Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Glass Curry

(not my photo. Google image)
I love Indian food. The way the spices meld together and wrap you up in the aroma and flavor is transporting! The absolute comfort food.

A while ago, I decided to splurge on a jar of tikka masala paste at the grocery store. It was a bit out of my budget, but I was really craving some good curry and since I can’t always throw down the time to go to the Indian reataurant, or the money for a meal, I decided to just splurge, live a little, and buy the six ounce jar of tikka masala paste. Besides, only 1-2 Tbsps were typically used to create the sauce, so I could use it several times over, I justified.

After sitting in my cupboards for about 2 weeks, last night I fInally decided to make it. I chose not to follow a recipe, as recipes are cumbersome and demanding. Ha! Not really, but I couldn’t find a simple one, and I didn’t have a lot of time to get dinner ready before Jeffrey would be home from work. I decided to wing it. And recipes are merely guidelines anyway.

I got out 2 cans of coconut milk, and put that in the pot with a scoop full or two of masala paste. My sister in law had given me some curry seasoning for my birthday, so I dumped a few spoonfulls of that in as well, and mixed it all together. And then I let it simmer.

Meanwhile, I pulled out my rice cooker and my pressure cooker. I threw in a couple of chicken breast... and some drumsticks. We ran out of breast and that is all I had left. But cooking is about improvisation, right? I dumped some more curry seasoning in on top of the frozen chicken pieces, and let the pressure cooker do its thing.

I poured some chicken broth and a few Tbsps of butter in the rice cooker with some rice, and then went to play with Vince and Beth while everything cooked.

I also sneaked several... many tastes of the curry sauce, to check for perfection. But really, it was because it was so good, and I couldn’t help myself.

The pressure cooker popped, the rice cooker dinged, and dinner was ready. I called everyone together, and we all sat down, greatly anticipating this comfort of all comfort foods.

Except dinner didn’t go exactly as planned. A few delicious mothfulls through, and I suddenly lost my appetite. There were glass shards in my food. I had tried soldiering on, but after I found a disturbingly large one, I knew dinner was over.

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What had happened apparently, was that Faye had accidentally broken the jar. But it was such a clean break, it was scarcely noticeable. Also, because it was so cleanly done, no jagged edges or anything, I thought we would be okay.

I was mistaken.

There weren’t many shards, mind you. Nor were they really much larger than a grain of sand. But they were there. Immediately my throat began to hurt. I imagined it had been cut while I unknowingly swallowed. I imagined my insides being slowly torn apart as my body attempted to digest.

And so, with worry tearing apart my sanity, just like the piece of glass I imagined was tearing apart my innards, I set about putting the kids to bed. Beth was an angel and put herself down. I love when she does that. Faye and I sat on my bed while I alternately rocked Kip or Vince to sleep.

Jeffrey and Keith got home from an outing they had gone on, and I put myself to bed, all the while, throat still hurting.

Imaginations of my rush to the hospital, emergency surgery, but it was too late. My subsequent death, funeral, burial, and my kids, growing up without their mom.

I admit, I got a little carried away.

A bit.

Hypochondria at its finest, folks!

Right before I fell asleep, I got up to get a drink of water. I went into the kitchen and saw the slightly broken jar of curry paste on the counter. Waiting for its fate. I picked it up and looked at it, weighing it in my hands, thinking. Oh how delicious it was! Again, the memory of the flavors wrapping my tongue in a big hug came to mind. Also, my whole morbid play in my head flashed through my mind.

And then I threw it into the trash.

Because $5 of curry paste is not worth $100’s in doctor bills, or my children growing up motherless, no matter how delicious it was!

The good news, though, is that Jeffrey has already made a request for it again! Just not laced with glass from a broken jar next time.

Oops!

***It is important to note, I am not a hypochondriac. I am not morbid. I didn’t dwell on those thoughts, I merely let them come, pass, and then I laughed at how ridiculously melodramatic it all was.

A Not-So Quiet Afternoon


The boys got their immunizations yesterday. Vince is fine. Like water off a duck’s back. Kip, however has developed a bit of a fever and really would prefer to be snuggled and loved on all day. He let’s me know of his disapproval when I put him in his bed. As such, it is noon and I am still in my pajamas and in my room.

