Wednesday, December 15, 2010

no particular title

my baby's taking a super long nap and i have a couple of surprise spare moments! i don't have anything in particular to say, but i do have some cute pictures i can post........

who needs an ipod? this is the new generation of boom boxes. i found pace walking around holding the little-people nativity stable upside down on his shoulder so he could hear it play "away in a manger" better.

liesel and gwyneth organized a family olympics competition. we did an obstacle course, swimming events, free-throw shots, sit-ups (i did 4 the first time--ha! i tried again and squeaked out 31), push-ups, hula-hooping........when it wasn't his turn pace practiced his motorcycle-riding skills.
here is liesel doing her push-ups
i love decorating the tree. it might be my favorite part of christmas. this picture of madeline captures our excitement.
a good use for extra ornaments.........
we went to the everglades a couple of weeks ago. we kept forgetting liesel was in a wheelchair and kept leaving her behind. pace took pity on her.
does it look like we have a really big family? i never think it's that big until i catch a glimpse of us all together. yikes!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

just some randomness

first of all, here are two funny signs that i'm letting things slide a bit around here:

#1 gretchen (6 years old, remember) put pace in bed last night. totally by herself. no input from me. i didn't even know she was doing it. she had him go to the bathroom, she put him in his pajamas, read him a book, and hefted him into his crib (yes, i know he's 3, but why wreck a good thing by putting him in a real bed?).

#2 gwyneth and i were looking at her faith in god book to see which things she could check off. one of the requirements was "planning and preparing a meal". she laughed and said "hello, only like a million times!".

thank heavens for good children!!!!!!!!!!

luckily, she still finds time to sneak in a good book while hula-hooping

in other news: this is how pace spends a good portion of his time these days. eating cookies and waiting for wells to wake up so he can give him his pacifier.

wells got blessed. better pictures to come when i have time to get him redressed in his blessing outfit.

and we did do halloween.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

maxwell: beast/wells/newbaby/wellsmax

4 weeks old today! i still can't quite believe i have 6 children. i guess the 9 months of pregnancy weren't enough to prepare me. i really, truly, and seriously can't believe i've had a baby for almost a month. i think that most of my brain is taken up with other things and i'm just fitting the baby in between things. it's a good thing i'm nursing him so i get a good excuse to really hold him every couple of hours.

so, here's the rundown on the bub. he weighed 7.11 lbs when he was born, and at his 2-week checkup he was 8.1 lbs, so he's filling out quickly. he's working on a bit of a double chin. it's funny that he can seem chunky, since he's still a full pound lighter than gretchy was when she was born. ouch! i'll take the 7-pounders any day, that's for sure. he sleeping really well at night (i feed him at 8:15 and he doesn't nurse again until 5:00) and is taking some pretty good naps during the day. the kids all love him, of course, and it's nice to have so many helpers. pace hates it when i put wells to bed for naps, though, and says that wells will "miss him too much to sleep". we are very glad that wells (so far) is a low-maintenance baby. he is starting to make his first baby-talk noises, which is very cute.

here's the rundown on liesel. 2 weeks ago the dr. said that the next 2-3 weeks would be the hardest yet. liesel and i about died. we were like "um, i thought we already were doing really hard.....". the first week after he made that announcement actually went well (as well as being in lots of pain and having a no-fun external fixator can be), but last week was a bear. by far her worst since the first week after the surgery. her main pain right now is from the muscles being stretched so tight. her leg has now been stretched 4 1/2 centimeters, and her muscles are really fighting it. her dr. is really proud of how she's handling it. i think she might be his best patient ever.
we got good news on friday, though! we are done with the stretching phase, which means the muscles will have a chance to catch up, and the pain should get more manageable. we have a couple more days of turning the struts on the fixator to get her knee aligned better (her knee was slightly knock-kneed, and the bone in her lower leg was bowed, so the dr. is using the fixator to correct some of that). we'll go back to the dr. on tuesday to find out if the knee is in place. already, her pain is much more manageable in her thigh than it was last week. her knee is pretty sore today, but overall it's much better. she was able to walk around last night a bit at the halloween party we were at, which she couldn't have done at all on thursday. we are hoping that it keeps getting better!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! now we just hope the next 5 months pass VERY quickly (4 in the external fixator, 1 without the fixator, but on crutches/walker/wheelchair again to make sure the bone is stable).

