My Family

My Family

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Blessing Day

Yesterday was our sweet baby's blessing.  We grabbed the camera right after we got home and snapped a few pictures before everyone changed out of their church clothes. 


This is my mom with her 11th grandchild. She's a wonderful support to me in every situation I encounter.
Yes, I was slightly stressed.  This picture helped just a little bit.
 I love this picture of my wonderful mother-in-law.
This is only the 3rd time she's seen our littlest.  What a joy.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


She's here!  :)
                                                              Picture taken @ 2 weeks

(And a month old already!)
Our little Natalie made her appearance on April 21st, at 1:16pm.
How grateful I am for her, and her birth.

I was blessed to have the chance to have monthly ultrasounds with this pregnancy.
This was due to "chronic high blood pressure" concerns that were identified at the very beginning of this pregnancy.
While it was another appointment in my busy schedule, it was always fun to see her, her heartbeat, and have her measured for size and appropriate growth.
It was also reassuring to be told time and time again that it really was a girl this time.
(We were told Isaac was "most likely" a girl and/or "We don't see any boy parts" on 4 different occasions before he was born.  Needless to say, we were shocked when HE was born!)

About a month ago, my doctor did an ultrasound that measured our "little" one at 9 lbs, 1oz. (plus or minus a pound).
I was quite concerned about giving birth to such a large baby, as I still had 3 weeks still to go.
Isaac weighed in at 9 lbs. 14 oz. at birth, and his labor/delivery was very difficult for me.
Due to the high blood pressure concerns I had, my doctor talked to me about delivering my daughter early...and I spent 2 days seriously considering how I felt about making that choice for my little girl.
I feel very strongly that babies need to "cook" as long as possible, and that we shouldn't choose convenience for us as the parent over their personal health and development.
That being said, as I considered the choice my doctor had presented, I felt very much that our little girl needed to come to earth sooner rather than later, and that we should progress with the induction on the 21st.

My nerves up to that point were fairly raw.
I truly believed Isaac was my last child, and mentally, I shut a lot of doors mentally and emotionally the day he was born.
Stepping day by day toward delivery had me facing my fears and concerns head on, and sometimes I handled them well, other times with not so much courage.

I borrowed two books on "Childbirth Without Fear" by Grantly Dick-Read and Michel Odent and "Hypnobirthing:  A Celebration of Life" by Marie Morgan to read in the last couple of weeks of my pregnancy.
I loved the concepts they presented, and mentally, I believe they helped me get to a realistic, healthy perspective on what I would be allowing my body to do...hopefully without a lot of pain.

When the morning of the 21st arrived, I headed to the hospital (just a few minutes from my home!) to check in by 6am.
By the time all of the check-in processes were finished and I was taken up to a room, it was nearing 7am.
Pat walked in just after they finished placing the IV.
I'm always relived to have him present...he has always been a very calming influence on me throughout the births of my children.

We spent the next hour and half just resting...I was dozing off, knowing that the next few days would be physically tiring, and Pat was reading...enjoying the peace and calm of the hospital room.
My doctor came in about 8:30am and made 2 decisions:  1) She would break my water, and 2) I needed to use a birthing ball.

I have never had the opportunity to use a birthing ball before, and so I was curious if it would make any difference at all.
The first one the nurse brought in was for in the bed, and was shaped somewhat like a large peanut.
I used that for a while, and when my body was weary from being in that position, I moved to the birthing ball on the floor.
It was amazing to feel an immediate relief of pressure and a shift of gravity while I was on the birthing ball...I truly thought it was great, even initially.

I got back into the bed for a while, and remember making the comment to Pat that it looked and felt like it was going to be quite a while before we moved into transitional labor.
While the contractions were regular, the pain was minimal...more of a pressure than pain.
I've always marked the progression of my labor by the intensity of pain, and so when I once again moved down to the birthing ball, I could feel the intensity of the pressure increase, but I found the pain was still not "intolerable".
It really helped that Pat could wheel a chair up right behind me and put counter-pressure on my back.
Every time I had a contraction, he would apply that counter-pressure, and I found it really felt almost good to know my body was doing what it needed to do to get my little girl here.

