Here we go again!

This year we sent off our smart, cute, independent, opinionated, fashion savvy girl to 6th grade! I was a little choked up as we did our traditional first day of school drop off.  Next year, she will leave earlier than the others, have a locker, and a whole new schedule. She will no longer be with her siblings and in a school she knows with kids and teachers she has come to love.  I couldn't help myself but snap a few extra pictures of her as she and her sixth grade class huddled together instead of lining up and walked casually in to school surrounded by friends.  I felt lucky she gave me a smile and a wave as she passed.  I then walked with Cael past the Kindergartner parents hanging around and lingering longer to steal a little peak at their sweet babies at their first day of their little school careers. It reminded me of taking her for her first day of Kindergarten and how completely frightened she was of actually going into the classroom.  I thought of each of them at kindergarten and my different emotions ranging from excited and eager to heartbroken and nervous.  I remembered how lost I was when I left C at kindergarten and how I cried in bed that night.  I laughed at myself as I thought about going to school everyday to eat lunch with her and how I wondered whether or not it would be weird if I kept going when she got to Junior High.  I couldn't remember being in Jr. High and having anyone else's mothers show up to eat lunch with them.

This year I was excited for them to head back to ARE since it's still fairly new for all of them just having switched last March.  I was so happy for each of them to be in classrooms we had requested and with kids they know from the neighborhood and church.  However, I surprised myself at the free flowing tears that fell as I walked back to the car.  I'm not sure why I was so emotional about this year? Was it the 6th grader?  Was it my 2nd grader or 3rd grader who so readily and obediently lined up and walked in?  Was it the fact that Aug let me kiss him 50 times before letting him go? I loved being there and am so glad I stuck with our tradition of taking them and seeing them off for their first day.   

And now with all my "free-time" I sit and update a poor neglected blog with a post about sending my kids off and consequently how much I miss them.  I have tried to have that attitude of this being the "most wonderful time of the year" or being able to boldly exclaim how "ready" I was to send them back.  But, geez, I really loved having them home this summer. We had so much fun at Lake Powell this year. We loved swimming with friends, going to play places, eating out for lunch and even just hanging out at home dancing to music or watching fun shows together.  This was the first summer they took dive.  They loved it--I was worried that the basic stuff might bore them but they looked forward to it each day and commented that they wished the class was longer. They were all in the same class and made up half of the class with the three of them.  I think that helped them have more courage to see each other try and do new things.  They learned some dive basics and enjoyed practicing what they learned when we'd go swimming for fun.  We had a great summer and hopefully this will easily move us into a great beginning to another good school year. 

I guess 6th grade doesn't have to line up...they huddle and then Break!

She wasn't too cool to wave at nerdy Mom--she is my sweet heart.  Meanwhile it wasn't worth posting the pic of the other daughter who didn't want to look at me and definitely wasn't going to smile for the camera. At least she's consistent--she's not much of a poser and never has been.  Aug migrated to the boys but I think he's naturally inclined to move toward the girls...with two loving sisters, it's easy for him to yield to the girls and always has a few really good girl friends.  Here's to a great year!


Six months!

Time flies when you're having fun!  Our baby is six months old this week and I can hardly stand it. He has stolen our hearts and is adored by each and every one of his family members. 

The late night feedings, dirty diapers, and extra 10 pounds I can't lose are small prices to pay for such a wonderful gift of love and sacrifice you experience with a new baby.  I have cherished every moment. 

Cael is a smiler!  And a calm soul he is. He loves to blow raspberries, laugh, and recently started grunting. I haven't been able to decipher what the the grunting means yet. But when he starts to sound like a whiny cat (very high pitched screams) I know it's bedtime. 

He gets non-stop attention from his siblings whenever they are home and Daddy rarely puts him down after he gets home from work.  He loves going on walks with his Mama in the morning. 
He will roll onto his belly but isn't consistently able to roll back over yet. 


August Turns 8!