Instead of baking pies, rolls, and jello for the feast tomorrow.

Beth was having a horrible moment. She was screaming and slamming my bedroom door. Not once, mind you. Not twice, either. She stood screaming in my doorway, opening and slamming the door as hard as she could 8-9 times. I couldn’t do much about it because I was feeding the baby. I did finally manage to get her to go to time out...


in my shower.

I couldn’t think of anywhere else to put the banshee. So she stood and screamed at me from the bathtub, eyes shooting daggers, lungs exploding with four year old expletives such as; “I hate you! You are the worst mom ever! When I grow up I will never visit you! I am never talking to you again!!!” and I calmly ignored her and continued to feed the baby.

And then I heard a mournful wail coming from the living room.

Let’s recap here.

Beth is screaming at me from the bathtub. Kip is super fussy and not eating well because his nose is stuffed up and he has a slight fever. Which tranalates to a crying baby.

And then Vince came pitter pattering down the hall, wailing like an 80’s glam rock guitar, with Keith and Faye close on his heels. Guilty looks painted across their feigned cherubic faces, full of counterfeit ignorance.

Somehow, and they still haven’t disclosed the details, Keith got Faye’s fart putty all over in Vince’s hair.


I am so proud of myself for not losing it and screaming at them. I did scream into the air in general, but that can be considered a battle cry, right?

Right?!

So I had a screaming Beth, sobbing Kip, and realy irritated, angry, and confused Vince, all being extremely vociferous, while Keith’s face is suddenly guilt stricken and Faye is looking smug.

I did what any mom in that situation would do.

I ordered pizza.

Not as a reward, mind you, but as a survival mechanism. I knew there would be no way I would be able to get lunch made at the rate things were going. And as soon as tummies were filled, I could send kids to bed. And possibly get dressed! Maybe even tackle the pies, rolls, and jello i need to make before tomorrow.

And I laughed. After sending pictures to Adrienne, of course. I knew she would appreciate the chaos I was living.

And so, with Kid’s Netflix, butter, a fine tooth comb, and lots of patience, I managed to get Vinny’s hair clean. Er, clean from putty.


He now smells delicious! Very buttery and reminiscent of rolls.


It looks like baths are in the cards for the kids again today.

My day was too quiet, anyway.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Goodbye October


Groggy eyes.
Subdued voices.
Sleepy hair.
Sticky faces.

These are all symptoms to a sugar hangover, and children all over the country are suffering from it. I’d almost go as far as calling it an epidemic.

Halloween and birthday month have come and gone, and as usual, I didn’t take many pictures. On the 16th Keith became a decade old. He really wanted a party, and I was concerned about that since my life still isn’t put back together from having a baby. But he told me he just wanted 4 friends over to play Super Smash Bros. and eat pizza. That is a party i can easil get behind! Since it required nothing from me, I let him do it. I didn’t even worry too much about my house. I figured, since Keith can never see the mess when I ask him to clean, hopefully no other 10 year old will be able to see the mess either.


It was a smashing success, his party! One of his friends even went as far as calling it epic. And the boy got to celebrate all month long! A week before his birthday a package arrived. He opened it. It was his gift.

Keith has since learned the importance of not opening packages. We had a long conversation about that. From the begining of October, through the end of December, it is best if he, and the rest of the children, just leave packages alone. Otherwise surprises will be spoiled.

Since he had already ruined his surprise, we let him chose if he got his gift, a Legend of Zelda backpack, that day or if he wanted to wait until his birthday. He chose to wait.

The morning of Keith’s birthday was a very busy morning! Beth and I went to the city to see that delightful play, River.Swamp.Cave.Mountain. as previously noted. I rushed home and arrived just in time for his party.

However, I still havent had time to make the boy a birthday cake.

Luckily, Macey’s carries lovely cheesecakes, so we sid indulge in that. And then a few days later Adrienne brought me a gorgeous 3 layer pumpkin spice cake for my birthday. It was absolutely lovely!

Jeffrey took me out for my birthday. We went to Barnes and Noble and he let me indulge in my hobby. He’s an enabler of the best kind, you know. I came home 5 books richer and so excited! Especially since i got some that have long been on my list of books to read.


