Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Well, THAT hurt...

Thanks so much for your prayers and positive vibes, friends. I had my amniocentesis today in SLC and it seemed to go well.

Despite the fact that they stuck a needle the length of a TV remote into my stomach without any kind of local anesthesia.

Did it hurt? Yeah. Luckily, it was a very skinny needle. I'm grateful for that. I knew my friend Megann had an amnio with her last pregnancy, and when I asked her about it, her eyes widened. Like, "Oh, you don't want to know." It was really cute. I pressed her for more info, though. She said that you can feel the needle go through the different layers of you. And she was right. First skin, then fat (I don't think Megann felt a needle going through fat in her experience, because she doesn't have an ounce of fat on her, but I sure do, and in plentiful amounts), then muscle, then uterus, then the "bag of waters." (I love it when they call it that.) I think I bruised Ben's hand as I held it. He thought the whole process was so cool. I felt like I was going to die a slow and painful death.

It didn't last long at all. They extracted what they needed, and then pulled the needle slowly out. Only then did I take my hand off my eyes. There was no way I was going to watch the on-my-stomach version OR the in-my-uterus version on the screen. Blech. And then I realized that I was going to barf. They helped me down, and I knelt over their garbage can to barf. No barf came, but then I almost fainted. So I lay on the floor of the examination room for awhile. Eventually, I felt better and we were able to leave. My uterus cramped up for about an hour where the needle had been inserted. But it feels better now. Just kind of tender to the touch. And I feel compelled to move kind of slowly. I'm not allowed to pick up Micah until tomorrow afternoon, which he'll hate. That's life, son. Not always fun. Trust me on that.

All weekend, and all this week, I felt really great about getting this done. The risk is very minimal to the baby, but there is a teensy-weensy bit of a risk involved.

After we were done, however, I had buyer's remorse. How could I be so selfish? How could I sacrifice Gage's safety in the womb just so I could have peace of mind? How big of a jerk am I???

That was my thought process as we ate lunch at Rubio's with my darling friend Pooh and her adorable kids and her very swollen belly. And may I just say, oh, how I have missed you, Rubio's. And oh, how I have missed you, Pooh. And that was my thought process all the way home, while I tried to sleep in my uncomfortable sedan with Led Zepplin blasting loudly so that Ben could stay awake. Note: I love Led Zepplin. But Robert Plant is not the best person to fall asleep to, especially when the speaker to the back is right by my ear when I recline the front seat.

Sorry, my many good friends in the SLC area. I wish I could have seen all of you. But I felt crummy and needed to get home and in bed. Or, in my case, I needed to get in my couch bed. Because I still can't sleep in my own bed. Sigh. I will be back in SLC very soon, when Pooh's tummy finally pops.

I stewed about my amniocentesis more tonight, as I greeted my children and my exhausted mom. (I'm so sorry you had to deal with them, Mom. I will be getting drugs for Dylan soon. [More on that later, readers.]) I stewed about it as Ben and I bathed the kids and put them to bed. I stewed about it as I finished my book club book (Enchantment by Orson Scott Card. Pretty good read. But nothing compared to The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, which I read last week. OMG. That is one for buying, for reals. My birthday is coming up, friends... hint, hint, hint) while Ben was playing basketball at the church.

I only wish I felt good enough to play basketball. I miss feeling good.

Sorry. I think Dylan comes by his ADHD genetically. From his mama. I get distracted easily. And yep, he officially has ADHD. Which is what my next post will be about, I promise.

So. Back on track. When Ben came back from basketball, I asked him for yet another blessing of comfort. Poor guy. I ask for lots and lots of blessings when I'm pregnant, I notice.

He gave me an amazing, powerful, very reassuring blessing. A blessing that brings tears to my eyes as I think of the promises he gave concerning this amazing child I'm carrying. Things that are too sacred to share here, but things I will hold close to my heart for as long as I live.

I love Heavenly Father. I love the priesthood. I would be lost without this gospel.

Okay. Wiping tears away.

I got another ultrasound right before the amniocentesis, and things look fantastic as far as the Anti-Lutheran aspect of things. The doctors just got the results of my blood test from last week. The level of my antibodies seems to be going down, which is great. They're down by half. From the ultrasound, the perinatologist was able to measure anemia again, and that is down by like 4%. These are all great things.

And the ultrasound tech was kind enough to give us more ultrasound pictures. I was so glad, because we only got one last week. Wanna see 'em? I knew you would.

Flexing his bicep, the little macho man:

Waving hello:

Giving his mama the thumbs-up:

And, finally, showing off his... manhood:

You may not be able to tell. It's like he's sitting on the camera. That's his pelvis. His femurs kind of fade away in this shot. But then you see the pelvic bones, and there in the middle....yep. All boy. And proud of it.

The little stinker wouldn't show us his face. He wasn't gonna do it. Maybe next time. I only have to get an ultrasound every two weeks now. So we shall see. We'll get a face shot yet.

Sorry for the stream-of-consciousness style of this post. Chalk it up to me only getting three hours of sleep last night. Yep, that phase is already starting. The you're-exhausted-but-you're-not-able-to-sleep-for-some-reason phase. And I have five more months of this crap to go.

You can stop being jealous of me now.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I'm SOOOO sorry.

I was barfing this morning, and Sadie came to the bathroom door, regarding me with what I imagine was a lot of disdain. I couldn't actually see her face, because I was otherwise occupied.

"Mom," she said, "That is DISGUTHTING." (with her little lisp)

Excuse me for living.

The other morning, I was barfing, and Dylan started yelling at me that he wanted a drink. "Why aren't you getting me a drink, Mom? I'm so thirsty!! I need your HELP!!" Obviously, when I recovered from my little barfing episode, I laid into him pretty thick. Things like, "Can you help other people while you're barfing??? NEITHER CAN I!!!"

I am pretty sure I have the most selfish children alive.

My amniocentesis is tomorrow. Wish me luck. And pray for me, s'il vous plait. Merci.

Monday, March 29, 2010

We miss the Mexicans.

So. When we lived in San Diego, most of the people who worked in McDonalds were Hispanic. They were fast and always got our order right. We loved it.

When we moved here, we noticed a drastic change in the McDonalds workers. Most of them are white high school kids. They are slow, and they mess up our order 99% of the time. We usually have to check our food, then knock on their window and tell them that they messed up, asking them to give us the right food.