Our August turned eight last September. He is such a delight to have in our home. Even at his young age he is an honorable boy that exudes integrity and accountability.  Aug currently is a budding pianist, is loving tetheball and still maintains that he will grow up to be an author/illustrator.  He is motivated to make goals and do everything he can to reach them. He is a good example to his whole family and is such a great care taker of his little brother.   

Auggy asked for Cheesecake Factory for dinner and dessert. Since we had run around all day celebrating and playing we asked him if dinner somewhere closer to home that also had cheesecake on the menu would be OK. He still insisted on The Cheesecake Factory. He was so hyped up for his birthday this year and on a continual high from the time he woke up, that by the time we actually got to dinner he had decided he was too tired to get a piece of cheesecake. Haha. We said, "No way, you are ordering a piece!"

August's Baptism

On October 12, 2013 August was baptized by his Dad and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. 

He enjoyed having his Grandpa and Grandma Sandstrom from Utah and Aunt Sherry and Uncle Mike come down to attend. As well as his Grandma and Grandpa Kimball and Aunt Stacey and Uncle Gary and many other friends and family come to be with him on his big day.  

For some reason pictures on baptism day seem to elude me. So I have posted the random ones I did manage to get. 


There are so many things that we look forward to seeing Aug accomplish, he is a spirited kid and determined to succeed in everything he puts his mind to.  We love our Aug Dog!!!


Back to school 2013

Once again it's 112 degrees the beginning of September and the kids have been in school for a month!  There is something terribly wrong with this picture. Summer isn't supposed to end before Labor Day.  Oh yeah. Scratch that. We're in Arizona.  Yep it's true. My three little sweeties are back in school! YAHOO!  I mean, yahoo!  I'm suppose to be sad.

Lucky for us they all have really good teachers this year. They are slowly acclimating back into the routine and happy to be back with friends. 
I have been more than happy to be spending some one on one time with this little guy. Fifteen weeks old!


Introducing (finally) Cael

Our beloved, long awaited and much anticipated baby boy was born May 20th, 2013 at 3:40 in the afternoon.  He weighed in at a hefty 7 lbs, 6 oz. and 20 inches long.  The largest of our children.  It took him a good while to finally decide to make his debut, but once the process started, it was just a short time before I was able to hold him close and see his tiny face.  Our Doctor almost missed it and I'm pretty sure one glove wasn't even all the way on before he "caught" him. 
Having a baby with three older children certainly enhances the anticipation. I had little ones expressing their excitement (impatience) for their baby brother every. single. day leading up to his birthday.   My parents came in Saturday evening to take the kids for us and be here for that last week of school. That night we went to dinner and the kids went with my parents to their hotel.  The next day they came back to get ready for church which helped pass the time until 11:30 when we could pack up the car and go. I think this was the only place this past year that I ever showed up early!  I was a little anxious.  Inductions are different in many ways, but we immediately noticed how odd it felt to be driving to the hospital together with no apparent urgency or need to be there.  Showing up prepared, calm, with a little hint of apprehension was unique to this baby for sure.   My own impatient self prefers going in "in labor" so things just happen instead of the slow but steady check in process and Sunday afternoon shift nurses.  Sunday was a long day of laying around doing nothing, thinking and hoping that things would progress quickly since it was my fourth child and we wanted our baby!  But by 11:00 that night my hopes had faded and I knew it wouldn't happen until the next day.  Luckily that night Carrie had come by and we shared some good laughs and conversation.
Monday was our 11th Anniversary-I think we'd forgotten with the bigger event that was about to take place. Don't get me wrong we tried to work out another way to not have the baby on our Anniversary weeks before, asking the Doc, the hospital etc, but it was to no avail.  Hospital policy and Dr's recommendations left us few choices, and we didn't want to wait so we took our chances of having him Sunday, knowing in our head's he would most likely come Monday-our Anniversary. 
I can't tell you what a relief it was to see my actual Doctor on Monday morning. He reassured me that we would be having our baby that day and left no doubts about how quickly things would go now that he gave the "ok" for pitocin.  I have never had my actual Doctor deliver one of my babies. I don't know why, it just never worked out and we always had the Doctor on call there for the delivery.  Since that had been our MO, we were almost superstitious about having my Doctor come and deliver me.  Dr. T seemed more like Dr. Superman to me that day because he just came in and took charge. I guess the nurses from the day and night before had me stressing out about the induction taking THREE days!  So, when Dr. T checked things out and called out his orders, I was just so happy!  He was right too, I started pit at 11:00 AM and we were ready to go by 3:15...and aside from him getting there in exactly enough time to suit up and barely enough time to get both gloves on he was wonderful.  When Hubstar told me the cord had been wrapped around the baby's neck and body and that Dr. T made one swift smooth move to remove it quickly and effortlessly, I was even more convinced and relieved that Dr. had been there in person to deliver our son.
Cael was so sweet-and just PERFECT in every possible newborn way.  It is a special time you share with your spouse at the arrival of one of your babies. And Tyler has a knack for capturing those moments on camera. I love watching him gaze at our babies and keep vigil over them while they get checked out and wrapped up post delivery.  We were lucky to have the kids and Grandpa and Grandma Sandstrom and Grandma Kimball come right after he was born. They all squeezed into the room to welcome Baby Cael and took turns looking at holding their baby brother in complete awe and wonder.  I will never forget the smiles, the joy and happiness we all felt that day when he was just a couple of hours old.
We had so many pictures and video of our precious little boy and I am proud enough and in love enough to post all of them here, but a little video tribute seemed to more appropriately capture the feelings we had that day and have continued to have this past two months.  We have learned a new kind of love in our home that only a new baby could bring.  It's been the most beautiful thing to see and experience and we are so grateful for this tiny soul and calm spirit that has enveloped our home.