A week later we went to my inlaw’s house to celebrate all the October birthdays. My brother in law, my niece, Keith’s, and my own. Keith really just wanted to see his cousins so made rhe request for a family get together. We also did one with my side of the family. Same scenario, Keith’s birthday, my birthday, my dad’s birthday, and my great niece’s birthday.

October is a busy month. A birthday month. A sugar induced month.

Halloween day was busy. The kids had their Costume parade at school. I then had to go get pumpkins, and got the kids from school. We went to Warren’s for the free kids meals, and then to my mom’s to carve pumpkins. We hurried over to my grandmother’s house and visited for a bit, and then back home again. Jist in time to throw some food onto the counter and ask Jeffrey to cook it while we left to go trick or treating. I had the baby strappes on in a wrap, but after doing the cul de sac and a few houses outside of it, he was conked out, so I rushed him back home and gave him to Jeffrey. I knew my back would be killing me by the end if I didnt. And then the kids and I went around, very hurriedly so as to hit as many houses as possible before we had to go home so I could feed the baby. We really only did our street before we turned around and came back, but after just our street, their buckets were bursting. I dont know how we could have done more as there was no room left! It probably was Vince’s fault. He would stand at the door holding his bucket up and say, “Please!” Everyone would get their candy and turn away from the door, leaving Vince, in all his adorable glory, standing withhis bucket still held out hopefully, and the sweet little baby voice ringing politely in the air. People just couldn’t resist that cuteness. They would always give him extra. To the tune of a handful or more. Keith calls it Vince’s super power. The power of cuteness and people just succumb and are under his control.


Oh! For Halloween Keith went as Arthur Dent (from the book The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I was so proud), Faye was a monster slayer. She came up with her costume entirely on her own. Beth alternated. She was Heidi (from the book. Heidi of the Alps. Which isnt the name of the book, but i thought it might help clarify a bit. The book is just Heidi.) and she was Belle. And Vince was a dragon.


While Halloween and October are my favorite time of year, i am glad it is over. It isnt the easiest time with a newborn. These next few months are going to be do fun! I just have to prepare so i can enjoy them with a tiny baby.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Shower


I took a shower today. It was about time, too. I felt yucky and dirty. It had been a few days since I had last showered. That happens to me a lot. I just have a hard time finding a convenient time because I don't trust Vince or Beth around Kip while I am otherwise occupied. And I worry that Kip will wake up and cry and I wont be able to hear him. Also, I tend to take long showers. It is my alone time, sometimes the only alone time I get during the whole day, so I tend to take advantage of it.

But today! Today was a turning point. Vince and Beth were sitting on my bed watching My Little Pony, and Kip was in a bouncer in the bathroom. As I enjoyed the hot water pouring over me, relaxation with every drop spread over me, and I took a great big breath of steamy air. I could do this! It could be a daily practice. I thought back on the luxury of showering every day, and was so happy with the thought that I had figured out how to implement that once again. Kip was happy and the other kids were occupied.


And so my shower stretched on as I was lost in my thoughts. Enjoying the brief quietude.

I got out and dressed. I went into my bedroom and Vince came running in, a pleased look on his face, and a purple sharpie in his hand.


A purple sharpie in his hand!


This did not bode well.


“Picture!” He exclaimed excitedly. He took my hand and pulled me after him into the living room.

There, on the wall, in dark purple permanent marker, was His masterpiece.


And with that, came the realization that my dream of showering every day is still just that. A dream.

At least I have something I can look forward to.

Later, after cleaning up the sharpie (rubbing alcohol is like magic, did you know? I didnt even have to scrub hard!), he came to me covered in soot. He had discovered the fireplace. Go fogure.

Ironically, today Keith gave me a hug, and it was suddenly, eye wateringly clear, that it is time for him to start showering at least every other day. He showered Friday night, and up until recently, that would have been good enough. And since I don't get that luxury right now, Keith is going to step up to the plate. Having that conversation with him, though, was wonderfully awkward. I love awkward. I think it is hilarious! Jeffrey was uncomfortable talking about it. Keith was uncomfortable hearing about it, and I was sitting off to the side observing it all, and laughing to myself. Of course, I am sure if Keith knew I was writing about this, he would have my head! But that is the privilege of being his mother, I get to document things that may embarrass him now, but I am sure he will thank me for it years down the road. And anyway, it isn't like he reads my blog frequently anyway! Back on point, though, so Keith showered tonight, and then we presented him with his very first stick of deodorant.

