Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Butterfly Bandaids, Singing, Food, and Love: One Grandma's Specialty


   Thankfully the three of my four children that are home are all napping right now which is allowing me to come to terms with losing my beautiful and loving Grandma.  It's also allowing me to do the ugly cry without worrying them too much.  I'll be honest, even though I had several days to prepare myself for this, and at times even wished she could go so that she could have her mind and health back, I am not handling this well.  Sometimes I think we don't realize just how much someone meant to us until they're gone. 

    My entire childhood I grew up right next door to my grandparents.  So many of my childhood memories involve them and the joy I felt as a child.  I can still hear the slamming of the chain link gate as I would run next door to visit for a cookie or creamsicle or a butterfly bandaid to make my owies all better.  Or I can hear the slamming of the gate which meant we would soon have a visitor walking through our back door.  I can still see her beautiful pink peonies in full bloom right next to her back door.  I can still hear her beautiful humming that would lead me to her somewhere in her home.  I cherish the memories I have of our family singing four part harmony to FHE hymns, "Down By the Old Mill Stream", and even "Happy Birthday".  (Our family can really rock "Happy Birthday".)

  Her home was always filled with happiness and food.  She would bake for days in preparation of her kids and grandkids coming to visit.  At holidays the counter would be filled with cookies, chips and dip, nuts to crack, and popcorn.  Her puffed rice was a specialty and always served in her avocado-green bowls.  Sunday dinners were around her large kitchen table and her scurrying back and forth between the stove and table until we had to force her to sit down and eat.  Her home was filled with comfort, love, happiness, and peace. 

   My grandma was a true foundation in my life. She was the ultimate example of true love to her spouse, service, love of family, purity, and so much more.  I honestly can say that I do not ever remember hearing an unkind word towards anyone cross her lips.  She and my grandpa are the epitome of true love.  They were always holding hands and speaking softly to one another.  She was my grandpa's "beautiful bride" and his "queen".  And she too knew how to make someone feel loved and special.  Every time I would leave her she would look into my eyes and tell me just how special I was to her and that I was her ray of sunshine.  These past several years as I would say goodbye to her she would include, "You're such a good little mother." Sometimes I would tease and tell her that she didn't see what kind of mother I was at home, but it always made me want to live up to what kind of mother she thought I was. 

  I will forever cherish the memories of my grandma.  Not many are as blessed as I to have lived and loved so close to their grandparents.  I also cherish my knowledge of the plan of salvation and the knowledge that I have that I know I will see her again.  I look forward to meeting her again and seeing her big, beautiful smile and hearing her tell me how happy she is to see me.

Friday, September 7, 2012

I See You

Lately motherhood has left my overwhelmed, exhausted, short-tempered, and... exhausted. In fact, the other night the boys told Bryan that "mom is angry more than you." Ouch. And of course in my mind I had a bunch of reasons to try and justify why.

Today was different. Today I got to see my kids. Really see them. I don't know what made the difference.  Maybe life slowed down a little bit today that I was able to relax and see them for who they truly are. 

Here's what I saw.

As Jace walked up from getting off the bus today he told me he now had two lunchboxes.  He happened to notice that his friend had left his lunchbox and had already left for the day.  So he decided to grab it for him and take it to him.  Not that big of a deal, right?  But that's just it.  That's Jace.  Thoughful, tender hearted, astute, always trying to be the best he can be.  I have no need to worry about this boy.  I saw his heart.

At lunch today Cole told me something that made me cry tears of love and tears of sadness.  He told me that he cried at school today because he missed me.  After lots of questions, it came down to the fact that he really did just miss me.  I asked if his teacher saw him and he said she did and so he was able to sit in the rocking chair and rock with Kermit the Frog until he felt better. Then he was able to run out and finish recess.  Heart wrenching and heart swelling all wrapped in one.  And that's my Cole.  The boy who always wants a hug and always tells me how much he loves me.  The boy who wants to be so grown up, yet really he is just a little boy who still needs his mom. 