A couple of weeks ago, the kids and I went to get some burgers at Mickey D's. I asked for one girl toy and two boy toys with our happy meals. As we were driving away, Dylan immediately searched his Happy Meal for his toy. It's obviously the most important part to him. In his bag, he found a girl toy. He figured that he got Sadie's bag by mistake, so he switched her. Another girl toy. He checked Mikey's bag. Another girl toy. Three girl toys. He started crying (he's very emotional lately), so since we were still kind of leaving the parking lot, I just swung back through the drive-in and switched two of the girl toys for boy toys. Dylan calmed down, but he was still sniffling.

"Mom, I miss the Mexicans in San Diego."


"They never messed up our toys. And they always got us the right food. I wish there were Mexicans working at McDonalds up here."

It was really funny.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Too Much Information

I know that it's a bit oxymoronic for me to be talking about someone who gave me a bit too much info, because I'm the Overshare Queen, but I think this story is really funny.

My friend, Megs, and I went window shopping a couple of weeks ago. We're both preggars, and we wanted to take a looky at the stuff in Motherhood and at Target. When we entered Motherhood, we had a few blessed moments of solitary looking until the store clerk came up to us.

Store Clerk: Hello, ladies, how are you doing today?

Us: Oh, fine. How are you?

Store Clerk: Well, I'm just going absolutely crazy here. I mean, I love my job, but there are no WINDOWS in this store. And I just need to have windows.

Us: [Uncomfortably] Oh, yeah, we can see that...

Store Clerk: I used to work at Barnes and Noble in the coffee shop. Now that place had windows. It was so awesome. I loved my job. But then they totally fired me.

Us: [Glancing at each other like, "Is this for reals?"] Oh, wow, that sucks...

Store Clerk: Yeah. It was so unfair. I didn't know that my son had diabetes. And he went into diabetic shock and almost died, and then they had to life flight him down to Salt Lake. And I was on the life flight with him. And Barnes and Noble called me and were like, "Why aren't you at work?" And I was like, "My son is DYING." And I had to stay down there for, like, a few days, you know? To be with my son. And they totally fired me over it.

Us: [Edging away] Oh, wow, diabetes. That is really horrible.

Store Clerk: Oh, it's awful. But he's doing okay now.

Us: Oh, good....

Store Clerk: And I heard that they may have an opening at Barnes and Noble again. And even though they totally don't deserve me, I'm going to apply for it, because I already know all of the different things you put into the different drinks, you know? And hopefully they won't have hard feelings about me going to Salt Lake with my son. But they really shouldn't. I mean, he was in diabetic SHOCK. And if I get my old job back, I can be in a place that has windows again!!!

Us: Man, that would be really great...

Store Clerk: Well, is there anything you're looking for?

Us: No, just looking...

Store Clerk: Okay, well, let me know.

And she finally walked away.

It's not that I don't feel badly for her for her son, and losing her job, and all, but, um, SHE'S NOT MY FRIEND. It was really bizarre. And really funny. She must have been desperate for conversation.

Friday, March 26, 2010

More Complications

I got an AFP test on Monday - it's a blood test to see if the baby might have certain problems - spina bifida, Down's Syndrome, etc. My doc called me yesterday to tell me that my blood indicates a higher possibility that my baby has Down's Syndrome. The normal girl my age has a 1 in 450 chance of having a baby with Down's. My blood shows my chance as being 1 in 125.

I cried for a long time. I know that children with mental disabilities are special children. They are innocent and perfect. They bring huge blessings to their families. But it's not something I would ever wish for. I worry about my capability to deal with the extra difficulties this baby would have. I worry about being able to take care of all four of my children.

Our doc said we could get an amniocentesis to find out for sure, or we could just wait until we delivered. Ben and I decided that we just have to find out. I did a little bit of research and talked to my doc about the risks involved. I could have a bit of amniotic fluid leakage. Some cramping. The risk of harming the baby is very minimal. I need to just prepare myself. If the baby has Down's, I need to know, so I can wrap my mind around it.

We don't have a perinatologist here; he comes up once a month. (I saw him Wednesday. He has a cool accent. Like maybe South African or New Zealand or something.) My option was to get tested on April 14th and get the test results at the end of April, or go down to Salt Lake next week and get the test results two weeks after that. I chose Salt Lake. (I'm calling you, Pooh. Obviously I want to hang out with you afterwards, if you aren't going into labor!)

So that is that. I did okay yesterday evening, but then bedtime hit and I was a wreck again. I asked Ben for a blessing, and that really helped. As usual, the blessing didn't give any indication of what I really need to know, but it said that this baby will be a force of peace and happiness in our home. And that Heavenly Father has important plans for him.

Ben feels totally at peace. He's not worried at all. I'm getting there. :)

Prayers, please?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

It's a Boy!!!

Hm. That sounds like I just had my baby at 16 weeks. If only that was possible. :)

Yep, yep, yep, we had a special ultrasound with a perinatologist yesterday (because of my Anti-Lutheran issue), and I said, "Heyyyyyyyyyy.... while you're at it, is there any way you can see the sex?" Both the ultrasound tech and the perinatologist said that there is absolutely NO DOUBT that this is a boy, boy, boy. He wasn't shy about showing his nethers. Sadie was very modest in there and kept her legs together when we had her ultrasound, but not this man.

Did I want a girl? Yeah, I thought it would be nice. But I'll take what I get. A healthy, happy, fuzzy, snuggly, sweet-smelling baby of any sex is AOK with me. So my BFF Pooh is going to get all my baby girl clothes. I cannot WAIT to clean out half of my storage room. I swear all that is in there are kids' clothes of all sizes. This is an exciting time for the Clean Sweep Addict, Kar. (I watched an episode of that this morning, and it made me so happy.)

They only gave me one picture of my little man:

As far as ultrasound pictures go, it ain't bad. With my other kids' ultrasound pics, they all looked horribly malformed. Dylan's nose looked about seven feet long. Micah looked like Skeletor. Though, in this one, it looks like our new little man has a really fat tongue he's sticking out, or something. Maybe he's punching himself with his left fist. You never know.