He wouldn't let me take pictures.


But I did get pictures of him pretending to shave the other day. That will have to work as documentation of my little boy beginning the first steps of puberty.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

River.Swamp.Cave.Mountain


Last week I had an amazing opportunity. I was invited to go see a play with one of my kids, and then write what I thought of it. 

I feel a little bad as I had intentions to go straight home and write about it, but it happened to fall on the day Keith had his birthday party. So I got home and had to get ready for birthday festivities. But I am getting ahead of myself.

The play is designed for children between the ages of 4-8. I decided I would take Faye since she and I don't get a lot of one on one time together. For some reason, about half an hour before it was time to leave, Faye decided she would rather stay home and clean. Whatever. That was probably better for Jeffrey, anyway. And Beth was more than happy to fill the sudden vacancy! So we got ready and ran out the door. I was extremely apprehensive as it is a 45 minute or so drive to the city, and I had just fed Kip right before we loaded up the van. I just prayed he would be quiet through the whole thing.

We got there, barely in time, and with Kip strapped to my chest, we headed in to the theater, not knowing anything about the play other than the title.


As it unfolded, I was very impressed. It is a play about 2 kids (cast: 2) who have recently lost their grandmother. Isabella is 8, and her little brother J.J. is 5. Together they go on a journey, an adventure, as they sort through their feelings about grief and death. I thought it was very cleverly put together. The play was full of high energy and incredibly relatable for kids. The play explores the theme of death from a child's perspective. As they went on their adventure the relived their memories of their grandmother, and the things they taught them, which ultimately helped them through their grief. 



I found it interesting that each place they went was relatable to a stage of grief. The river was sorrow, the swamp was anger, the cave was guilt or fear, and the mountain was acceptance.



Beth just glowed through the whole performance, and loved it, even though she hadn't had any recent experiences with death. After the play was over, we did get to talk about her two cousins who had died when they were babies, and her great aunt Mimi. When it ended, Sharah (my friend who had invited me to the event) went up and invited all of the children onto the stage where each of those feelings were talked about, and then we did a feelings Hokey Pokey. Beth had a lot of fun!



Surprisingly, Kip stayed asleep through the whole thing! When the play and activity were over, out in the foyer they had set up tables with art supplies on them. There were cute little tags that the kids could decorate. Grief tags, they were called. They looked like luggage tags, about that big, maybe a little bigger. There were also papers they could draw on, and the 2 actors came out and mingled with the kids and talked with them.

What a great experience for the kids! I am so excited that they are touring! It is with Plan B Theatre. The show is specifically for grades K-3 but also great for 4 year olds. You can catch it here:

Public performances, Salt Lake City Library branches (FREE, no tickets required)
  • Thursday, October 19, 2pm- Main Library Story Room, 210 E 400 S, SLC
  • Friday, October 20, 2pm- Glendale Branch, 1375 S. Concord St. SLC
  • Saturday, November 4, 11am - Sweet Branch, 455 F Street, SLC
  • Saturday November 11, 2 pm - Chapman Branch, 577 S 900 W, SLC
  • Saturday November 18, 11am - Marmalade Branch, 280 W 500 N SLC
  • Saturday November 18, 2pm - Anderson-Foothill Branch, 1135 S 2100 E, SLC
Public Performances, Davis County Libraries, Presented by Davis Arts Council (Free, no tickets required)
  • Thursday, October 26, 4pm - Centerville Library Auditorium, 45 S 400 W, Centerville
  • Friday, October 27, 4pm - Central Davis County Library Auditorium, 155 Wasatch Drive, Layton
  • Friday, November 17, 4pm - Roy Library Black Box Theatre, 2039 W 4000 S, Roy
After the play, while Beth colored and drew pictures on the Grief tags, I was able to feed Kip. We visited with some of the people who made the play possible, and then we headed for home.