Today as we were outside, Lily was playing: moving from one toy to the other, in and out of the house, trying to hula hoop, mothering her baby sister.  "Watch me, Mom" she begged.  And I did watch her.  I saw the wonder and innocence in her.  I saw her imagination.  I saw her determination.  I saw her desire to go to preschool as she wore her backpack for most of the day.  I saw her toe-headed beauty and her bright blue eyes.  She's losing her baby chub and starting to turn into a pretty little girl.  I saw the passion she carries in her eyes and her expressive eyebrows.  I saw her.

Today I saw much less of  Kate's glare that I've seen too much of lately.  (Thank goodness.) I saw a little glimmer of that happy baby I know she can be.  As I was putting her to bed and singing to her, I heard and saw her desire to be recognized and understood as she said, "Mamma? Mamma? Mamma?" until I would stop my singing and answer "what?".  I saw that no matter her young age of 15 months, she wants to be heard and recognized just like the other three. 

As I stood at the kitchen counter tonight rolling out the pizza dough, I realized that this was a day that I desperately needed.  I neeed to see beyond the frustrations of raising four children with different personalities.  I needed to see beyond the sheer exhaustion of motherhood.  I needed to see beyond the unnoticed aspects of my responsibilities.  I needed to see beyond the day to day rutt of things. 

And I was able to today.  I saw my children.  I saw what a huge blessing I have.  I saw that this is what I'm supposed to be doing and what I want to be doing.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Do I Really Have To?

Some days I wonder, "Do I really have to be a mom today?"

It might be because of a sick, whiny child.

It might be because of a child who is grounded because of their fits and disobedience. And then while they are grounded they whine and boob that they are so bored and they have nothing to do that I am then tempted to unground them because their punishment is a greater punishment to me.

It might be because I'm feeling overwhelmed by all of my mom responsibilities of the day.

It might be because I'm just plain tired.

It might be because I've already heard my name said over a thousand times and it's not even noon yet.

It might be because after I clean up one room and move to the next, the first room is already destroyed again.

And it just might be because it ALL happens in the same day.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Kate's Blessing: July 3, 2011

We decided to bless Kate earlier this month. She was only going to be three weeks old, but we were also going to have Rob and Lindsey in town (my BIL and SIL)and so we thought it would be a great time to do it. I was a little worried about her blessing dress. My MIL, Pam, made Lily's blessing dress and at one point when I was pregnant with Kate she said she would make her's as well. However, with only 1 1/2 weeks before the blessing I thought it wouldn't be very kind of me to ask Pam to make Kate's blessing dress on such short notice; especially since she was very busy with other sewing projects at that time. Kate wouldn't be able to wear Lily's because she was so much younger and smaller than Lily when she was blessed. I thought I could have her wear my blessing dress, but it wasn't my ideal choice.

Pam came to the rescue. Pam completely volunteered to make Kate's dress with only a week before the blessing, and I must say it turned out absolutely beautiful. She had to make some adjustments on the size to fit tiny Kate, but it turned out simple, long, and elegant. I loved it.

The Seamstress

Bryan gave Kate a very sincere, beautiful blessing. I told him I thought it was the best one yet. After church we came back to the house and celebrated with family and friends while eating some great food. We are so blessed to have both of our families so close and so supportive. I can't thank them enough for all that they did to make her blessing day memorable.

Marissa's gifts to Kate. The shoes were so big on her tiny feet.

Kate in 1,2,3,4

I cannot believe that Kate is one month old! Time has gone so fast and yet at the same time I feel like we've had her forever. Since I had her, we have been on the go, go, go. We've had multiple doctors visits (mainly for Jace's arm), playdates with cousins who have been in town, her baby blessing, 4th of July activities, and so many other day-to-day tasks. Life has been super busy, but we've managed and are doing well.

Kate has been a great baby and has made adjusting to life with 4 kids pretty darn easy. Here are some little factoids about her:

    She has started to smile and coo and I love it.

    She has acid reflux and so she is on Prevacid like two of her older siblings were.