I hit a point where I was shaky, sweaty, and having a hard time reasoning through things (about 12:15pm).
I was still on the birthing ball, and not in a huge amount of pain, so in my mind, I thought we had a good hour or two still to go before our baby would make her appearance.
At that point, I became overwhelmed at the thought of enduring labor at this level for another couple of hours...and asked to be checked to see where I was in the dilation process.
My nurse actually told me she couldn't check me unless I was getting an epidural...and I looked at Pat and said, "Fine, I'm getting the epidural!"

I had felt repeatedly that if I got the epidural, I'd have my baby within 5 or 10 minutes, but at that point, I had no physical signs that I associated with transitional labor, and so I thought I was far from the point she would actually be born.
(Pat later told me that he KNEW I was in transitional labor, but also knew I would have a hard time hearing ANYTHING at that point!)
During this procedure, my doctor walked in.
No nurse had called her (last check I had only been dilated to a 4), but she, in her words, "just thought I should come check on you".

As they were placing the epidural, I kept feeling contractions and movement...downward.
I was still sitting on the side of the bed when our little girl decided to move the process forward more quickly.
I guess I said, "Ladies, we're having a baby!" to get everyone's attention.  (I don't remember that!)
My doctor came over to check to see how far I had dilated.
I was at a 9+ and 100% effaced...and with the pain I was in at that point, the doctor said, "Just push, and we'll get this baby here."

I started pushing, and within a minute and just a couple of pushes, our "little" girl was born.
She weighed in at 10 lbs. 3oz.  and measured 22 inches long.


My doctor was wonderful...I truly couldn't have asked for a better experience.  

I've joked that if I had have known that birth could have been that wonderful, I would have had 8 more children.  

I'm so glad our little girl is here.  
She is a true sweetheart...and has been a joy to have in our home.  
She is officially "our princess"...and called that mostly by Sam.  
All of her siblings love her and willingly hold her and help with her as much as they can.  

Monday, May 09, 2011

The Good Part

It’s not that I don’t accomplish a good number of things on my mental TO DO list each day, it’s just that I have had the annoying habit of focusing on what is left undone rather than seeing with clear vision what I have finished on any given day.   
Although I had a morning devotional with the kids completed, 3 carpools driven, showers (with soap!) for all the kids still at home taken , a doctor visit, diagnosis and trip to the pharmacy squeezed into the morning,  along with a short shopping trip to pick up some essential items, the bathroom partway cleaned while I talked on the phone with a friend, other random phone calls and texts completed throughout the day, dinner cooked (and relatively well-balanced), an extra serving of it  delivered to a friend in a dinner exchange, a random act of service completed (driven by a prompting),  and a couple of invitations to an upcoming ANWA open house hand-delivered, I still heaved a weary sigh after dinner was done and I stepped to the sink to do the dinner dishes.  This job, claimed tonight by me, allowed my sick son time to recover.  For me, however, it created a lingering, final frustration.  Our family dinner dishes seldom fit into one dishwasher load, and in my mind, the dishes that would be left on the counter would just be a tangible reminder of all the things on my  list from today that I hadn't been able to accomplish.  
It wasn't until this past Sunday, when I was sitting in the middle of Sacrament meeting that I was touched by an understanding,  a glimpse into my own heart that helped me to draw a parallel into what I can do to change the incessant drive I have had to accomplish more…to expect myself to be able to do everything on my list each day.  The parable of Mary and Martha was recounted from the pulpit, with the words "Martha was cumbered about much serving" and requested that the Savior ask her sister, Mary to help her.  The Savior answered simply, "Martha, Martha, thou art careful (or worried) and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her."  (Luke 10:40-42)  
The words of the Savior touched my heart that day, and I knew of a surety that I had been a Martha.  I worry, even when I serve all day long,  that it's not enough, just as Martha did.  Just as assuredly as I knew I had been a Martha, I also knew that the counsel given her was now being given to me.  In order to find the peace that I desire, to feel like I have completed each day doing the things that are most important, I need to choose "the good part", the part that will not be taken away from me.  
Children need constant teaching, and as the primary driver for my family, I will be delivering children to activities for many years ahead.  We all need to shower repeatedly, and assuredly, we will get ill more than once in our lives.  Friendships need nourished, rooms need to be constantly tidied.  Dinners need cooked daily and dishes always need rewashed.  There is no end to the jobs I do, and each of them can be "taken away from me" as they do not remain completed.  
If I choose however, I can make the good part, the part where I seek the Lord and the Savior, a more comprehensive part of my day.  Focusing on that "good part" alone can change my heart enough to help me to see what I accomplish daily in a different light.  As I focus on making my morning prayers ones of supplication to know the Lord's will, as I stretch my scripture reading into scripture study, and as I strive to listen daily to the promptings of the Holy Ghost, I will feel a deeper peace, an assurance that I am accomplishing something of worth, and ultimately succeeding in my role as a mother, a friend, and a daughter of God.   Truly, "the good part, which shall not be taken away."