And he was SO. DANG. CUTE. I had some Skittles right before the visit, so he was in a happy sugar fix. He was a wiggle-meister. And in the cutest way possible. And at one point, he settled down for some rest, and he was in this position:

I totally just stole this off of my friend, Megan Blethen's, blog. She is a fantastic photographer. And this is her website. Check her out. She takes all of my family's pics.

Anywho. I love when babies are in that position. Soooo cute. I am just a baby lover. Almost as much as Ben. He is a plain old baby hog. If there is a baby in the room, he takes over.

As far as the baby's health: All of his organs are looking great. He's at the right size. All is well in that aspect. The perinatologist looked at the artery in the baby's head and was able to tell, based on the rate of the blood flow, how anemic the baby is. If 100% is where you need to give the baby a blood transfusion immediately, our little man is at about 30%. This means that I need to go in and have an ultrasound once a week to make sure he's okay.

And you know what, I'm fine with that. I'm lucky I get to see him more often than a regular pregnant person would. I could watch him all day long. Am I lucky that my body is attacking my baby? No. But I'm trying to look at the bright side. Here is another ray of light - I don't have to do that thing where I drink 48 ounces of water and have to hold it in for like two hours before the appointment and am ready to kill everyone. Honestly, I think the drinking-tons-of-water-and-having-to-hold-it thing is almost as bad as labor. It's right up there with the IV they give you when you're in labor and delivery. I HATE IV's.

I didn't have to do the water thing yesterday, either. Isn't that awesome? I won't ever, ever have to go through that again, because, as I have iterated before, THIS IS MY LAST PREGNANCY. The end. Finito. They saw everything they needed to see without me being a big balloon of water.

If the baby's anemia gets too high/too dangerous, they will have to do an intra-uterine blood transfusion. I found out that they don't have vaccines for the Anti-Lutheran antigen. Only the Rh antigen. The blood transfusion is the only thing they can do. They would give me a local anesthetic, put a big needle in there, and sedate the baby so that he doesn't wiggle all around. Then they would take some blood from the baby's umbilical cord. They would test it to see what blood type my baby has. Then they would insert a tube into the umbilical cord and give the baby the same type of blood that he has. I've never had a blood transfusion, so I wasn't sure how they work. I asked the doc. He says that, essentially, if a baby is anemic, his blood is just too thin. In a transfusion, they just add blood to what he already has to thicken it. And that's it. Hopefully they would only need to do it once.

Does it freak me out to think about these things going inside and meddling with my baby? Uh, yeah. I'm going to make them put a sheet up, like they do for C-Sections. I'm not kidding you. I'm the squeamish type. I can't even look when they're drawing my blood every month. But the doc insists that it is very safe for the baby. And I'll do anything to ensure he gets here safe and sound.

Aren't we lucky to be having babies in this day and age??? This baby could die without these things! Micah probably would have died when he came out of me, not breathing. Thank goodness for the neo-natal nurses. It's such a blessing to be living in this day and age.

With each pregnancy, I have the unpleasant symptoms from the pregnancy before, and then several more things are added. It's reached this crescendo of discomfort and pain. The new things that have been added this time around are 1) Ever-present, all-encompassing, never-abating exhaustion. I should be pulling out of that phase by now, but it's still there in full force. I've never been so incapacitated by exhaustion before. 2) My little spit thingeys underneath my tongue (yes, that is the scientific name for them) are really overproducing the spit. It's like gallons and gallons per day. I'm swallowing gallons of my own spit all day long. It makes me feel even more nauseated than I already am. I can't sleep, because it's like a flood in my mouth all the time.

And here's something I've been thinking about since yesterday. I get these same two symptoms whenever I have a virus or a bacterial infection. My body is fighting these invadors really hard. I think the reason I have these two symptoms with this pregnancy is because my antibodies are fighting this baby. To my blood cells, this baby is an invader, a parasite. My body is working overtime to kill this baby. I think that's why all the spit and exhaustion. Just my professional Kar opinion. Since I know so much about science and I'm so good at it.

Alright, on to more pleasant things - names. I had three boy names up on my blog for awhile. However, a few weeks ago, I was looking at my name book and came across the name Gage. I liked it. I wanted to add it to my poll, but I kept forgetting. And then Ben finally went through the name book, and he, too, picked Gage. In fact, that is the only name he liked out of all of them. Since we both liked it, I think we're going to go with it. Gage. And we're going to go with Casper for a middle name. Not because we are a fan of Casper the Friendly Ghost. I mean, he's nice and everything....But Casper is actually a family name on Ben's mom's side. We've tried to give a nod to each grandparent with each of our kids' middle names. Gloria is the only one who hasn't had her name involved, so we're going with Casper in honor of her. His name will be Gage Casper Awesome. Because Awesome is our last name. :)

And now that we have picked a name, Mom, you can feel free to stop talking about it. :) My mom is OBSESSED with baby names. My cousin's wife, Ashley, had a baby last fall. She was pondering names last summer, and my mom caught wind of it. So she writes this enormous e-mail to Ashley with all of these names she's been thinking about. When Nat and I were pregnant with Micah and Ivy, the woman would not stop talking about it. Nat was starting to get really annoyed, and one evening I had to put my hand on Mom's arm and say, "Mom, you have got to stop this. Natalie is going to kill you." While my sisters, Dad, and I were skiing a few weeks ago, I got three text messages from Mom about some names that she, her brother, and her sister were talking about for my baby while they were on a drive to Southern Utah. I truly think they talked about it for the whole eight hour drive. Three texts. No asking how our skiing day went, or if we had a safe drive. Nope, the texts were all baby name suggestions. I texted her back, saying, "I can't believe you texted me three times about baby names." She texted me back, saying, "So what do you think?"

So it's Gage, Mama. The end.

I asked my mom yesterday if she wants my baby name book, now that we're done with it. Since she is so obsessed. She said no, but I still think maybe I'll give it to her for Mother's Day. :)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tiny Dancer

I was a ballerina. I danced for most of my childhood, and I loved it. I loved expressing myself through dance. Over time, the different moves and French names that went with those moves were so tightly engrained in my soul. I stood with my feet turned out. I sat with my feet turned out. I kept my diaphragm sucked in by habit. Instead of standing around and talking to my friends before school started, I talked with them while doing rond de jambes, tendus, and plies. I'm sure it bugged the heck out of them. It was so deeply a part of me.