Traveling with a newborn really is quite tricky. I had to time everything between his feedings. We stopped at Kneaders for lunch, and talked and enjoyed each other's company. I like, when I am out with my kids, to give them my undivided attention. I try really hard to focus on them, what they are saying, and their experiences. Beth is really funny and kept talking about the Sweet Tooth Fairy because I had taken her into that magic shop on our last Beth/Mommy date. She is such a special girl, so full of happiness and smiles! Of course we went there, and got a cupcake for her, and then a cookie for Keith, Faye and Vince. And then we went home, because we still had to get ready for Keith's party.

I am so happy I was able to go to the play, and see (and learn) such a great way for kids to process their grief, or even any other big emotion! I love that they talked about sometimes we feel big emotions and so we want to express them in a big way, and that is okay. Big emotions are sometimes scary, but are always okay. I hope that Beth could feel the biggness of my love for her on our little outing, though!






Wednesday, October 11, 2017

According to Plan

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Daily Goal: Get to IKEA to pick up birthday gift for Keith.

Action Plan: Feed the baby, get the kids ready, feed the baby, leave the house by 11:30 at the latest. Get to IKEA, feed the baby, leave the kids in the play area, and hunt down a nice but inexpensive comforter for Keith. Leave IKEA. Stop at Culver's on the way home for some insanely delicious cheese curds and concrete frozen custard. Be home before the kids get out of school, as if nothing happened. They will never suspect a thing, that we had an adventure without them.

This is what was on the docket for the day today. See, a simple, easy to follow plan. I should have known that nothing ever goes according to plan this morning when Vince started dry heaving in my bed. But he was fine after having breakfast, no more vomiting, no more dry heaving, he was fine. So I set about with my action plan. I started to feed the baby.

...and I fed him and fed him and fed him. He just didn't want to stop eating! From 9-11 the boy ate, nonstop. And then I was getting Beth and Vince dressed so that we could rush out the door...

And then I realized the sad, cold, hard truth.

Vince is really truly actually sick.

There would be no birthday shopping today.

The poor boy, though, just doesn't feel well. 102.5. That is what the thermometer read, although who knows if it is accurate because he kept taking it out of his mouth to look at it. Poor baby.
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It has been a very interesting combination of giving Vince the adequate cuddles and care that he needs, while still taking care of Kip. Sanitizer. Lots of sanitizer. That is the answer. And thank heavens for naps!

I must say, though, children's books and shows are taking on a stale quality today. We have done so much reading and watching today, accompanied by lots and lots of cuddles!

I am a little sad that my plans were derailed today, though. I wont be able to go down to IKEA until Keith's birthday, and that is cutting it rather close, if you ask me. But there is nothing I can do about it. Beth has preschool tomorrow, and then Friday is early out day, Saturday is Keith's birthday party, and then Monday is the big day. I also had a type of baby shower to go to tonight, but realize sharing germs this close to her due date (next week!) is probably not the nicest thing to be sharing, so I will keep my boy's germs home with me. 

Meanwhile, there will be so much baby snuggling time, and I will never complain about that!
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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

A Decade in the Making

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September 15, 2017: This was the day that was to be my due date for my fifth child, who still had not been named. Because of that, I expected the baby to be born anytime between August 25th, and September 8th. Because all of my babies had come early. Every single one of them. When August 9th hit, everyone, including my midwife was shocked that I was still trucking along, and had no baby to show for it. I was annoyed, and uncomfortable, but tried to keep a good attitude. Because that is what you do when disappointment happens. You keep a good attitude, and it doesn't matter what the disappointment was, it is always lessened. The problem here, is that I am a planning sort of person. I like to have my planner, and to fill it in, and to be able to look at it and see what is going to happen, and to see what I have planned, and to not live my life by the seat of my pants. That is not to say I don't like spontaneity, because I most certainly do! I just hate living my life in anticipation of an event, never knowing when it is going to take place. Because then, I just can't plan anything else.