Spring Piano Recital

This year the kids decided to participate in the Arizona Study Program through Stephanie Jone's Piano Studio.   This required an extra commitment to learn four pieces from four genre's of music in addition to completing a 60 page theory packet. 

We all dedicated ourselves to a rigorous practice schedule and commit to memory four pieces each child.  As well as push them to do more "homework" for piano.  It wasn't easy, it was actually brutal at times, but these awesome kids stepped up to the challenge, to learn, perfect and memorize everything that was thrown at them. I am so proud of them for working so hard and complaining very little and performing so well at their Spring Recital.

Here are the pieces they played for the Spring Recital.  Tomorrow is their AZSP adjucication/recital/test and we are just ready for it to be over quite honestly. I'm ready to be done, nagging, pleading and reminding them to always play them right and to practice or run through their pieces!  Oh boy-I've never been more ready!  Being 9 months pregnant hasn't helped either.  Last week they both played a piece for our Church's talent show and that is always good practice to play in front of so many.  I don't know how they handle the pressure so well, but they do it like pros. 

Despite thinking that one more week would have helped out, I think they were ready. And despite a few hiccups, rushed section, wrong note (or defining note at the end of the piece) they made it through and for that they deserve many many accolades.  Their teacher Stephanie presents awards at the end of the year and Auggy received the "Everest" Award for taking each and every challenge she gave him and often completing pieces way above his playing level and almost doing it with ease.  Quinn was graduated into an intermediate level player as well and has really stepped up her level of play and technical ability this year.  It is a pleasure to hear her play.

So without further adieu and boasting...enjoy!


Happy New Year!

I took a break. A long break! The most obvious reason being that I got pregnant and it kicked my bottom.

We were not planning on getting pregnant, which is exactly why we got pregnant as my husband kept saying, "You know it will happen as soon as we stop 'trying.'"  Shut up Tyler.

To catch up, I am going to write a monthly recap, but first write out this little pregnancy story for my own records. 