As I got into junior high, my dance teacher started to pressure me quite a bit - she demanded that I take more classes, that I devote more nights a week to my craft. My parents gave in to my pleas, and I was happy and getting better and better. I was dancing in pointe shoes. I was doing pas de deux - dancing with a male partner, with lifts, dips, spins, the whole shebang.

When I entered high school, I got the lead in our annual recital. We did an additional recital with the symphony that year, as well. But I was starting to feel some different yearnings. I wanted to play high school softball. I wanted to get involved in student government. I wanted to give drama a try. My dance teacher found this unacceptable. I couldn't devote any time to any other pursuits. She was pressuring me to go to expensive dance camps all over the nation. She was charging exorbitant amounts for billions of costumes. When my mom asked her a question about one of my costumes, she unceremoniously kicked me out of her studio.

She went through a weird phase, I heard later. She kicked out her secretary. She kicked out my beloved Romanian technique teacher, Marius. She kicked out at least ten other girls. I hear wind of her still doing the same thing today. A gal who lives on my parents' street just got kicked out for some reason or another. That dance teacher of mine was a psycho. Is still a psycho.

I thought of joining a different studio across town, equally good, but I decided to take a hiatus and do some fun stuff. I don't regret it. I had so. much. fun. in high school. So much fun. I resumed ballet when I went to college. I didn't major in it - I decided I wanted to teach English (another decision I don't regret). But I made sure to take an advanced-level ballet class every semester. I was happy. I was finishing my fourth year of college and preparing to finish the following year (Yes, it took me five years to graduate. I was taking way too many "fun classes"), and the head of the ballet department pulled me aside after class. She told me she wanted me to try out for the BYU ballet team.

Ohhhhhhhhhhhh. My dream. I always talked about doing that when I was growing up. They travel all over the world, performing. It would be AMAZING. I decided to go for it, and I spent the summer of '99 dancing my guts out at the good studio across town. My feet were their strongest. I was in peak physical condition. I was ready to rock that try-out and be a star. I moved down to BYU for my final year and prepared to try out that first week.

And the Spirit gave me a big old NO. NO. No. You aren't supposed to do this. It isn't in your plan. I knew that five-hour-a-day practices would require me to postpone my graduation even further. There was no way I could do my credit hours, and then student teach, while dancing five hours a day. It broke my heart, but I listened, and I didn't try out. I took a kickboxing class that year, and started jogging a little bit. I missed dancing. But I had to graduate and move on with my life.

I graduated. I got a job. I met my husband. I got married. I was teaching and exhausted. I had no time or energy to dance. I had my first baby. I was a working mom. I quit my job, but then had more babies. I was pushing my husband through school. We didn't have money for me to take dance classes. People always ask me why I didn't just "practice in my house." Please. You need a big studio with proper flooring. You need a mirror. You need another person's opinions and input. It's like asking a bricklayer to lay bricks without his mortar.

It's been eleven years since I last set foot in a studio. When I point my feet, they cramp up. When I attempt an arabesque, I can't go very high, and my back muscles cramp up. Grand plies are darn near impossible for me. It makes me sad.

I knew that, eventually, the question of whether to put Sadie in dance would come up. Honestly, I really didn't want to. This is going to sound completely psycho, but here it is: I didn't want to watch her doing something I loved, and not be able to do it myself. Completely selfish and weird of me.

My cousin, Kort, moved here from California last fall, and she just started a dance studio in her home. She has always found a way to continue dancing, even in the middle of having four kids. She taught for fifteen years down there, and is starting up here now. She has taught all ages, but she really enjoys teaching dance to preschoolers. So that's her focus. My mom is making costumes for Kort, so Kort offered to have Sadie take lessons for free.

So, with a sigh, I signed her up.

And honestly, it has been so stinkin' fun. Sade and I went together to get tights, ballet slippers, and to pick out her leotard. It felt like home, tightening her laces, knotting them, trimming them, and then tucking them in properly, instead of leaving gay bows. She tried her stuff on, and I told her she couldn't wear underwear under her tights. No dancer in her right mind wears undies under her tights. Sadie danced around in her ballet clothes all day, saying, "I'm so booful!!"

On her first day of dance class, she saw my cousin's daughter, Morgan, and they both looked at each other and started squealing and jumping up and down. They were soooooo excited. It was so freakin' cute. I helped her get her shoes on and everything, and then she said, "You can go now, Mom." Uh, okay. So I visited my mom for the hour.

Kort not only teaches ballet, but she has them use creative movement. She uses those twirly ribbons that are on sticks. She has them play games to learn dance movements. She lets them do somersaults and cartwheels on a gym mat sometimes. She really keeps it moving, and the kids love it. She really has a way of working with little ones, and the girl has so much energy. I keep telling her that she needs to bottle it and give it to me. I would die and go to heaven to have that kind of energy.

I was determined to get some photos of Sadie's second dance class.

Here they were, making a flower that closes and opens when they point and flex their feet:

Doing the butterfly stretch - uncomfortable for a first-timer, I'm sure:

Standing in first position - equally uncomfortable:

Sadie's plies crack me up. I forget that the normal human body doesn't naturally do these things:

I took several more pictures of some of the activities they did, and then Sadie turned from Dr. Jekyl into Ms. Hyde. She stopped following instructions. She sat in the middle of the floor and put her little skirt over her head. She kept giving me withering glares. Then, in the middle of a tendu exercise, she yelled at me, "STOP LOOKING AT ME, MOM!!" and stuck her tongue out at me, in front of tons of watching mothers.

It was special.

Not wanting to make a scene, I took my exit. I ran a couple of errands, and when I came to pick her up, they were finishing up with a cute little jazz dance they're learning. Again with the withering glares and lack of cooperation.

When class was over, I had to take her into Kort's bathroom to change her into school clothes to go straight to school. I told her that, if she ever yelled at me or stuck her tongue out at me again in class, she couldn't go to ballet again. I told her that, if she didn't do what Kortney says, she can't take ballet anymore. And I told her that I'm allowed to watch her dance. I'm her mommy.

Last week, I didn't stay. I went home and showered. I'll just have to wait until her recital to watch her, I guess, which is fine. Kort says this happens all the time, that lots of kids get really embarrassed to dance in front of their parents. Weird. I never felt that way. But everyone is different.

