Wednesday, August 12, 2015

This Summer Was Made

Though simple, I think we did this summer right. A lot of our activities were premeditated but spontaneous. How so? We made a list of things at the beginning of summer of things we wanted to do, or things we could do when we got bored. Some examples included: build forts, hunt bugs, go for walks and bike rides and swims, play at the park, see a movie at the drive-in, visit with friends, read a lot, put together large puzzles, make treats, climb trees, clean the house (!?), trips to museums, play in the brook along Winfield, build with Legos, pretend (you name it), etc. Simple, simple, easy and relaxed.

I must interrupt myself and note that we had also planned to make this summer full of learning. Learning about anything the kids wanted. We planned to dedicate a week to one topic and make something to show for it. Mondays we would check out books from the library, read them through the week and create something fun to go along with it. This lasted only two weeks for reasons you could guess. The first week the topic was black holes (which was pretty interesting), and the second week was . . . pepperoni? No, maybe "the wild west"? I can't remember, but that idea soon died and we got back to summer being more like . . . summer.

Back to simple and relaxed. So, with that ever growing list of ideas in our minds we just kind of faced the summer as a blank slate ready to be written on. Although the out-of-school summer was just a short 6 weeks it felt long and good. I probably only heard "I'm bored" literally twice. Praise the heavens!! The summer season, though, is still blazing on and we're still enjoying it before the fall.

Some mental images and memories I never want to forget . . .

Just a few days ago Theo and I "took a run". It was his idea and he even got dressed for it. He put on his Toy Story light-up shoes, baggie shorts that have a huge buckle-belt, an over-sized islander shirt, and his American flag trucker hat--wearing it backwards. I told him to lead the way. We ran across the giant hill in our front yard and through the brushy trails back. The sun was bright. Black and blue butterflies were flying everywhere. He was in front of me bounding a long. As we crossed the back of the long hill he opened his wing span, fingertips touching the grasses and flowers along the trail, and ran with his might. As he reached the descent of the hill he turned around and smiled at me and said, "I love summer! This is the best day evaaaaaar!" As we ran through the tall grassy, flower-filled trails I told him I think this is what heaven will be like. He agreed. Moments like this will live with me forever.

Another. Henry has really taken to reading. Many times I caught him sitting in the lazy boy with Mabel or Theo or both perched on his side listening to him read. This summer he has read about 30 Magic Tree House Books, The Mysterious Benedict Society, and started the second Harry Potter book. We've read Tin Tin books, and devoured all the books by our favorite authors multiple times: Mercer Mayer, Chris Van Dusen, William Steig, and Mo Willems. At dinner time one way we like to get the kids to calm down or stay at the table (because this is a HUGE challenge) is to play, Name That Book. We'll recite lines from the book and the child who guesses right will get to come up with the next line. This is a fun tradition.

Catching fireflies. Through most of the summer I would put the older three to bed and then walk Margo around outside. Because the sun sets so late in the summer I was the only one to get to see the fireflies. After about two weeks of feeling totally spoiled at getting to enjoy the fireflies alone I decided Henry, Theo, and Mabel would get to stay up late one night and do the same. Let me tell you, we lucked out and chose the right night. The fireflies were abundant and the kids loved it. The children were all in their PJs, ready for bed, and we sat on the couch reading until we saw a flew flickers in the field. Upon seeing them we ran outside and spent 20 minutes catching, releasing, running, and dancing in the tall grass, watching the magical bugs. The boys climbed a tree and saw them from up above, and Mabel on the other hand, got down low and saw them up close. I don't ever want to forget this night.

Another fun memory is when the boys caught frogs on rainy days with the neighbor girls. We had some good weeks of rain. On those rainy days the kids would either put on swimsuits or rain gear and collect buckets full of rain water from the drain pipes and disperse it to random places, wherever their game required. They assigned each other roles and they got to work tapping sticks and making special hoots and whistles to communicate the whens and wheres of the water dispersal. Everyone always got soaked and often muddy. And, on a few of those days the kids were lucky enough to pull back the logs next to our porch and find quarter-sized frogs. Usually they'd find enough for everyone to have one.

