets home from school is “Where’s Link?” She sure loves her brother – she will lay by him & talk to him for a long time – or read him a book – or just make faces at him. We’re still trying to teach her about not getting so close to his face all the time.
-Ireland is learning about penguins & whales in school right now. She brought home a whale picture & we talked about it & mom told Ireland that she & dad saw a whale when we were in Hawaii. Ireland got big eyes & said “did it swallow you?”
-Link has a little seat that you can pull down on a little cow & it plays “Old McDonald.” Mom asked Ireland “So – pull on the cow” Ireland came closer with a confused look on her face & said “Satan pulled the couch?”
-Ireland has had fun at tumbling and has lots of natural talent. The hardest thing with her is getting her to STOP TALKING and listen to her teacher. She also seems to brag a lot about being able to do things and won’t let her teacher help her. She wants to do everything herself. She is having fun, though & loves to run around on the mats & on the balance beam.

-Kezia had a rash & mom suggested to put some petroleum jelly on it. She screamed “I don’t want control jelly!! I just want jelly!”
-Kezia used to say “last night” when talking about any moment in the past. Now, it seems she has changed to “last year.” As in “last year we went to that park!” But with the changes in years, she’s actually still pretty accurate most of the time J
-We still call her Kezi-boo, but she’s starting to resist. She says we can now only call her “Kezi-boo” on Halloween.
-When Kezi took a bath with Link, she was noticing his different parts. She said “Mom – boys have that shaky thing and girls don’t!”
-Kezia still LOVES My Little Pony & she is constantly bringing them – and leaving them all over the house. She especially loves Pinkie Pie & mom gets constantly asked “where is Pinkie Pie?”
-One day when we were supposed to be getting ready to go somewhere, Kezia had a major meltdown. The reason? Mom wiped her nose & Kezia didn’t want her to. She screamed “I want my boogers back!! Give me my boogers back!” for a full 5-10 minutes & no amount of reasoning from mom would allow her to believe that her boogers were NOT going back into her nose.
-One night daddy turned on the TV & Kezi yelled “Mommy!!! Daddy is watching screen time without asking!”
-Kezi watched mommy one morning putting on her eyeliner. She said “Mom – you look like a pirate!”
-When we eat lunch, Ireland always wants to eat Ramen Noodles & Kezi always wants to eat Macaroni & Cheese. One afternoon mom asked Kezi to say the prayer & she said “NO! We are havin’ Ramen Noodles & Ireland is a Ramen Noodles girl and I am a Macaroni and Cheese girl!”
-We love playing with the Dixons and their little boy, Ezra is about Kezia’s same age. They really look a lot alike. Big, blue eyes. Blonde hair. We like to call them Kez & Ez J
-Mom & Kezia have been having some fun “Mommy & Kezia” times in the mornings. We have made her name with glue and cereal and pasta. We have practiced her handwriting. We have played on starfall. And we have painted. It’s been fun J
-Kezia earned a date last month as well – GREAT JOB KEZ! She went out with daddy to McDonald’s and she felt so special.
-Kezi is still having 1-2 accidents a day & we are working on getting that to zero. She still loves the Potty Time application where she can “call” Rachel and tell her if she went potty or had an accident.
-We’re also working with Kezia on her whining & crying. Some days she seems to explode about any little thing & carry on for a while!
-Kezia got a new BIG GIRL car seat this month! She is still learning how to strap it in & wants to do it ALL BY HERSELF.

-Link is doing so great. People are still asking us about him & it is so wonderful to be able to tell them that he’s doing great. He had a couple regular check-ups this month & he is doing great. He is about 13 pounds now & in the 60th percentile. He had to get a few shots at his second visit, but he did really well J
-Link really loves his mobile. The minute you put him in the crib, he is looking up at it & loves to watch it go around.
-He is really getting better with his hands, too! He has started to be able to pull the cow on his chair & hit the jungle gym things. He also loves to put his hands in his mouth & suck on them. Sometimes he will unlatch while he’s breastfeeding to put in his fist!
-He’s also pulling his legs up more. Pretty soon he’ll be able to grab his toes!
-He is such a good, smiley boy. That huge gummy smile can light up a room – and he gives them so easily J
-He still doesn’t really like tummy time, but we are working at it. He will go a few minutes before he gets super-mad.  
-Towards the end of the month, daddy got him really laughing & giggling! It was soooo cute! Now we just need to get it on video.
-He’s still waking up 1-2 times a night, which isn’t bad – and he’s eating every 2-3 hours. And if you don’t feed him right when he’s hungry, he can get really mad!
-Link’s sisters REALLY love him! They are constantly wanting to hold him, kiss him, sing to him, read to him and just be around him. They fight over him a lot & mom and dad have to try and let them take turns. They are constantly saying how cute he is & Ireland says “he’s a REAL baby, mom!”
-Link loves to mimic. If you ooooh at him, he will oooooh right back. It is so adorable. He also does this squeal at the end of his “talking” that is so cute.
-The girls got some play makeup for Christmas & Ireland put some on Link. Poor guy J It’s just the beginning.
-He still snorts quite a bit if he’s hungry or mad.
-He still is really liking the NUK binki & takes it before he goes to bed.
-He has a few nick-names, but mom usually calls him Link or “duder-dude-dude.”
-Link’s legs are really getting strong & he can stand up with some help for quite a while!
-We finally came up with his good-night song & the whole family helped. It’s to the tune of “Give Said the Little Stream” and it goes:
Link, Link, our little boy
We Love You, Yes it’s True!
Link, Link, our little boy
You are our pride and joy.

You’re small we know
But you will grow
Your Heavenly Father loves you…

Sleeping, sleeping, all the night
Dream away, oh dream away
Sleeping, sleeping, all the night
Dream oh dream away…