Sades really seems to be enjoying her new dance class (when I'm not there). And it wasn't as heartbreaking as I thought it would be to hear those familiar words again, and to see those familiar moves again, and not be able to get out there and do them.

Ben and I have been talking a lot about it, and we've decided that I'm going to start taking an adult ballet class after I have this little munchkin. I am SO EXCITED. I'm going to look like a piece of crap for a really long time, but I cannot wait. I have missed it so much, and I'm ready for it to be a part of my life again.

Slides of Sades before she flipped out at me:

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Flowers are Telling Me

My mom's best friend is Cheryl. Mom and Cheryl used to swap baby-sitting all the time when we were little. I have so many memories from Cheryl's old house. Her kids, Jeff and Ryan, had the coolest toy record player ever. The records were plastic, but somehow they played, and they were all Disney stories. I would listen to The Fox and the Hound and cry every time. Cheryl was always cooking something or sewing something. Her sheets on her beds always smelled good. Jeff, Ryan, Nat, and I played Build the Tower of Couch Cushions and Try to Climb to the Top without Falling Down. And we always fell down. But Jeff always made sure we had a carpet of pillows from all of the bedrooms to ensure that, when we fell, we wouldn't get hurt. They had this cool marble slide thing. You put a marble on the top, and it would roll down a slide, go through a pocket, roll down another slide in the other direction, etc. We played the game, Life, every day. I would refuse to put the little blue husband piece in my car, because it embarrassed me.

Cheryl had some tape she always played when we were over there - it was a tape of kids' songs. Oh, I loved those songs. I've tried to find them online, but to no avail. One of the songs was "Ten Little Speckled Frogs":

Ten little speckled frogs,
Sitting on a speckled log,
Eating the most delicious bugs.
(Yum, yum!)
One jumped into the pool,
Where it was nice and cool.
Now there are nine green speckled frogs.

Another favorite was about spring. My title for it is, "It's Spring, Spring, Spring Again":

Blah blah blah blah blah,
Blah blah blah blah blah,
The crocuses and tulips are as bright as they could be,
It's spring, spring, spring again,
The flowers are telling me.

And then there's another verse about pussy willows, and another verse about the birds. And I'm pretty sure the verse I typed above has something about daffodils in it. Obviously, my memory is really spotty on that one.

But whenever my spring flowers pop out of the ground, I sing bits of that song to myself. I wish I could teach it to my kids.

When I saw my flowers popping out a couple of weeks ago, I literally jumped up and down and yelled, "Yeeee!!" Jumping up and down is hard for me to do nowadays, so this shows how excited I was. Winter is hard for me. I really get the winter blues. Seeing living things popping out of the ground really lifts my spirits.

Without further ado, pictures of my little mood-lifters. This is probably really boring for you. Indulge me.

My daffodils:

My ground is so sandy over there. It drives me nuts.

My peonies:

I'm digging up my ugly evergreen bushes that completely block one's view from the gorgeous peonies when they bloom. Goodbye, ugly evergreen bushes.

The dwarf irises my gramps gave to me a couple of years ago:

My tulips, also on the sandy side of the yard:

And the current stars of the show, my crocuses:

I can't believe they bloomed this year. Last year, Ben seperated them all out and spread them all out, and I thought for sure they would die forever, but they managed to survive. They're tenacious little suckers. I want to plant more of them this fall, though. There is no such thing as too many crocuses.

And my tempermental clematises are actually peeking up right now. My mom just discovered them today. Maybe they'll actually grow this year. And bloom. Maybe the third year is the charm. Sheesh. Everyone else in the whole neighborhood has thriving, gorgeous clematises. Not me. And the word "clematis" is uncomfortable for me to say. It reminds me of chlamydia. I'm just sayin'.

When my beautiful forsythia bush explodes in color this spring, I'll have to put that up here for your enjoyment. Aren't you lucky you get to partake of my minutae?? :)

Kar out.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Our Do-Over

You may or may not recall that mine and Ben's Valentine's Day was less than stellar. We finally had a decent date a couple of weeks ago to make up for it.

I really wanted to go to the temple - we haven't gone in a couple of months, and I'm feeling really guilty about that. Plus, I'm just kind of yearning for the peace that the temple gives me. I love going. But my Terrestrial Kingdom-minded husband talked me into going with him to Alice in Wonderland instead:

Johnny Depp is amazing.

And the movie, as a whole, was awesome. I loved it. We were thinking of going to it as a family, and I'm soooo glad we didn't. It's only rated PG, but the violence is a little much for kids. Rotting, decapitated heads. Eyeballs getting gouged out by swords. Fingers that no longer belong to a hand. I think Dylan would have had nightmares, and I think Sadie would have been disturbed beyond measure.

Then we went to Ben's favorite sushi restaurant. Which may be the only sushi restaurant in the city, actually. He is a sushi-aholic.

I'd rather eat bird terd than sushi. Seriously. Raw fish - gross. Seaweed - gross. They did have like five things on the menu that weren't sushi, and I chose the Veggies and Noodles. And then I had them add chicken. I was really hoping that it was going to taste like Mongolian barbecue, and I wasn't disappointed. Ohhhh, it was heavenly. Vegetables are my enemies lately, but these just tasted superb.

Our date was just what the doctor ordered. I need one of these per weekend, I think. But dates and baby-sitters cost money, ya know? So I guess I'll settle for the every-now-and-then date. Maybe someday we'll have the luxury of going on a date once a week.

Oh. And I got Ben some jeans as a late Valentine's Day present. He didn't like them (he is notoriously picky about pants), so he took them back and got some that he really likes. I went to Motherhood Maternity and found a couple of dresses that might have looked okay with my new, amazing shoes, but I just cannot stand the thought of buying something that I can't wear after September of this year. This is DEFINITELY my last pregnancy, and I really don't want to waste any money on maternity clothes that I won't ever use again. So my shoes will sit in their box until the fine day that I can shop in a regular store again. In many moons.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Reaching New Lows

Last Wednesday was such a HARD day for me. The kids were acting insane. My cousin, Kort, and I have a theory - spring is in the air. It's making our kids a little crazy. Hers were acting nutty that day, too. I was stuck with these tyrant children of mine all day long, and then Ben had a stupid basketball game that night, so I was stuck alone with them again.

Micah does this scream-bloody-murder thing lately (which is my FAVORITE), and he was in his high chair, screaming, not eating, and throwing his food.