The children did make some goals to accomplish by the end of summer. I can't remember them all, but I am happy to report that summer 2015 is the summer Henry learned to tie his shoes and Theo learned to ride a two-wheeler. Both abilities have brought them much confidence. I can't mention increased confidence without thinking about swimming. Henry can now jump in the deep end and swim across the length of the pool as well as touch the bottom of the 9" pool. He loves it and is so proud. Theo, too, can now jump into the pool and swim short distances. Unlike Henry, Theo, can baaaaarely touch the bottom of the shallow end and have his head stick out just enough for his nose and mouth to stick out. This has not deterred him at all, which has really kept me on my toes. What's impressed me the most is his ability to stay calm and get to a safe space despite his size.

I've loved how Mabel has really taken to Margo. She absolutely adores her little sister and likes to mirror me in mommying. She'll pack her bags with toy food, get her pretend keys, phone, and wallet and take her babies outside or around the house. She also loves to sing to Margo, tickle her toes, and pat her head.

Another family project was making a push-cart. It reminds me of the wagon in the Calvin and Hobbes comics. Todd built it with the boys over the summer and we tried it out on a hill at Douglass park. It went down the hill pretty slow but one great feature is that you can steer it with your feet at the front wheels. We like to use it to pull the kids on sometimes.

Good times, good times. May we make more and document them and cherish them.

Random photos, pictures taken by one of the kids:








Sunday, June 28, 2015

For the Record

After church photo taken with a self timer on top of the big box our double stroller came in. 

So roughly 6 months ago I vowed to be a better blogger, if for no other reason than to keep a somewhat good record of our life for my children. And, that's been the only post for this year. What can I say? I have many excuses for not continuing to blog, the biggest one being having no camera (because what is a "mommy blog" with no pictures?). I also worked (babysat a little girl roughly 32 hours a week), was pregnant, and well, that's about it (in addition to running around with my three other kids). Well, now we have a camera, now I'm not working, and now I'm not pregnant. Seems like my excuses are gone.

I would like to try again. I celebrate second chances and renewed goals. Big plans, big plans I say! I'm not going to try to backlog and document things like Theo and Mabel's birthdays, my trip to UT in January (which Todd gifted me so I could see family and my dear friend Rachel and friends at her baby shower), and everything else, though I wish I could. Doing that seems just too much; I'm sure I'd be scared away from ever blogging again.

The truth is, years ago, probably 15-20 years ago I accidentally found one of my mother's journals from when she was younger. I can't remember the dates of her entries but I know they spanned many years, from before I was born to a little after (if I'm remembering correctly) and there were only a few entries. Each entry was pretty short. Some were about moves, some about day to day activity, and some were spiritual thoughts. I loved reading them though I don't remember exactly what they were anymore. When there were large gaps in her record keeping I wondered what had happened during that time and wished I could read about it. I'm sure she was busy and journaling wasn't a huge priority, or maybe it had gotten lost or was boxed away, like many of my journals. But I wished I could have read even just a line or two from those gapped years.

Remembering that experience of finding her journal helped me remember that record keeping is of interest to my children and worth doing. In fact, my kids already LOVE looking back at the blog and seeing pictures and hearing stories of when they "were little". So, with a new camera (thank you, Steven) and a new member of the family, I'd like to continue blogging.

I think it would be best to start with Margo's life.

She drew her first breath six weeks ago, Monday May 18th at 11:47 am, only one hour after the midwife broke my water. I was 41 weeks pregnant and my parents were to return home in two days. I needed to have our baby, and not without my parents. She was "our baby" because we had not yet found out if she was a boy or girl. I guess we like surprises. Big ones.