Back to the baby. On the 14th I went in for my weekly checkup with my midwife. She again was shocked that I still hadn't had the baby. She checked me, and I was dilated to 4 cm. Still. I had been sitting at 4 cm for a month now. 4 cm and 75% effaced. For a month! No change. I had been drinking red raspberry leaf tea, I had been going for walks, I had been talking to my baby, trying to encourage him to come, that the world wasn't such a scary place when you have a family that loves you. I tried spicy foods, and *ahem* other modes of getting the baby out, but nothing doing. Nothing had budged and I sat, unchanged, still at 4 cm and 75%. It was getting a little frustrating. But I was determined that I wasn't going to get started, I wanted my body to do everything on its own. Besides, at this point in time, my baby still was nameless. I was okay with having a few more days to find a name that would be absolutely perfect for my little guy. Except at this appointment Christy my midwife said something that changed everything. She asked how old I am. 35 in case anyone else is wondering. She then said that it makes her very nervous when people of my age (that doesn't make me feel old at all. Noooooo.) go close to, or even pass their due date, she worries. Evidently the incidence of still births are much higher for women 35 and older, and the closer to and past the due date a baby goes, the higher its chances to be stillborn are. And then she suggested inducing me.

Well, when you put it that way, there is no way I could possibly say no! I live in fear of having a stillborn baby. Or a baby die of SIDS, too. Or really, having any child pass on before me. I think most mothers are the same way, to be honest. But, with that idea lingering in the air, we set up an induction date. I wanted it to be the 19th of September, but she already had one for that day, so I needed to chose something else. She suggested the 16th, which would have been that Saturday. Only 2 days away! With much trepidation in my heart, we went ahead and scheduled it.

Friday night came, and we went out to dinner with our dear friends Shaun and Lisa. We talked and laughed, and gosh I love those two! I am so glad that Shaun married Lisa last year because I just adore her! Anyway, we went out to eat, and we visited, and it was a wonderful distraction from my nerves. I know if I had been sitting at home, I would have been an absolute mess! Even at the restaurant I had moments of panic which passed quickly, because I wasn't able to dwell on them.

Saturday morning dawned bright and early. The hospital called me at 6 to say that they didn't want me to come in at 7 after all. They said they would call me around 9. 9 came and went, and I finally called them around 9:45. They said the charge nurse would call me back. I hadn't heard anything, so I texted Christy around 10:30. She said they had told her they would want me in around 11. At 11 I still hadn't heard anything, so I decided to be proactive. I wasn't going to just sit around and wait anymore, because I was feeling so anxious and useless and frustrated because I was being kept in suspended anticipation. We packed the overnight bags for the kids in the van. Their bags had been packed for weeks! We loaded everyone into the van, and we headed out. Keith and Faye were going to stay with their cousins, and Beth and Vince were going to stay with my parents. We felt it would be a lot easier on whoever had the kids, to split them up, and I must say, it worked remarkably well! The kids were all excited to get to have a sleep-over, because we don't do those. After the kids were safely deposited, Jeffrey and I went out to get some lunch, and then we headed to the hospital, still waiting for their phone call. As we were pulling into the parking lot of the hospital, my phone rang, and they asked us to be there in an hour.

So we got to have a picnic in the parking lot of Labor and Delivery. Jeffrey knew I was going crazy with waiting, so he suggested we walk. We did have an hour to kill, after all.

We got out of the van, and memories flooded me. The hospital is directly across the street from my late grandparent's condo. I used to roam the fields that have since been turned into apartments and office buildings. I loved to run around in the rain. The harder the rain the better. The smell of the damp earth, the sage brush and the weeds was intoxicating to me, and I loved the feel of the rain, drenching me as I ran beneath the Russian olive trees. I really did have a sort of idyllic childhood. There is only a small portion of that field and the grove of trees left, an island of the past being choked out by modern living, and the demand for more. Since everything else around was parking lot, of course, we headed for the fields and trees.

We would have anyway, because that is where I am happiest. That is where my soul finds peace and is able to recharge.

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As we stepped from the sun baked pavement onto the hardened soil, my heart gave a sigh of relief, and all of my worries stayed piled nicely on that pavement, waiting for me to return. But in the meantime, I was free of them, and I was happy. Literally and genuinely happy, a huge smile etched onto my face, completely of its own accord. We walked hand in hand down a little trail, curious where it would lead us. I breathed deeply, willing myself to remember every little detail. The bumpy terrain, the trail with random muddy spots, the dappled pathway with the sun playing with the dust and particles in the air. It was simply magnificent! Soon, it was as if we had stepped into another world. No longer could we hear the rush of cars or the hurry in the air. Everything was peaceful and calm, with no need to scurry. Birds were chirping, and grasshoppers were jumping out of our way as we walked, leading our procession deeper into the shadows of the trees. We rounded a bend where the trail split off in three directions, and I wished I could split myself and go down all three. Jeffrey and I laughed and talked, enjoying the moment. We heard a rustle in the trees to our left, and no more than 20 feet in front of us, a deer gracefully leaped out of the brush, and bounded away. She was magnificent! And it was decided for us. Obviously we would have to follow the deer. That was the only trail we could go down. We soon enough found her lair, but no other sign of her. She was long gone, and the trail ended abruptly into a rocky stream bed that had gone dry.