Monday, April 18, 2011

Musings on Eight

I'm going to admit something here...something that might shock you a little bit.  
I purposefully throw out the fact that I'm about to give birth to my 8th child 
to random people sometimes just to see what their reaction is.  
I have to be totally honest though, quickly during any conversation, I usually turn part of the credit back to this guy...right here...
(and not just the physical responsibility for helping this child have the opportunity to come to our family).  
My husband is a loving, dedicated father who delights in being a part of each of our children's lives.  
He can tell when my fuse is short, when I need support or a break, and he doesn't treat being with us as a chore or a difficulty.  
I truly believe that if he were of a different mindset or temperament, 
we, as a couple would not have the family we do today.
Our children love each other, 
and while they have their normal sibling quarrels, disagreements and fights, 
               I believe they love each other fiercely and would defend each other if the need ever arose.
                       They find ways to hang out together and include everyone...some of the time.
                    And some of the time they crave independence and freedom from each other.
No matter what, they are all excited about the arrival of our newest little one...
set to arrive by May 3rd.
                  Wish us luck, an extra dose of patience, and lots of health, ok?  We need it!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

{Not Always} Simple

If honesty is the best policy, I have to say that today has been hard.
I feel...let's see...unsure, sad, worried, forgotten.
There is still underlying peace about the job situation, but along with it, the natural part of me wants to KNOW, to SEE, to have SOMETHING accessible to hang onto.
There isn't any of that...and so, I feel like I'm stumbling, walking forward blindly with loads of insecurity.

This too shall pass, I am I was reminded tonight,
"Ye shall receive no witness until after the trial of your faith."--Ether 12:6
Now to trust God...and give this burden, these feelings to him.
Unfortunately, that's not always a simple choice...
but I'm working on it.

Friday, February 18, 2011


On Monday, Pat called me from work.
I responded with a cheery, "Good morning!", to which he responded, "Not really."
As that response was NOT at all typical, I was surprised, but not shocked when he followed those words up with the news that his job had just been officially downsized and he was no longer employed.
(His actual words?  "I was canned this morning.")

Immediately, my heart started pounding, with fear, shock, and concern.
As quickly as those emotions started, I felt a profound peace in my heart.
I knew of a surety at that moment that we are in God's hands.
There is a plan for us.
There is NO question in my mind about the reality of those two statements.
They are reality.

I have no idea what the path ahead will hold for us.
I do know, IF we can and will listen to the voice of the Lord, He will guide us onto the path that He needs us on.

I, literally, have given thanks to God multiple times over the past week for the choice we made about 5 years ago to get our finances in order.
Dave Ramsey, and his Total Money Makeover has literally put us in a place where we can weather this storm without having to dramatically alter our life.
I give thanks to our Heavenly Father for the inspiration and guidance to implement those budgeting strategies then, and not NOW.  
Because we chose to listen and consistently work at it, our debt is almost entirely under control.
We have resources that we can pull from.
We have food in our pantry.
And, most importantly, we have each other.