She came out hollering, all red and full of life. I could not believe it. After Todd announced that we had another daughter I was so thrilled and said a couple times, "Wow, baby girl, that was craAAAAzy! Can you believe we just did that?!" Our Margo Jane had made it--and luckily I had gotten on the bed in the nick of time. This is how it went down.

After three weeks of early labor symptoms, two membrane sweeps, walking around at five centimeters dilated for who knows how many days, and support from the midwives, I decided to have an AROM induction.

My nurse was Katie. I loved her. She seemed very knowledgable and was very personable. Plus, she has a little son named Aimes so we felt connected thanks to The Bachelorette. She got me all situated in our LDR suite and prepped for the induction. Shortly after, my midwife, Vanessa, came to get things going. I was happy to see her since the midwives rotate for deliveries and you never know who you're going to get. Vanessa is one of my favorite midwives and I felt I was in good hands. She broke my water at 10:47 am and meconium was present. It was noted to call the NICU during delivery.

I preferred to labor mostly alone and unmedicated so Vanessa told me I was her number one priority and to call her whenever I needed her. She went back to the clinic. Todd and I turned on the TV and started watching HGTV; we love our home improvement shows. After about 15-20 minutes I got up to use the bathroom and 10 minutes later I felt I needed to walk/pace around the room. I pulled out my nano pod to listen to my birthing playlist. Because this time around I was prepared. I thought I could escape labor pains by listening to some tunes. Some of the artists included: Low, Pete and Ann Sibley, The Stone Roses, Kalai, Lee Williams and the Cymbals, Antony and the Johnsons, Talking Heads, Jewel, Brandon Flowers, Katie Melua . . . songs that transported me to happy memories.

I got through about 3 songs as I paced around the room. At this point I was feeling regular, what I would call, cramping surges. They did not feel at all like full uterine contractions like I remember with Mabel. Just low but intense cramps, with easing in between. The nano pod became too annoying to deal with so I asked Todd to tell me about the book he was reading. It was Khaled Hosseini's And the Mountains Echoed. If you've ever read that book you may understand why I was more disturbed than relaxed listening to the synopsis so I tried to tune out his actual words and just listen to his voice. That worked for a minute and then I, as kindly as possible, requested silence.

Those of you who have labored unmedicated, or medicated for that matter, know that eventually mom needs silence and any kind of noise is a nuisance.

I paced the length of the room two more times and at this point the cramping surges were super strong and I had to stop and lean on something through them. Todd became my support and we walked the length of the room one more time and arrived back at the bed.

Suddenly my temperature shot up. It felt like the room was 110 degrees and I started sweating and feeling nauseated. I told this to Todd and immediately after I felt the baby coming. I started groaning like only a laboring mother can groan and told Todd to go get the nurse. I leaned on the bed and the cramping pain eased. I heard him say to Katie in the hall, "Uh, I think she's in . . . labor." When he came back Katie asked, "Do you feel like you need to push?"

Well, actually at the moment I didn't. "Well, not at the mo---Oooooooohhhhhhhh!" And mid sentence the urge to push came over me and the animal-like groaning began again. I held on to Todd and Katie told me to breathe, breathe, breathe and get on the bed. She started dialing numbers, calling the NICU and the midwife. The urge to push never stopped and neither did the groaning. Everything escalated. Magically Todd helped me to the bed. I heard Katie yell for Sheila (the nurse tending to another expectant mother down the hall) and then command Todd to take off my pants (not pants literally, but those fun hospital undies). He did so in a flash and was then at my side. I heard her on the phone yelling, "Delivery, delivery!"

She must have been yelling to be heard over me. At this point my body had fully taken over and I couldn't slow it down. With Todd on my right, and Katie on my left preparing for delivery Todd exclaimed, "There's the head!" Katie ran to the bottom of my bed as she finished putting on her gloves, the shoulders were born, Katie unwrapped the cord and our baby was born.