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We turned around, and went down another trail, which also ended abruptly at a barbed wire fence, surrounding a farmer's field. Finally, we went down the third trail, which took us back to the parking lot. We still had 45 minutes before we were expected, so that is when I decided a little bush whacking was in order. Because another grove of trees was just yonder, through the weeds, and I knew that this very well might be my last jaunt in the wild before winter came. Reluctantly Jeffrey followed me. He commented on my demeanor. Apparently I glowed. Nature and the wild just do that to me. I transform. I think I could have been very happy living in pioneer times... after they were already settled here, mind you. Because even though they had to really work hard, there was so much wild around them. So much wide open world where the heart can be free and grow and replenish and heal. Because that is what happens to me when I am out. I heal. And so, despite his reluctance, Jeffrey could see plainly how much that little outing was doing for me, and kept his grumbling words to himself as he followed me through the uneven ground, weeds, and world of little bitty grasshoppers. We quickly made our way to the trees, and we sat down to talk. We talked about a name for the baby, which had been our main means of conversation for the past few weeks. We talked about our kids, about how sad it was that BYU was once again being trounced in their game which was happening right then. And then suddenly, it was time to go in.

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We went into the hospital at 2:30, and then the tortures began.

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I was still at 4 cm and 75%, which was incredibly frustrating for me because what the heck, body! I had never had this much trouble getting a baby out before! I had a sweet nurse named Emily. We talked about what was going to happen during this birth, and then she tried to set up a stint for an IV. Bless her heart. She just couldn't find a vein, and when she did, she blew through it. Twice. And then she called the head nurse in to help. She also couldn't do it. Finally, they called someone from the lab to come and place an IV for me. It was really quite ridiculous. I still have 4 massive bruises on my arms because they couldn't find my veins.

For the first time ever, I had to be placed on antibiotics. I was really annoyed because I have been working so hard to get my gut balanced, and then everything was going to be destroyed in one fell swoop. But, I was strep B positive, and seriously, I can continue to fix my gut. It would be a lot easier for me to recover than for my baby who still had not been named to recover from strep. The sacrifices we make for our babies. I then learned that I would need to be on the antibiotic for 4 hours before Christy could come in and break my water. The nurse wanted to start me on pitocin, and I laughed. I told her I most likely wouldn't need it, that I deliver quickly, but if I didn't deliver quickly, then we could talk about it.

And so the waiting began. The monitoring, and the constant penicillin drip, which burned as it went in. I am so fortunate I never needed it before! Jeffrey and I nervously talked. He slept quite a bit in the corner while I chatted with a few friends online. I remembered delivering Vince and had to work hard to dispel fear from the memory of 18 months prior. It took a bit of prayer and a lot of positive thinking, but I got through it.

At 7:20 Christy came back and checked me. Still no progress. She broke my water then. I told her I would see her back in an hour. She laughed and said, "We'll see."

At 8:30 she was back. I had dilated to 9 cm, and I was not the nicest person. I don't remember ever yelling at my nurses, but this time around, I do remember yelling. I felt bad as I was doing it, but they were being bossy, and I had no patience for them. I think labor and delivery nurses are angels, by the way. They put up with so much, and are so patient and kind despite being yelled at. I really wanted to deliver in a way where gravity could help with the birth and not on my back, but once again, that was not in the stars. Christy had me lay on my back again, and I pushed. I really don't know how many times I pushed. It was a lot. Beth came out in 2 pushes. This baby was perfectly content to stay inside and not budge. It turns out, he was posterior, just like Vince was. Which explains why it hurt SO much! But he came out with a wail, and he was an adorable purple, and as he continued to fill his lungs with the powerful wails, his skin slowly pinked.