oh, i forgot to tell about maxwell's labor/birth. friday night (october 1st) loren and i went on a brisk hour-long walk--my goal was to have maxwell over the weekend so loren wouldn't have to come rushing home from work (even though it was almost 2 weeks before my due date, i was done being pregnant--plus, i'd been dilated to a 3-4 for almost a week by then). saturday all day i was really crampy and achy and had some really big contractions, but nothing regular. by saturday night i was having more contractions--still nothing regular, but hard enough that i called loren while he was at the priesthood session of general conference and had him come home from it early. when he got home we went on another walk (not brisk at all--more like a waddle, and only around the culdesac a couple of times). it still didn't make the contractions any more regular, so i decided to take a bath to actually stop the contractions so i could go to bed. i got to bed at about 12:00 a.m. and slept until 2:00 when i got woken up by a whopping big contraction. i expected to start having contractions then every 2 minutes or so, since that's what i did with all the other kids, but i didn't have another one for 15 minutes. it was another huge one, though. i waited for one more contraction (15 minutes later again), and then woke loren up to tell him that even though the contractions were 15 minutes apart, it was definitely the real thing. we left for the hospital at about 3:00. i was trying out the hypnobirthing method for the first time (i highly recommend it, by the way, if you are going for a natural childbirth) so i started doing my deep breathing/relaxation stuff. at the hospital we got all checked in and i was dilated to a 7. the contractions were still 10-15 minutes apart, so i was totally able to relax in between each one. they stayed that far apart until i was a 9, and then i had a few that were 5 minutes apart, and then i felt like i was going to have to push soon, so the nurse got the dr. and i pushed through 3 or 4 contractions (these were the ones that really hurt--i do not like my transition/pushing contractions at all!!!!!!!!!!!!!) and he was born at 8:45 a.m. i got to hold wells right away for a long time before they took him away for cleaning and all that other stuff. he nursed right off and was making everyone laugh because he was gulping and swallowing like he was getting tons of milk, but of course it was only a couple of drops.
anyway, i really liked the hypnobirthing method--it was a very calm way to go through labor. the recovery was easier, too, because i hadn't expended much energy during labor. it was an all-around satisfying way to have my 6th baby.

this picture has nothing to do with anything in this post, but i think it's cute, so here it is. he's being a swim coach for madeline and gretchen. the other day i heard all this whistle-blowing and i looked out and saw the kids taking turns being coaches and swimmers. pace even took turns being a swimmer, doing laps across the pool. his "backstroke" is hilarious. he totally looks like he's drowning because he swims on his back with his face under water and his arms flailing around like crazy. he comes up every few seconds for a breath with a big old grin on his face. somehow he can make it across the whole pool like this. i tried to make a rule that he can't do backstroke anymore, but he wouldn't listen to me.

Monday, September 27, 2010


here she is, waiting for the surgery.

the day after surgery. the hospital had a scrapbooking activity.

gwyneth had all sorts of good ways to cheer liesel up. sisters are way better than moms when it comes to that sort of thing.

physical therapy.

and here it is.
be glad i didn't show you a close up of this hole 3 1/2 weeks ago. this is looking good.
more p.t.
the package loot.
home spa treatments
notice the plate of goodies.
another view.
the wheelchair.
first time going upstairs.
first time dressed and sitting at the table.
future fashion disigners.