I lost it.

I started throwing food back at him. I would pick up a piece of hot dog or string cheese, throw it at his face, and yell at him. I think the following words escaped my mouth: "You make my life a living HELL!!!"

His face was so funny - just total shock. My kids' faces, too. I look back now and giggle, because it's so ludicrous, but at the time, I felt like I was losing my mind. When Ben came home from enjoying exercise without children, I was lying on the couch, staring at the wall. "You are in a bad place now, aren't you?" he said. "Yep," said I.

Do I need to up my dosage of anti-depressants? Maybe. All I want to do is sleep. All day. All night. I hide from my children in my bed or the bathtub. I don't care about doing things that I usually care about doing. I have so much RAGE inside. All of these are red flags. We'll see. I might talk to the doc about it next week at my appointment. It's just been a hard couple of weeks for me.

Thanks for listening.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Sadie Lately

I have this random picture of Sades sitting on my hard drive, so I just thought I'd write a few things about what she's been up to.

1. She started taking a dance class. More on that very soon.
2. She's scared of running water. If I'm filling up a sink or the tub, she freaks out until I turn it off. She is convinced that the tub or sink will overflow. Convinced.
3. Sadie used to be embarrassed if her brothers saw her changing clothes. Now, she has decided it's really funny to flash or moon Dylan, because he freaks out.
4. Sades calls anyone who is a child, a "friend." We'll be in the store and we'll see a kid. "Look, Mom," she'll say, "That friend is picking out some cereal."
5. I just registered Sades for Kindergarten for next year. The thought of her riding that big old bus freaks me out a little. I was ready for Dylan to go, but not Sades. I wonder why.
6. She has started using three-syllable words, and I love it. She often tells me that the food I cook is either disgusting or delicious. But it sounds like "dewishus." I love that, too.
7. We watch Tom and Jerry every day while I do her hair. I LOVE Tom and Jerry soooo much. It still makes me chuckle, even though I've seen each short like a million times. So when we're watching, and I laugh, Sadie gets mad at me. I'm not allowed to laugh at Tom and Jerry. Only she is allowed to laugh at it.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Traveling Man

Ben went on a little business trip to San Francisco a couple of weeks ago. I was tres jealous. I really, really wish I could accompany him on such trips. But, you know, I have these kids... So I get to stay here and play Single Mom for a week.

The two trips he has been on are basically conferences for schools. One in October was for all of the school superintendents in the whole state of Missouri, I think. And then this one was for all of the private schools in California. So these school people get together and talk about how they're going to build new schools on small budgets, etc. etc. And people that are involved in the building of schools set up shop in the foyer of these conference centers and say, "You should hire us as your contractors!" "You should hire us as your architects!" etc. etc.

And really, the dome structure (which Ben's company specializes in) is much cheaper to build and power than a normal, square-type of school. So that's what Ben and usually one of the engineers go and present to the school people. And Ben does a good job of dressing up a dome to look cool and interesting.

Ben does well schmoozing with people, so he usually makes some good contacts at these things, which drums up some good business for his company.

Anywho, he had a couple of hours off one day, so he went over to Fisherman's Wharf (which was near the conference center where he was working) and got his fam some stuff. He got all three kids these t-shirts (Micah was napping when I snapped this photo):

And then he got me this very cool scarf:

I actually have a shirt that matches it! Awesome.

I was SO GLAD to have him back home. It's just so nice to have him around. Even if he isn't necessarily helping with the kids (or dishes or laundry or sweeping or bathrooms or anything, really), it's nice to have him here. And though he doesn't volunteer for anything in the above list, I can always ask him to do those things, and he will do them for me. When he's not here, I don't have anyone to whom I can say, "I've had it with the kids today. Will you bathe them and put them to bed while I lie on the couch and try not to barf??" So I'm really glad he's back.

And next time, I need him to get off the couch to take a picture of me. Pictures from below=fat double chin exposure.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


My dad, Mr. Very Smart, does our taxes every year (thanks, Pops). Can I tell you how much I love that? It's a huge blessing. And very kind of him. He was taking a look at our form that shows info on your mortgage, and he called me. He asked if we had considered refinancing our house. I hadn't really thought much about it; I figured we hadn't been in it long enough to have very much equity. Dad made some calls to some people he knew (I swear he knows 95% of Idaho Falls), and he said he thought we could do it, lowering our interest rate, thereby saving us some money every month.

One of the things we had to do was get an appraiser to look at our house. I thought for sure it would appraise for more than it did. It only appraised for a thousand bucks more than what we bought it for 2 1/2 years ago! And that is after we have put in a new furnace and ventilation system and finished a bedroom downstairs. Crazy. And dumb.

Luckily, we were still able to proceed with the refinancing process, and we are so excited about it. Our old interest rate was 7.5%, I believe. Now we're at 4.875%. Huge difference. It's saving us money every month on our mortgage. Now we can use that extra moolah for a car payment! Our car only fits three kids; we need to upgrade. We were wondering how on earth we were going to do that, and voila. Blessings from heaven, sent through a very smart daddy.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Superstar is a thing in Headstart where you go into the classroom, talk about how great your kid is, what the kid likes to do, etc., and present a poster of pictures for display in the classroom.

I'd like to take you back to a magical time. A time when I had the energy and time to make my kids' Superstar posters truly fantastic. Take a look at this little beauty. And this work of art.

And now I show you this piece of craptasticness:

I literally slapped it together in two minutes in the back of my car. The rubber cement wasn't working, so I used these stupid heart stickers to make the photos stick to the poster. Unbefreakinlievable.

This is what happens when you are barfing all day and can't keep up with your life. I feel like I'm drowning in a sea of poopy diapers, laundry, dirty dishes, and vomit. See my greasy face in that picture? I don't even think I had washed my face that day. Argh! This is not the mom I thought I was going to be! I was going to be the cute mom! The one that showered every day and did her hair and makeup! Now I wear sweats every day and am lucky if I get a shower in at all!!!

Sorry. I guess I'm just frustrated. I'm tired of feeling sick. I've had the mother of all colds this week on top of nausea, which has been pretty harsh. I couldn't stop barfing last night, but I kept down some apple juice this morning, so that's good. My house is soooooo gross. It looks like those houses on that show on TV, Hoarders. I was watching that the other night (because all I do is lie on the couch and feel gross and watch TV), and I got a little teary-eyed. I thought to myself, That is me. That is my house. My kids are going to get taken away by CPS because my house isn't sanitary!!!