    She has only ever had one night feeding - 2 am. She is a great sleeper.

    She has her fussy time of night from about 7:00-10:00 which doesn't allow me to blog and do some other things I would like when I want to while the other kids are asleep because that means I'm holding her.

    She is so long and skinny.

    She has a VERY loud pteradactyl-esque/raptor-like scream. It has mellowed some as she's gotten older. (When Bryan and I first heard it in the hospital we compared her to the Mandrakes on Harry Potter.)

    Her siblings ADORE her: Jace and Cole beg to hold her and Lily is constantly trying to give her her binki and constantly saying, "Hi, Kate!".

    She still has her dark hair and dark complexion and I believe will have brown eyes - so different from the other kids.

She has been so much fun (for me because I LOVE newborns) and I could literally spend all day snuggling with her on my chest, which just happens to be her favorite place too.





Thursday, June 16, 2011

Kate's Birth Story

One day old

When I found out that I was pregnant with Kate I knew that I wanted to have a natural delivery. I had had an epidural with all three of the other kids, and as Kate was "our last", I really wanted to try the natural route. I never had a bad experience with any of my previous labors or epidurals, I just wanted the experience of natural childbirth. Bryan thought I was crazy and was very vocal about it. According to him, he didn't want to see me suffer and he always asked me why I would want to put myself through voluntary pain. For me, I wanted the experience. That's as simply as I can put it. I figured that God created women to give birth and so why not experience what we were created to do? Yes, I am completely aware that many people, including family members, think I'm crazy and that this isn't a good enough reason; but for me, it was.

I planned all along to go natural and I prepared myself by reading a book on hypnobirthing. It helped put my fears aside and gave me a "method" to get through labor. I always hoped that I would have a fast labor so that I wouldn't have to endure the pain for a long time, and talking to my doctor and a family friend that was an OB, based on my previous labors, they both felt that I would have a fast labor, a labor that would probably be 1.5 hours. Well, yep. They were absolutely right.

So here is the very detailed version of Kate's crazy, fast birth story.

I had a doctor appointment on Thursday, June 9, at 4:00. I was officially one day overdue. As I went to the doctor, I had my hospital bag packed and the kids' suitcase packed in the car to stay overnight at my parents just in case. I had a feeling that that night might be the night she came, so I was prepared. At the appointment, the doctor checked me and I was dilated to a 4 and 75% effaced. He stripped my membranes (again) and told me that he wouldn't be surprised if I was back later that night. I told the doctor to keep in mind that I lived in Eagle Mountain (and we had to make it to Riverton hospital) and asked him how far apart my contractions should be when I needed to go to the hospital. He told me I needed to come in at 5 minutes apart because he felt that I would go fast.

That evening I was having contractions here and there and we decided to leave the kids at my parents' house for the night. This ended up being a very wise decision. Bryan and I went home and relaxed. Okay, not really. (*Sidenote: I went home and started vacuuming. Bryan refused to let me "ruin my hearing" with our extremely loud vacuum. He made a quick impromptu trip to WalMart to buy a new vacuum while I relaxed and breathed through contractions. He came home, assembled the vacuum and I finished vacuuming. Classic Bryan and Ashlee story before a baby is born.)

I was still having contractions that evening. They would be regular for a bit and then stop for an extended period of time. I wasn't really able to fall asleep because of the contractions, and at 11:30 pm I started having regular contractions at 8 minutes apart. As much as I had prepared with hypnobirthing, that went out the door. I didn't feel like the hypnobirthing was working for me and I felt I could get more relief various other ways. I got out of bed and walked around the house, played Solitaire on my phone, and tried to breathe through them and relieve them in various positions while Bryan got a little bit of sleep. Pretty quickly to contractions went from 8 minutes to 5 minutes. At that point I went in the bedroom and woke up Bryan and told him that we needed to go, to which he woke up with the reply of a very loud, "Ughhhhhhhhhhhh!" To which I replied, "Excuse me? What are YOU groaning about?" Apparently for him it wasn't "good timing". Ha!