i guess it's about time i stop procrastinating and just get this post over with. every time i sit down to do it, i give up because there's really too much to say, and no way to say it. does that make sense?
liesel had her big leg surgery almost 4 weeks ago. she has an external fixator on her leg now, and we're in the process of stretching/growing her leg to be about 5 centimeters longer so her legs will be more even in length. basically, during the surgery the dr. cut the femur bone so it could be separated apart and then attached 7 metal pins to various parts of the separated bones. the pins are attached to the fixator, which has these little rods on it that we turn 3 times a day to stretch the bones apart. so far she has "grown" almost 2 centimeters in the last 4 weeks. if all goes well, we'll have a couple more months of "growing" and then a few months of letting the bones grow back together again and get strong. the earliest the fixator will come of is march, but it could be as late as june or july. liesel does therapy at home 3 times a day and then we go to 2-3 dr's appointments/therapy sessions a week to make sure we're on track.
see, this is the problem with doing this post. that's all the technical stuff explained, but there's so much more going on..........i don't think there's any way to prepare for the kind of emotional roller coaster ride a surgery like this puts you on, and there's certainly no good way to explain it on paper.
i thought i was pretty good at seeing liesel come out of surgeries, but when i saw her lying there before she woke up and the reality of the fixator hit me, i burst in to tears and couldn't stop crying. and i don't ever cry in front of people. especially doctors. before i left the hospital to go home to the other kids (loren was staying with liesel--we took turns) i had to stay in the bathroom for 10 minutes before i looked presentable enough to walk through the halls. the first time liesel did therapy at the hospital it was absolutely awful-- she was dry heaving from pain, gwyneth was standing behind her rubbing her shoulders with tears just streaming down her face, i was crying ( front of people). since we've come home from the hospital we've had lots of ups and downs. the main problem right now is that liesel's muscles/tendons/etc. can not keep up with how fast her leg is being stretched so they are really, really, really tight and sore. so therapy is hard. HARD! and it's just getting really old to be in pain all the time and to be in a wheelchair and to know it's going to be this way for a long time. i was not prepared for how hard it was going to be on me to watch liesel go through this. yesterday in church i totally lost it and cried and cried and couldn't stop, even when i was playing the organ on the closing song. then, i'd finally gotten ahold of myself and was heading to primary to do the singing time and somebody stopped me and asked how things were going. i literally burst in to tears (big sobbing ones) and couldn't talk for like 5 minutes. and then i was just like "i'm fine. just tired. everything's okay." because really, we are okay, it's just hard.
and, see, that's the problem with trying to write it down all down. because we really are fine. but it is also really too hard to do. it's both at the same time. all the time. see, now i'm crying again, but i'm also about to write a list of all the ways liesel's doing so well. and she IS doing so well. but it's still too hard.
SO, here are some of the thank-goodness-for things:
1. having twins. i have never, ever, ever, never in my whole life seen such a bond between two people as i've seen between liesel and gwyneth during this time. gwyneth is amazing. liesel is amazing. it's awe-inspiring.
2. children who read. we've gone through maybe a thousand books. that's probably an underestimate.
3. fashion-designing. hours and hours and hours spent designing fashions.
4. home spas. lots of painting fingernails, toenails.......face masks.........homemade lip gloss......
5. moms and sisters who will spend lots of time talking to liesel on the phone while she does therapy.
6. moms and sisters who will spend lots of time talking to me on the phone about liesel's therapy.
7. loren. best husband and dad ever. he is also turning in to an amazing cook. i'm trying to convince him it should be a permanent thing.
8. fathers-in-law who come to help out and sweep floors and load dishwashers and spend hours with pace in the pool.
9. grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins who send packages with all sorts of pain-distracting goodies/crafts/books/etc. we couldn't have survived without them!
so basically, we ARE doing really well, liesel's exceeding her dr's expectations, we are seeing the lord's tender mercies all around us, we have lots of good times every day............and it's still hard.

Sunday, August 15, 2010 mexico.texas.louisiana.missisippi.alabama

and back to florida. we just got back a week ago from a month-and-a-week-long journey. and boy, does it feel good to be home!!!!!!!!!! except that we picked up a nasty virus in texas and liesel's had a fever/mouth sores/swollen gums/ear infection/nausea since we got home. but that's a story for another day. (we're still glad we visited you, joanne).

in order to keep your sanity and my sanity intact, i will only do a very brief rundown of the trip. followed by approximately one million pictures. give or take a few. it depends on how my sanity's holding up at that point.

day 1: drove 3 hours to kissimee, florida to give ourselves a bit of a head start on the trip. loren and i had a goal of working out every morning of the trip to utah, so we woke up early the next morning and went on a walk with pace, who rode his strider bike.

day 2: drove to somewhere in white-trash alabama. swam in the hotel pool. decided we do not like driving in alabama.

day 3: made it the "boy" allen home in arkansas (no relation to us--friends from california who had 3 boys when we had 4 girls--since then they've had a girl, and we've had a boy). had a fabulous dinner of homemade veggie burgers. did some crazy fireworks for the 4th of july. the dads loved the fireworks. the moms were nervous.
day 4: drove to marian and chad's house in kansas. had a thoroughly good time recovering from driving. got to watch a terrific fireworks show from their driveway. people in kansas are serious about their fireworks! played in the pool, went barefoot walking (it's all the rage now, didn't you know?), and watched the cousins play together. stayed in kansas for days 5 and 6.