My mom came over yesterday and dusted my living room, which really made me feel a lot better. Now I have to tackle my kitchen. As soon as I change Micah's poopy diaper. :(

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Art Imitating Life

Dylan made me this card at school:

"Your the best mom." Could he be any cuter?? I love that he loves me.

I asked him to tell me who is in the picture. From left to right: My dad, my mom (holding Micah), Uncle Pete, Sadie, Aunt Nat, me, and Dylan. (Apparently Nat's kids didn't join us on this swimming adventure.)

And who is that, underneath the water?

"That's Daddy, swimming under the water and grabbing Sadie's leg, trying to scare her."

Ohhhhhhh that is so Ben. Funny that Dylan chooses to capture Ben in that way. It shows you how much time Ben spends teasing his children and wife...

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Kicking the Habit

I think, when it's time to transition your child from one phase of his babyhood to the next, not only does the baby need to be ready, but the mommy needs to be ready, too. For instance, potty training. Even if the kid shows all the signs and seems ready, if Mommy's not ready, it ain't gonna happen.

That's how I was with Micah's binkie. My two oldest never really liked binkies, but boy, oh, boy, did Micah ever love his. I couldn't get him to go to bed without it. It calmed him down when he was in one of his inevitable mood swings (the kid is a toughie). I knew, when his front teeth were looking a little bucked, that it was probably time to let the binkie go, but I, as a busy, sick, pregnant mom, just was not ready to give that up. I did succeed in making binkies only a bedtime and naptime deal, but I wasn't ready to cut them out completely.

I was talking to my mom about it maybe a week ago. My sister, Beads, was an enormous binkie fan. I remember sitting on our couch, finishing a book, and crying, because the book was so sad. (I'm a sensitive girl.) Beads came up to me (she was two or so at the time), saw me crying, and took her binkie out of her mouth, offering it to me. So dang cute.

Mom knew she had to break Beads of the binkie, but just couldn't get herself to do it. She would throw the binkies away, and then find herself, later, frantically digging through the garbage, disinfecting the binkies, and continuing with Beads' binkie habit. Ma told me that she finally had to cut off the sucky part of each binkie before throwing them into the garbage. That way, she couldn't dig them out to use them. And she didn't want to go spend money on more binkies.

I told Ben about what Mom did all those years ago, and he said, "Well, let's do it!"

"I don't know if I'm ready, Ben. Plus, if we ruin all of these binkies, what will we do for the baby that's coming later this year?" Yes, I am too cheap to go buy a bunch more.

"How about if I hide the binkies from you? That way, we won't throw them away, but we can break Micah of the habit."

"Wellll, okay..."

Ben was lazy. He put them on a shelf that I sometimes walk by. I totally used one the next day for Micah's nap. I'm like a drug junkie, I swear. Ben discovered the binkies that evening and chastized me, and then really hid them well. I haven't been able to find them since.

It's been several days now, and we're actually doing okay!! It wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it would be. I've had to kind of replace binkies at night and bedtime with a sippy cup full of water, and that seems to have done the trick. So someday I'll have to break him of the sippy cup. But at least I'm out of binkie land. Until the next little person comes into our life.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Why didn't anyone tell me my hair looked like that?

My sis, Beads, was here for a few days last month, and I'm waiting for her to send me pics, the little devil. I didn't bring my camera to anything, because she always had hers and promised to send them to me. I shoulda known better. Beads is so busy that she barely has time to use the bathroom. Forget sending pictures. Oh well. You live and learn. From now on, camera at all times.

One of the things Beads really wanted to do was go skiing. Dad said he'd pay for us to go, and I hesitated for about one millisecond, and then said, "H YES I AM GOING!!!" Yeah, it was a foolhardy decision, since I'm pregnant, but I just couldn't resist. I never get to go skiing because it's too dang expensive. I had to take advantage.

However, the night before our skiing extravaganza, I was soooooooooo sick. I barfed several times that day. I just felt horrible. The morning of the event, I was still really nauseated. And I thought, What am I thinking? There is no way I can ski when I'm feeling this way. So I called Beads and said, "Dude, I am way too sick to go. Tell Dad I'm so sorry. And have a good time." It broke my heart, but it was ridiculous to go in the condition I was in. She was very understanding and said she'd relay the message to Dad.

I knew I would be hearing from Dad. He is a major talker-intoer. A peer pressure king. He called me once to try to talk me into it. Then he made Beads call to try to talk me into it. In the background, I heard him yelling, "Look at how BEAUTIFUL it is outside!!!" And then he made Beads text me one more time. I still said no, there was no way I was going to do well.

I was lying in bed with Ben at the time, and he rolled over to look at me. He said (and this makes him probably the best husband in the world), "You need to go. You need to get away from our kids. Go up there and just enjoy the fresh air. If you are too sick to ski, sit on the deck next to that grill and just breathe the air. You deserve this." That is what talked me into it. I really did need to get away from the kids.

So I called Beads and told her to tell Dad I was coming and to inform Dad that he is the devil.
Then I threw on some thermals and got ready to go.

And you know what? I did okay. I felt pretty gross the whole day, but I didn't barf on the hill once. Beads, Dad, and Nat were kind enough to go slow for me - to pause probably more than they wanted to. And I appreciated it. It felt so amazing to be up there. I love skiing sooooo much. And it felt so great not to have to take care of any kids. :)

I would forget about the nausea while we were skiing, but then on the ski lift, it would hit me. But I kept everything down and did alright. Thank goodness. I'm so glad I went.

Beads was making me laugh so hard all day. She brought her iPod to listen to while we skiied, and whenever we would pause on the mountain to take a breather, she would start shaking her booty to the music, or sing along, or try to make a drum roll with her tongue. I was laughing so hard. She is hilarious.

Beads brought Mom's camera (it's nice and small) and we took some pics at the bottom of the hill:

Who's the girl with the Tina Turner hair? you ask. C'est moi. I had no idea how ridiculous I looked. I really should have put it in braided piggy-tails or something. Holy Shnikeys. This just adds to the hatred I have for my current haircut. Grow, hair, grow!!!