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And he was perfect. 8:49 is when he came into this world, his chubby arms flailing about, desperately searching for his mama. They plopped him down on my chest, and he snuggled in. I was in a bit of a daze, just happy to be holding him, and not being uncomfortable on my back for the first time in many months. I snuggled him, slimy and all, and just couldn't get over how perfect he is! I was sad that we still hadn't been able to pick out a name for him, though. A nurse suggested I do skin time, and I am so grateful for her, because all things of practicality and sense had left me the moment they placed him in my arms. And for the next 3 hours, the baby and I snuggled, all 8lbs 11oz and 20 inches of him.

He has dark brown hair, which is too short to tell if it is curly or not. At the moment he has cornflower blue eyes, but I suspect they will darken. And he has the most adorable dimples, one in each cheek, which just make me swoon every time he smiles. And his siblings are all just as smitten with him as I am.

The nurses and Christy were all amazed when I didn't need any medications for the pain afterward. I have been stocking up on anti-inflammatories in my body. I started taking Plexus when I was 7.5 months with Vince, and it helped a lot, but this time was so much better! I didn't need anything, except some Tylenol for a developing migraine from lack of sleep.

Sunday came, and the hospital gave us a complimentary Celebration Dinner. It was delicious, and came with some ice cold sparkling cider. My favorite part was the cheesecake, to be honest. Jeffrey suggested we sit down and not get up until we had decided on a name for the little baby. We prayed for help and guidance, and that what we chose would be a good fit for him, and then we sat down to eat and talk. After going back and forth a bit, we finally decided on Kip. We knew his middle name was going to be Hyrum. I had been sitting in Sunday School a few weeks ago, and we had decided on a different name. Ty Wilco. But in class, the teacher mentioned Hyrum, which isn't too unusual as we are studying D&C/Church History this year. But then she said that Hyrum had never been chastised by either the Lord, or Joseph. In that moment, I knew that that would be our little boy's name. And Ty Hyrum just didn't sound right. And so we went searching for the perfect name again. When one of us suggested Kip again at dinner, it just felt right. We both smiled, involuntarily. The name made us both happy. And so we wrote the name on the birth certificate, so that we couldn't change it again, and then messaged our family and friends with his name.

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Jeffrey left to go pick the kids up, and he brought them back to the hospital. Sadly, Kip was not happy when they showed up. He was very gassy for the first few days of life, and subsequently, incredibly stinky! But it was wonderful to see them. I missed them all so much. Keith, as expected, sat in the corner of the room, far away from anyone else, brooding. He struggles with change so much, and it is always so hard for him at first when a new baby is brought into our family. Sad that he is the oldest, in that respect. Faye and Beth were very handsy and just wanted to hold the new baby, and touch him, and smell him, and be all over him. Vince didn't care so much about the baby, he just missed me and wanted to be with me. Which I loved. When it was time for them to go, though, it broke my heart. Vinny didn't understand why they were leaving me at the hospital, and he cried the whole way home. And Beth threw up on the way home. Poor Jeffrey had to deal with all of that. I, on the other hand, had terrible dreams, and didn't sleep well one bit. But that is most likely because I was in the hospital, and nurses came in every few hours to push on my stomach, take my blood pressure, and even to draw blood, so I sort of blame my terrible night's sleep on them.

And then Monday, I got to come home.

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Kip is fitting into our family brilliantly. I am a little more sleep deprived than usual, which makes me have to work extra hard to be patient with normal kid things, like noise. chaos. playing. etc. But I haven't needed any ibuprofen, or lortab, or anything else. Just the occasionally Tylenol for lack of sleep induced head pain. And, I am off caffeine! It has been 2 weeks, and I haven't even wanted any. Until today, truth be told. But I would rather suffer from the effects of sleep deprivation than risk my baby getting the caffeine and him not being able to sleep. He is wonderful, and sweet, and I am so excited to have a darling Kip in my family. And, on a completely unrelated note, I am already fitting back into my pre-pregnancy clothes! Maybe not quite as comfortably, but I still fit into them, and it has only been a week and a half since he was born, so that is incredibly exciting for me!

And so, on September 16, 2017, Kip Hyrum completed our family. Which is apt because on October 16, 2007 Keith started our family. It seems all things really do work out for good.