As trials go, this one is temporal for the most part.
We will count our blessings as we endure this.
Pray for us.
We need clarity and understanding of what God's plan is for us...and we will know.
Of that I have no doubt.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Sunday Thoughts

I have taken the challenge given by our Sunday School President to come prepared to our Sunday meetings.
That doesn't just mean getting my heart ready, but it also means that I do the physical and mental preparation of reading the lesson material that will be discussed during the 2nd two hours of church.
I have been breaking my Gospel Doctrine reading down across the weeknights, and adding in the Relief Society material when my scripture reading is minimal or finished for the night.
It definitely makes my thoughts focus on the concept or principle being taught, and has made for more insightful thoughts on my part as I consider what will be discussed.
It seems like a simple thing to do, but in reality, I have not been diligent about being prepared in this particular aspect of my spiritual life.

Today, as I contemplated getting ready and going to church, I was very excited.
Excited for the spiritual uplift I would be able to partake in...and for the opportunity I had to share the thoughts of my heart and learning with others, and more importantly, learning from the things that others would be able to teach me.

I am grateful...for continual progress.
I am grateful...for the ability to change.
I am grateful...for peace, and joy, and strength that comes from believing in and trying to live in the way  that my Savior, Jesus Christ would want me to live.

What are the changes you want to make, or have made that have blessed your spirit and your life?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Goals and Catching Up

My goal for this year is to blog at least once a month.
It seems like a very attainable goal, and since tomorrow is the last day of January, I thought I'd spend a little time catching up.

For those of you who don't know, I'm now 27 weeks pregnant with our 8th child.
We have been told we will be having a baby girl, which all of us are VERY excited about.
The problem however, is deciding on a name.
We've narrowed the list, but may end up taking it to the hospital in the end and deciding on a name after we see this little one in person.

We went out the 2nd weekend in December and took our annual family pictures.
My sister, Rebecca was kind enough to come out and help us take our pictures and get some really fun shots.
Here are some of my favorites:

We've spent the last month (since the week before Christmas) fighting pneumonia in our home.
Four of us ended up with it....Pat, myself, Stephen and Isaac...with Pat and Stephen having it the worst.
Just this last week, we also had a health scare with Pat's mom, who started bleeding internally and was air-evaced out of her small town to a hospital near us.
She was in the hospital for almost a week, and so Pat's dad stayed here due to his need for companionship due to his memory loss.
He was able to go to the hospital some of the time, but spent a good deal of time here as well.

Christmas was wonderful.
I truly tried to simplify, and felt like in the end, I was able to focus on family and traditions.
My favorite activity of the holiday season was decorating the tree and house as a family.
It brought me a lot of joy to see the younger kids play with the nativity set and enjoy "Baby Jesus".
Pat also decided to take the kids to the dollar store to get gifts for each other.
It was sweet, and sometimes a little comical to see what each child chose for his/her siblings.
(Stephen got 4 cans of silly string!)
My mom and my sister were able to be here for the days surrounding Christmas, and Mom and Dad John came up from Kearny for Christmas dinner.

Our New Year's Eve was very low key as Stephen had been diagnosed with pneumonia and still hadn't started feeling truly better.
We played games, did a puzzle, and watched a movie...and then went out and lit sparklers at midnight.
Everyone was up for the New Year except Stephen.

On the weekend of January 8th, we took our kids to see Wicked, the Musical (in Tucson).
We had given the kids (minus Isaac) tickets to the show for Christmas.
It was 2 days after I had been diagnosed with pneumonia, but I had started an antibiotic, and was actually pretty functional that day.
We have been singing the songs all month long...and enjoyed making the memory together.
We realize that time together is the best gift of all...and the more we can do to build lasting, fun memories, the richer our children will be in life experiences.

Our year ahead looks full and promising!
New baby in late April or early May,
Emily graduating from 8th grade,
Pat and I celebrating year 18 of our marriage,
Nate turning 12 and receiving the priesthood,
Pat graduating with his Master's degree (hopefully by August),
Stephen turning 16(!!) and getting his learner's permit (and hopefully receiving his Eagle scout so he can get his driver's license)...
And those are just the big milestones!!

Wish us luck getting everything accomplished!