Oh, and Lex, we missed you. Frown.

We need a do-over.

Every year, our wedding anniversary is Ben's duty, and Valentine's Day is my duty. But we have a little problem with that program. Ben makes most of the money. So when our anniversary comes around, he does all of these amazing things for me. When Valentine's Day comes around, he won't let me spend money to do amazing things for him. This year, I wanted to go to the temple and then out to sushi (not my choice, but I knew it would make his day). I got a baby-sitter. I made reservations at the restaurant. I made plans to go buy him a pair of jeans as a gift. When I told him of my plans, he frowned. "Oh, Kar, we don't even have one penny to spend on Valentine's Day this year," he said.

I frowned, too.

So I canceled our reservations and our baby-sitter and pouted for a few days. On the Saturday night that we were supposed to be on our date, we went to Wal-Mart to get some groceries as a family. And Ben let me get some makeup to cover up my Pregnancy Pizza Face. (I'm not usually a foundation-wearer, but it's become a necessity at this time to do something about this face of mine.) The makeup cost a pretty penny, and I told him we could just skip the makeup to save money, but he told me that could be my Valentine's Day gift:

And may I just say that foundation has come a long way in the past few years. I hardly feel like I'm wearing it, and I like that. It may be a habit that needs to stay after the pregnancy is over.

We just got our tax return, and most of it is going to not-fun-but-necessary places, but I asked Ben if we could use a teeny weeny bit to have a Redemption Valentine's Date. And if I could buy him some jeans. And if I could buy myself a cheap maternity dress to go with my amazing shoes. (Yes, I know that this means I will have gotten two Valentine's gifts. But I'm truly, truly okay with that!) And he said YESSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!! So I need to call myself a sitter.

Holidays are very emotional for me. Especially this time of year. I just need something to cling to, something to look forward to, during these long, cold, stuck-inside months. So when we can't celebrate, even in a small way, I struggle. So this will be really great for me. I suppose I should shower and go to the mall, eh? And drag my naughty children along.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Dylan's Valentines

Ben bought some valentines for Dylan's class a week or so before Valentine's Day. As soon as Dylan got the list of kids in his classroom in preparation for Valentine's Day, he was raring to go. He addressed all of the valentines himself, as soon as he got home from school, without even stopping to take off his coat or grab a snack:

He had one extra valentine in his packet, and guess who he gave it to?

He is just the best. I love that little man.

The Best Idea Ever!

A lady in my mom's ward told my mom that she and her husband got a room in a local hotel one night, just so that she could invite all of her kids and grandkids over to swim in the nice hotel pool. What a good idea! Mom decided we should do just that. She took me shopping for the warmest hotel pool. Literally. We went to two different hotels, and she made me kneel down and feel the water to see which pool was warmer. We chose the warmer of the two, and Mom booked a room.

We had a blast. I quite honestly think my dad had the most fun of all. He was just having a ball squirting all of us with his squirt gun:

This little swimming extravaganza was good for him (he's a CPA, and tax season is HARD on CPA's). At one point, Nat and I were in the hot tub - actually, Nat was in the hot tub. My legs were in the hot tub, because I'm not allowed all the way in (sniff). We were getting squirted, so we looked around to see which of our naughty kids was squirting us, and it was Dad.

Sadie, in a squirting battle with Dad:

Just when we thought the evening couldn't get more fun, Mom ordered pizza, and we bought a pay-per-view movie in the hotel room and ate it. Whoa. That was a misplaced modifier. It sounds like we ate the movie. Let me try that again. Mom ordered pizza, we bought a pay-per-view movie, and we ate the pizza while in the hotel room. Much better. That pizza was amazing. Pizza Hut. The only way to go. The new Domino's pizza is degoute. That means "disgusting" in French. :) It's like a piece of paper with a bunch of ketchup on it. Blech.

Here we are, sitting on towels on the bed (the duvet cover was white, and we didn't want to ruin it), and watching Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs:

Which was hilarious, by the way. And do you like my swimming bangs? They are winners. I often look like a winner nowadays.

Micah was being his usual twitty self, so Mom took him on a walk through the hotel halls, and she came upon some kind of fashion extravaganza show. All of these different ladies were selling knit hats, cute scarves, shoes, clothes, you name it, in all of these booths. So Mom came and got me, Nat, and Sades, and she took us to the booths and said to pick a pair of shoes, on her!!! (Could my mom be any cooler??)

Nat couldn't find any she liked in her size, but I found these little beauties:

Aren't they cute, despite the pasty white feet they are on?? I don't have one dang thing that matches these shoes. That's my next project. Finding a cute little maternity dress to go with 'em. This is my new clothing philosophy - buy cute earrings, necklaces, and shoes, and then find clothes that match them. I'm tired of buying clothes and then never being able to find shoes or earrings to go with them. So this is my new method. I think it's easier to find clothes to come to the shoes than shoes to come to the clothes.

They were also selling all of these cute little headbands, and my mom bought one for Sadie:

Sadie LOVES that headband. It's really so cute.

Thanks, Ma and Pa, for the amazing evening and shoes.

Slides, anyone??

Monday, March 1, 2010

Not Playing Possum

I promise that she literally fell asleep at the table like this one night:

I love pictures like this. And look at how big her feet are getting. She has her daddy's feet and legs.

Easy, but gross.

My ma gave me a sugar cookie mix; I thought I would use that to make our annual Valentine's cookies, instead of mixing my own, having to put it in the fridge for an hour, blah blah blah. It's funny; the mix only made, like, fourteen cookies. Which ended up being perfect for our decorating extravaganza. Usually, the kids decorate like two cookies and then lose interest, leaving me to decorate like fifty others. So this way, I only had to decorate 12 by myself. Not bad.

However.... I am a big Baked Goods Snob. A BGS, if you will. These cookies didn't taste quite the way I like 'em. I don't think the kids were huge fans, either. Usually, we all gobble up sugar cookies, but these stayed in our cookie bowl for a couple of weeks, until I finally just threw the rest out.

My friend, Patty, asked me soon after Valentine's Day, "Did you leave some valentine's cookies on our doorstep?" I told her that our cookies tasted a little too funky to give to people; that it wasn't us. :) I only like to give away food that I know will taste alright. I don't know; cake mixes taste okay to me, but not cookie mixes. Go figure.
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