day 7: drove to wyoming and stayed in a hotel.

day 8: drove to utah. stopped at maggie's house on our way to orem. loren's mom, dad, and sister came up for a visit, too.

days 9-15: stayed in orem. had a lot of fun seeing both sides of the family. we snuck in a trip to 7 peaks water park. i also got to meet up with some roommates of mine from byu. my big sadness of the trip was having to cancel a visit with kari and rochelle (friends from virginia). the logistics of packing and organizing a week-long camping trip proved to be complicated, to say the least, and i ran out of play time.

day 16: drove to tonopah, nevada. stayed there for a night on our way to the family reunion in yosemite.

day 17: drove into yosemite national park! hooray! went on the best roller coaster road ever. also went through lots of tunnels (or igloos, if you're pace). got to the campsite and set up camp. LET THE PARTY BEGIN!!!!!!

days 18-23: family reunion in yosemite. best fun ever. highlights: valley sightseeing, ponderosa grove, half dome hike (loren, liesel, gwyneth), swimming at the swinging bridge and hole-in-the-rock, policing the strider bike gang.....
day 24: drove to simi valley, california to karalee's house. had a happy reunion with liesel and gwyneth bffs kelsey and amelia. day 25: loren flew back to florida. the kids and i stayed there through day 26: went to church at our old ward, had a swim party with long-time friends........

day 27: drove to liza's house in arizona. played in the pool and the sun for 3 days. i could live in arizona, for sure. pace perfected his swimming techniques.

day 30: drove to poppy's house in new mexico. this was like a california reunion trip for me! went to a fabulous park and had a great time catching up with each other!

day 32: drove to joanne's house in texas. swam and played, swam and played, swam and played for the next 3 days. cousins are the best.
day 36: drove to louisiana for the night. swam in hotel pool. wished loren was there.

day 37: scrapped original plan of taking 3 days to get home from texas, and decided to drive all the way home. MADE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

end of trip.

random things i noticed on this trip: 4 wild pigs running along the side of the freeway (florida), a man doing pushups by his car on the side of the freeway (california), a town named "bangs" in texas, a huge mongo snake on the freeway (HUGE, seriously--like national geographic worthy) (louisiana), the ugliest swamp ever (louisiana), LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS OF EPIC RAINSTORMS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (every state we drove in after california--it made for some very tense driving and lots of praying)

other side note: florida definitely has the craziest drivers of all the states we drove through. it also has the most highway patrol cars. hmmmmmmmmm. something's not right here.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

oh, and it's a boy

so, i realize i've been neglecting to share many important things on this blog. such as the sex of the new baby. IT'S A BOY!!!!!!!!!!!!! (in case you missed the giveaway title of this post.) we are very excited about it. i just forgot to tell everyone, because after i found out i forgot that i didn't just use my telepathy to instantly beam this information around the world, and then it became old news to me, and life just moved on without me telling anyone. so, consider yourselves told. better late than never.

also, pace's birthday has come and gone without any mention whatsoever. he did have a birthday, and he did turn 3, and we do love him. here are some shots of him getting his new strider bike (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED if you are looking for a bike for your 2-5 year old). pace can zoom around like crazy on this thing.
he requested chocolate pie for his birthday. it's what i had on my birthday, and i guess he thought it was pretty great. he is not a big fan of cake. i love watching kids open their presents.
and here are some pictures of a trip the kids and i went on with another family. we headed to the beaches a few hours north of here to explore them before the oil spill ruins them. i had to type it small because i'm hoping it won't really happen and i didn't want to jinx it by writing it big.

we went to 3 different beaches while we were there--all totally different from each other, and different from the beaches down here. we looked for fossilized shark teeth at one (and tried not to think about non-fossilized shark teeth finding us instead. the water was not as clear as we are used to and there were largish fish swimming around our feet, so it was harder than you might think to keep our imaginations in check. i might have even screamed a few times myself.) our hotel was right on a beach, and also had a swimming pool, which was heavenly, even though it was so warm it was borderline hot tub temperature. to give you an idea of the water temperatures there, even the ocean was 87 degrees. which is VERY WARM for water. we also went to a white-sand beach. heaven. the kids found some really fun shells and we had a great time.