Bryan quickly grabbed the things he needed and we loaded into the car and headed out. It was about 12:40 am, and as soon as we got going the contractions dropped to 4 minutes apart. As we got to Camp Williams on Redwood Road, the contractions were then 2 minutes apart and getting harder. I wondered how much longer I would be able to handle them. They were intense. We turned onto Bangerter and when we did that, the mother of all contractions hit. WOW!! This contraction came and it kept going and going. I think I howled in pain - no, I know I howled in pain. I ripped my seatbelt off, put my foot up on the seat and pushed up off it to try and help relieve something! I always wondered how I would know when I went into the "transition" stage of labor where the baby would drop down into the birth canal and I would be in the final stage. Well, now I knew. This contraction went on "forever" and brought a sharp pain with it and I literally felt the baby drop.

Bryan really started speeding at this point and we were only a few minutes away from the hospital. We hit a red light one stop light away from the hospital and I yelled at Bryan to turn right and go a different way. We were a few blocks away when another contraction hit and oh boy, the "pressure" contractions set in. It was if her head was right there and I cried, "Oh my goodness Bryan, she's coming!" Panic set in on Bryan and he REALLY started to speed because there was no way he was going to be delivering that baby in the car. We pulled up to the hospital doors, Bryan turned off the car, grabbed the bag, and raced into the hospital to try and find a wheelchair. Luckily there were two security guards to assist us, one got a wheelchair while the other got the elevator. Meanwhile, I got out of the car and started walking into the hospital and made it between the two double doors when another contraction came. Bryan turned around to find me hunched over with my hands on my knees and groaning. I literally looked at the dirty floor mat and contemplated getting down on my hands and knees hoping to find some relief from the pressure. The pressure was crazy. Like women have said before, it felt like I needed to poop REALLY bad. But at the same time I knew even doing that wouldn't bring relief. It was like there was a heavy balloon filling up inside of me and expanding and pushing down on my bum. (Graphic enough? Well, that's what it felt like.) They wheeled me up to the Labor and Delivery floor and as we turned the corner there were a few nurses standing at the desk. When they saw me the charge nurse, said, "Oh we have one." I gave her THE look and she said, "Oh, okay. Let's get you in here and check you."

I got into my delivery room and my nurse, Wendi, told me that I had to get undressed so that she could check me. I literally threw my jacket off and all modesty went out the window as I stripped down in front of three nurses. In fact, I ripped my shirt off forgetting that I had put my bra on and I got all entangled in it with my arms pinned up by my head. Awesome. So finally after getting undressed the nurse checked me and I was of course fully dilated and engaged. The nurse told one of the other nurses to call my doctor and to call him at home. He only lives in Daybreak and so he should have been able to get there quickly.

I laid on my right side and gripped the hand rail and held on while the other contractions came. As Bryan said, he thinks I left imprints on that hand rail. Wendi, my nurse, sat by my side and coached me through the contractions. At this point it was the pressure that I had to endure, and I held on and "ooohhhhhed" my way through them. I'm proud to say I wasn't screaming and hollering, it was just a low moan and I was able to remain in control. Wendi just kept saying,"Don't push Ashlee" as I held on and breathed. They were just waiting on my doctor. I didn't care if the doctor was there, I just wanted to deliver this baby!

The pressure kept coming and soon I got to experience "The Ring of Fire". And yes, it is just what it sounds like, a. ring. of. fire. The burning sensation wasn't as "hot" as I thought it would be, but it was still quite uncomfortable. On one contraction my bag of water partially came out which I thought it was the baby's head (and it felt like it), and I asked, "Is she here?" Bryan and the nurse told me no, but that they could see her head. At that point the baby's heart rate started to drop and the nurses then said, "We need to deliver this baby." My doctor hadn't arrived yet and that didn't matter anymore, she was coming. There was no more waiting for Doctor Slowpoke.