We had the most amazing trip to Lake Powell after missing the entire summer season due to the repair of our houseboat that took about six months longer than planned.  But had I known that October at Powell was so beautiful, I'd of opted for that anyway.  The weather was perfect-PERFECT! And the Lake itself was so much less crowded and relaxed.  It was a short trip, but really fun.  Quinn practically boarded and surfed the whole time. She is so determined and kept going and going.  And then finally broke down when she was unable to pop up and stay up for longer than 30 seconds...like her cousins.  Chalk it up to another reason her life is so unfair because her parents choose to live in AZ instead of UT.

This is what we do at Lake Powell at night. 
It's called, "Let's see who is most flexible and freakish."  My kids won!

When we got back from the Lake, I was mildly aware that I was late.  So, I took a test.  The test was faintly positive, as were the other 4.  But nonetheless, positive.  I was a little shocked...ok, a lot shocked.   I thought it was odd that at Lake Powell I had a really hard time sleeping. In fact, two nights were spent inside in a bedroom on a bed because I was so uncomfortable up top on the mats.  But, I really thought nothing of it.
My plan was to wait a while to see how things went and then tell Tyler, call the OB, see the Doc and then shortly after announce the pregnancy.  However, in my attempt to keep the status quo, I went running one day and showed signs of possible miscarriage. I was so nervous about it that I immediately called my OB and friend and Mother-in-Law to get some reassurance and advice.  The OB wanted me to come right in and also scheduled an early ultrasound.  The OB reassured me that all was well and to go get the US.
That night, I looked up early sonogram's just so I would know what to expect to see at that early stage in pregnancy. I didn't want to be surprised by something that would be too upsetting.  Well, I was still surprised, not upset, but very surprised.  When the tech started looking around, there were two circles.  I didn't notice two circles in any of the other sonogram's I'd looked at the night before.  What I did notice, is that there was nothing else on the screen. I was confused and assumed the worst right away.  I asked if there was anything there...meaning a heartbeat of some kind...a bean, a dot-anything!  "There's nothing there," I said.  Totally afraid of the answer, her reply was much different.  "There's more than just 'nothing' there, " she said.  What?  What did that mean?  She said she saw three sacs.  "OK."  I was still confused.  I was looking at two empty sacs for sure, but a third?  She said, "Yep, right there."  And she tilted the camera and there was a third funny looking oddly shaped sac.  She said, the one down below, looked to already be a non-viable egg.  She verified my dates and asked me if I could be off, but I knew I wasn't off.  She went back and forth and then went to get the Dr.  I started feeling queezy with a really big pit in my stomach and lump in my throat preparing to hear the worst. My mother-in-law June was with me. She was totally confused. She asked me if the tech really said three.  I confirmed.
You can see in this pic the two identical sacs...both appearing to be empty.  Then, you can see as she adjusted the camera the third smaller sac and the little tiny yolk sac of Baby A.  

When our tech came back she said the Dr was with someone and she'd just do the measurements.  As she waved back over there was a little, and I mean little, blip on the screen. A very little blip but enough to catch her eye. She pointed it out and explained that it was a yolk sac.  At this early stage, the fetal pole wasn't able to be seen in detail, but she was able to pick up a slight heartbeat.  She said the other baby could just be behind and that we "should" be able to tell more in a week.  She was suspecting twins though and sent me on my merry way.
So, for one week, we wondered how crazy this all was and contemplated twins.   Why not we thought. Two for the price of one. Playmates, friends and built in entertainment.  And then those other thoughts. Wtf?!?  So fat, so big, pregnant with twins, not to mention where would put them once they were born. How would we feed them and just how quickly would I be admitted to the looney bin after they were born?  It was a long week.
The next week, we clearly saw a fetal pole in Sac A and Sac B was still growing along at the same pace as the "Baby A", but no fetal pole.  The Dr. wasn't sure so he ordered another ultrasound for the following week.  I was pretty sure it was just one at this point, but as a precaution we went to the ultrasound to see a healthy little sac growing but no baby. They called it vanishing twin.  Although, technically it was vanishing triplet.  The other sac was still there too, but fading.  They explained that the body would eventually figure out that the Sac B wasn't viable and to send all support to the growing fetus and absorb the other. 
We were not sad at all. Maybe a titch disappointed, the thought of twins is fun for about 5 minutes, then it's just a scary realization of so much work and weight and labor and so on.  We were grateful to have one healthy baby growing. 