now we are busy (BUSY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) getting ready to go on a 6-week long vacation that will take us (driving--ack!) all the way across the country to california (yosemite) and back. we leave this thursday. wish us luck! and if any of you are going to be in utah july 8th through the 15th let me know and maybe we can get together!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

swim safety lesson

i've been getting nervous about living by all this water here in south florida so i've been doing "swim lessons" with pace every day in our pool. he's been doing really well (more videos of that to come later) and LOVES swimming. last night we decided to have a family lesson on pool safety. the main goal of the lesson was to help pace know what to do if he accidently fell in to a pool. he does really well swimming around with me in the water, but i was worried he'd panic if he fell in with his clothes on and everything without me there. i had all the other kids get dressed in real clothes and shoes and pretend to fall in the pool, then turn around and grab the side and go back to the steps. when it was pace's turn to "fall in" i got him dressed in clothes and a diaper and flip flops and helped him fall in to the pool. he was very pleased that he remembered everything he was supposed to do. he watched this video of it about 100 times today. the next water-safety step is getting him to be able to go from swimming on his stomach to floating on his back--he can almost do it, but it needs a little fine-tuning. anyway, that was a long explanation for a short video, but i promised pace i would put it on the blog and write all about it. he's standing right by me waiting for me to finish so he can watch the video again.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

mother's day weekend

i am lucky enough to move to a different state every couple of years. which also means i'm lucky enough to meet great friends in all the different states!
this year i got to celebrate mother's day weekend by going to virginia for a girls' get-a-way at betsy's cabin. i also got to spend one night each at kari's house (she's the best hostess ever!!! even though she denies it) and ellie's house (also the best hostess, plus she taught me how to make duct tape flower hair accessories, which scored me lots of points when i came home and taught liesel and gwyneth how to make them). hooray for good friends and good times.

this is where i spent most of my time. i think my true inner-most self would sit in a chair and talk with friends and eat all day every day if she could.
this is just a sampling of the great food we had. none of it was prepared by me (i was truly lazy the entire trip, i tell you), which made it taste even better!
this is the gang. some of my best friends ever. i will love them forever. sappy, but true!
this picture is taken right before (i think?) a hilarious game of "celebrity", in which i confirmed that i chose wisely to become a stay-at-home mom and not an actress. you girls can thank me later for not including any of the pictures taken during that game in this post.
none of these feet are actually mine, but i really like feet pictures for some reason.
some people (juliette) talked some of us in to doing some yoga. what could be more perfect than doing yoga on the deck of a mountain cabin? i guess nothing.
what a great weekend! i came home ready to be a mom and a wife again. i am lucky to have such great and inspiring friends. i know, two sappy moments in one post. yikes.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

family scripture study and some tangents

last night we were reading about the olive branches being grafted. this somehow segwayed into a discussion of arms being grafted back onto bodies if they'd been cut off. which prompted me to remember that my mom had once gotten a skin graft when the tip of her finger had been snipped off by a door. which prompted liesel to suddenly remember that she'd gotten a skin graft on her finger once (a fact i had totally forgotten). i have no idea how liesel remembered this or even knew this in the first place, since i don't ever remember discussing it with her. me saying so prompted a whole other discussion on things we could or could not remember. we finally finished reading the chapter. during all of this, pace was jumping around on the couch with some shorts on his head. which prompted loren to say, when he was helping pace say the family prayer, that we were "thankful for the clothes on our backs and on our heads". which sent all the girls (including me) into fits of (reverent) giggles. please tell me the kids are getting something out of family scripture study.

p.s. i have no idea how to spell "segway" and spell check was no help whatsoever. anybody know how to spell it?

tea party--boy style

the other day i came in to the kitchen and found pace all set up in his booster with a little cup and spoon in front of him. he told me he was having a party with indiana jones. that's when i noticed the other cup set up across the table from him. that's where indiana jones was sitting.

pace asked me if i would buckle indiana in to his booster. i obliged. i asked pace if he was having a tea party. he said "no, a shake party." i guess the water in the cups was really shakes. i asked pace if i could take a picture of his party. he said "yes" and made sure i got a picture of indiana jones.