Wendi took control and told me that I was going to push with the next contraction. Two contractions and three pushes later, Kate made her way into this world at 1:15 am on June 10, about a whole 15 minutes after arriving at the hospital. What a whirlwind! She was beautiful, healthy, and tiny. She was 6 lbs. 8 oz. and 20 inches long. She had dark hair and a dark complexion and looked nothing like our other three, but she was beautiful just like her siblings.

The doctor finally made it in time to deliver my placenta! He came in to do all the clean up work. I actually tore a little bit and had to have a couple of stitches and so he stitched me up. No, I did not feel the actual tearing. I had no idea. I actually felt fine after delivering her. The pressure and burning left with the baby, and I had no more pain or discomfort. It's amazing how fast it all left and how back to normal I felt. It was great to be able to move my legs on my own, sit up on my own, and just feel normal. The way a woman's body goes through labor and recovers so quickly from childbirth truly is miraculous.

Of course I had some tenderness and soreness over the next few days, but I felt better quicker than I did with the other kids and when I had episiotomies versus this time when I slightly tore. Truly the worst part of this recovery was the contractions and cramping I would get when I nursed. I felt that was a little unfair since I already went through labor unmedicated and every time I nursed I felt like I was going through it again. Any medication I took was to relieve the pain and discomfort of postpartum contractions.

So the question is: Would I go natural again? I have to be honest and say that if I had hours worth of labor, I most likely would have gotten an epidural. That is why I am grateful that my labor was only 1 hour 45 minutes long and I didn't have a choice even if I did want an epidural. It would be extremely difficult to not get an epidural if it was hours worth of hard contractions. However, IF I were to have another baby (and I'm not planning on it), I can't say I wouldn't go natural. The fact is, if I were to have another and I was not induced, but went into labor on my own, it would most likely be even faster and I wouldn't have the chance to get an epidural and would have to go natural again. If you're wanting to go natural, it's kind of nice to be forced into it and not be able to back out. So, would I go natural again? Possibly. Probably.

Maybe it's my outlook on life, maybe I have a high pain tolerance, or maybe I just have a bad memory; but as crazy, insane, and intense as my labor was, I would never say it was absolutely horrible or one of the worst things I've ever experienced. I'm grateful that I was able to experience natural childbirth and I'm proud to be able to say that I did it. For me, it was worth it.

Minutes old.

My rockstar nurse, Wendi, and the deliverer of Kate.

Our first family picture.

Hours old.

The Beginning of an Exciting Week

The week Kate was born was an interesting week, to say the least. Sunday, June 5, our family went over to my parent's house for a family dinner. When I walked into their house, I had an awesome surprise waiting for me: Rissa and her family decided to make a surprise visit and were here to stay for a few weeks. She was going to be here for Kate's birth! Yay! (And I can't even begin to describe what a life saver she's been while she's been here.)

We had a very fun dinner all together to celebrate my dad's birthday and all of the little cousins were having a great time playing together on the teeter-totter. One of the smaller cousins would sit on one side of the teeter-totter while Jace would then push down the other side, stand on the seat, and then jump off leaving the other kid to slam to the ground where they would laugh and laugh at being jolted. All of the adults were getting quite the quick out of the kids' reactions and everyone was having a good laugh. Until...it was done just one too many times.

Jace went to jump off the seat and his feet got entangled in the handle bar and he fell off the teeter-totter, landing on his arm. I knew immediately that he had done something very wrong. I ran over to him and he rolled over holding his arm crying that it was broken. Sure enough, I took one look at it and saw that it had a slight bend in his arm just above his right wrist. Travis was kind enough to splint his arm and we took off for Kidscare at Riverton Hospital at 9:15 at night. At the hospital the x-rays confirmed what we already knew: a broken arm.

All the while, Bryan had been sicker than a dog the last few days and was still not feeling well on Sunday. He had a sore throat of all sore throats and felt absolutely miserable. AND, I was due any day. The week was starting out to be very interesting with much more to come...

This picture is on Wednesday, June 8-my due date-and also the day that Jace got his cast on.

And this picture is thrown in just for fun because it pretty much sums up mine and Jace's relationship lately. I get this look quite often these days.