The following week, I went to bed at 6:00-unable to stay awake longer and would sleep till 6:00 the next morning.  About a week after that, the pregnancy was in full swing and sickness hit like sickness never hit me before. I was unable to keep much down and was so nauseous. It's the first time I actually went on any medication for morning sickness and all it really did was sedate me.  So, there I sat from about 10:00 am everyday when I'd take my first pill to that night, I sat still on the couch, or my bed.  The few trips we made out to visit family were followed by more sickness and a literal need to stay put and dread driving home.
It was enough to put Auggy, my germaphobe over the edge. He wouldn't even want me to sit by him for fear of some unsightly thing happening in front of him.  I had to tell them what was happening a lot earlier than planned simply because I couldn't make it through their breakfast in the morning without losing it. And Quinn was down right offended with some of my pregnancy issues.  Once, they knew though, it was a whole new ball game and love for their new sibling to be.
My recollection of otherwise, memorable things like Fall Break and any Fall Festivals were masked by the overwhelming nausea and subsequent sedation that followed. It's a blur. I was never so grateful that all three kids were in school full-time as I was at this time.
I didn't make it to our ward's trunk or treat because I was stuck in Queen Creek unable to make the drive home that night.  But I did sit and answer the door for trick or treaters while my kiddos went out with their Dad.

Another testament to my sickness and general lackluster attitude towards life at this point, is the fact that no picture of our cute cat, little devil or Mario (yes again)  were taken. And, Tyler felt the most important picture to be snapped that night was of his works of art, pumpkins in the Plants vs. Zombie theme that was requested by his kids. Oh well!

Came and went much like October.  Tyler was gearing up for his 2nd half marathon and I was able to run the 5K.  And the kids were able to come cheer Tyler on as he ran his last lap and in to the finish line. Thanksgiving was nice. We went out to my Sister-in-law's home in Queen Creek and feasted with family and friends.  It was all very nice, yummy and satisfying.  All except for when I threw it all up that evening. :(  Some say I got to eat everything I wanted without the calories...yes, that's also called Bulimia.

By December, my nausea let up and wasn't feeling so sick all of the time.  We were all able to enjoy our Christmas Advent Activity Calendar countdown to Christmas. Woa, that's a mouthful.  Roasting S'mores with cousin Josh, riding in the carriage, Bass Pro Shop with Grandpa and Grandma Judy were some of this year's highlights.  Christmas was spent here in Arizona and the big Santa Surprise was a new trampoline! The kids were so excited they were all out there in PJ's and coats jumping at the crack of dawn.  Christmas is always a magical time and our December tradition has been a great way to try to keep it from going too fast and slipping away amid all the hustle and bustle.  We read along in the scriptures this year with a daily scripture about Christ and that will definitely be incorporated each year.  Christmas at Tyler's  parents is always nice. His two sisters were here for it and our darling nephew and niece always make it extra fun and special.
We headed up to Utah the day after Christmas and enjoyed a speeding ticket along the way (that I cried about for two hours in the car) as well as some good family fun and merriment.  All three of our kids were very ill and caught that nasty flu that plagued the 2012 Holiday season, but we all made it out ok and the kids really enjoyed their cousins, Aunts, Uncles and Grandparents while they froze their tushies off.  On our way home, we didn't even hit 0 degrees until Cedar City.  Holy cow it was  SO cold!

NEW YEAR!  We all fell asleep before midnight. Happy 2013!

I finally felt like most early pregnancy symptoms has dissipated and I could move on to the nicer part of the 2nd trimester. I was ready.  The kids have loved the trampoline and have spent many hours giving it some good lovin.  Auggy with his bgff having a little picnic.

My baby girl turned SIX!  