I could not believe it but I was so relieved it was over in such a short time. I was also super grateful she hadn't hit the floor. If I had known she was so close to being born I don't think I would have been pacing to the last second.

We were now a family of six and couldn't have been happier. As they were assessing Margo Vanessa came in, almost breathless. When she got the call she ran like mad, but didn't make it in time. She held my hand and told me what a good job I had done. I could tell she felt bad she hadn't been there, but her support then was just what I needed.

* * * * *

Six weeks later I am fully recovered, thanks to loving parents and friends and husband who helped nurse me back to health. We are still adjusting and finding our new normal. The three other children welcomed Margo Jane so lovingly. She is completely adored and cherished.

Family is really what life is all about.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A New Year's Resolution

What a quiet year foxandewe was in 2014!
This morning as we hunkered down for our first snow/cold day of the season the kids and I browsed foxandewe's history and I realized what a treasure a family history is to each of us. And this blog is simply that. Nothin' fancy.
It was so fun for the kids to see how they were when they were "little". 

One of my new year's resolutions is to more regularly document the details of our lives here so our  family can cherish them in years to come.
Do any of you have recommendations on how to publish or print your blog in a book for your family?


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A Welcomed Homecoming

Summer 2014 was a memorable one. 

Many favorite memories:

The first: Seeing my parents at the airport after 18 LONG months. They had served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Guatemala as medical advisors. It was so exciting to see them again! My father had lost a lot of weight and my mother had awesome new glasses. I could tell they were tired from good, hard service. May they be blessed forever!

In-N-Out was the perfect post travel meal for them (I hope!) and for us :)

Henry turned 6, and got a hiker's hat, hiked the "Y" and got to dig for bones at Thanksgiving Point. Henry's dream is to be a paleontologist when he grows up so this was a dream activity. He could have spent all day there. They also got to ride ponies, in a carriage, and they even milked a cow. 







At the top we were pleasantly surprised to join a large BYU SOAR group. LDS youth sure are energetic and spirited. We told the boys they were the Army of Heleman. 

(Mabel slept in my arms the entire way down. My arms and back were tiiiiired.)



Todd and I went to Comedy Sportz to remember the good ol' days and get a few good laughs. It was fun, but seemed too loud. I think we're getting Old!


We also hiked Grotto Falls and rehydrated at Sip-N in Payson, UT. The weather was great, the hike not too strenuous, and the falls were beautiful. 


Cannon was so sweet as he helped Theo cross the river. Brave cousins are priceless!



 Theo loved palling around with his buddy and cousin, Canyon. 

 And Henry was the little explorer.










We also visited the revamped (at least since I was a girl) Provo Rec. Center multiple times. It was a kid's summer paradise. 




The 4th of July in Provo, UT. Need I say more? Famous for the Stadium of Fire and all the festivities, Provo is my favorite place on the 4th. It was especially great having so much family around to celebrate with. We went to the parade and had a personal face painter. Thanks, Aunt Julie. It was HOT and pretty long but that's how parades go, right? 

Our favorites: pre-parade Star Wars characters, the fire trucks, the Timpview band (and cheerleaders) if I do say so myself, the MTC and Provo missionaries esp. with the double-decker bus (Theo was in heaven!), and lastly, Studio C. Fun, fun, fun, in the sun.









We learned on this trip that the Provo Mission President plays tennis with Bub, ours truly. 



The cousins also had a water fight in Mom's backyard on the 4th, and we played at Edgemont like we were kids again . . . 






Playing at Edgemont . . . 


Sarah even did a FLIP off of the swings. I was so impressed. 

In the evening we had dinner and lit some fireworks, watched the boys wrestle and rock out (Mabel, too), and watched the girls perform a song and dance:





















 When the trip came to an end we were ready to get back to Todd. He had to head home early to continue work while we stayed and played. Luckily the children were great travelers--if I can remember correctly. Or, it was so bad I have put it out of my memory. Either way, I look back fondly!