CC is the little observer of the bunch.  She is rarely the ring leader of the band, but is eager to jump in on the fun once the party gets going.  We celebrated with family and she enjoyed being spoiled for the day-even though it was a Sunday.  She really loved taking treats in to her Kindergarten class.
Six things to love about our CC girl are:
1-Her big smile and funny faces.  Q is able to snap quite the array of candid photos of this one
2-Her independence.  She can do everything by herself, and if she can't it's very hard to finally get a request for help
3-She loves to be in the kitchen. Banking or cooking is a favorite of hers. She would peel carrots all day if I let her
4-She loves her Dad!  Oh and she has him wrapped around her finger.
5-She is a meticulous color-er and usually has notebook with her everywhere we go.
6-She loves purses...all kinds and has quite a collection accrued.  I should say "had" we just had a garage sale. :)
 We couldn't imagine our homes without this little joker.

Hubstar actually surprised me with a yummy Valentine Day Treat!  What a guy! No really, I was amazed he even remembered with the schedule he's had.
Mmmm! Yummy!

Unfortunately this box of chocolate covered strawberries, the Sees Chocolate Gift Certificate from my Mom, the box of Oreos, and Mallowmars helped me gain 12 lbs in one month!  Hey, when will I ever do it again?!?  Seriously though, that is the most weight ever gained in a month for me. Why can't it be that easy to lose weight?

My oldest turned 10. DOUBLE DIGITS! How can that be?  She is a bright little light in our family.  Quinn-we love every smart, funny, silly, skillful thing about you!  She is growing up so fast and is transitioning into a sweet, fun-loving young girl with big dreams and aspirations.
The flower water color on top was the one selected for the GSD Art Show

10 Things you can't help but love about Quinn
1.  Her love of laughter, at anything humorous and lately that has been watching old videos of herself as a baby doing funny baby things. She can watch them  over and over and laugh her head off. And she always wants to share whatever it is that she finds funny.
2.  Her blooming artistry skills. She had a peice of artwork picked for the District's Art Show this year as well as a few opportunities to experiment with different mediums this year.
3.  She loves, adores, gobbles up anything having to do with babies!  She is so excited about this new baby brother she will meet this month.
4.  She is expanding her musical base this year by taking violin and singing in the ward choir.  She has enjoyed both.
5.  She has advanced to intermediate level in piano and has begun to play some really beautiful and challenging pieces.
6. She continues to push herself academically and has undertaken some big challenges in writing class. It's been so neat to see her explore her imagination while seeing her personality shine through with some of her projects.
7.  She loves fashion. She already has me rolling my eyes at the things she likes or wants to buy with every new Justice catalog. ;)
8.  She is a good big sister and often takes the role of helper and teacher when it comes to crafts, homework and "life lessons". I love this side of her though, because she is very nurturing...when she wants to be.
9.  Quinn has embraced the Lake...all things Lake Powell!  She could be on the boat all day. I know this because I used to feel the same way. I couldn't badger people enough to take me back out to try to get up, stay up longer, or go again.  She is the same.exact.way!
10. She still loves me.  She wants to be with me and hang out. She is my pal, my girl, by friend and still needs me like a little girl needs her Mama! I'm so lucky.  And this is my blog so I can put that on here as selfish as it might sound.

 Tyler and I slipped away for a very quick but fun get-away to California for the main purpose of picking up baby gear from his sister...but it was also a wonderful excuse to spend the day in Santa Monica and evening driving leisurely up the Malibu coast.
 A stop through Pasadena at Tyler's CA office balcony is where I took the cute little 
shot of these colorful umbrellas.  

It was the best!  Love my Babe so much!

Is this baby every going to come?  We got to start NST (non-stress tests), US (ultra sounds), AFI's, and a prick in the finger 4x/day this month due to another bout with gestational diabetes.  Curse you...but without those, I never would've been able to see this little picture of a beautiful, perfect little boy!  It's getting closer!

I will be meeting this little face-soon! Very soon!