Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Cousin Summer party!!

Today was so much fun! I have been wanting to do a couple of activities that I found on Pinterest with the kiddos, but just haven't gotten around to it. So even though it would have been fun with just my kids, I thought how much more fun would it be to have all the cousins join in on the fun?!

We handed out invites and anxiously awaited for today to come.  Really we didn't plan too much, just a mock ice cream party with freezy dough ice cream and water fun playing on a water blob/pillow. Jason helped me make the freezy dough, colored sprinkles and the water blob last night, but, unfortunately he had to work today. 

Anyways we started with the freezy dough, while the water blob started filling up with water.  I was surprised how much the shaving cream froze to look like real ice cream and melted just like real ice cream does.  Gracie played for a bit, but really wasn't a fan of the texture...sensory overload I guess.  I did, however, catch her eating a cone (that was real), hopefully she didn't end up eating any of the shaving cream!!

We then headed over to the water blob/pillow.  It was so cool and relaxing to just lay on it before the surface got all wet.  Gracie loved playing on it when the pillow was dry.  She loved jumping up and down and just laying on it. 
But the other kids tired quickly, so we had to add water.  Grace took off into the house for a break and to watch a show!

Gracie thought it was great fun to get naked.

The kids had fun running and sliding all over the place.  Then it was time for lunch. 

After lunch I don't know why, but, there must have been something about that wet water blob that was calling my name. I went over layed on it and before I knew it I was giving superhero rides and wrestling.  It was SO MUCH FUN!!  I love these kiddos so much!!

I will be really sore in the morning, but it was worth it.  I think we may just make this a tradition!!  We had two more cousins join later on, but I was too water logged to get the camera. 

What is it with my kiddos taking their clothes off?

This little guy spent most of the party napping.  But had fun when he woke up. 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Happy Birthday Baby

July 3rd was my baby boy, Spencer's birthday, I can't believe that he is already a year old!  He still seems so little to me. 

We didn't do much for his birthday.  I guess by the fourth baby, I have realized that he isn't going to need much to be happy, so I made him a cake and we sang to him and called it good.  Grandma was out of town, but grandpa came over.  We didn't invite any other family members as we were planning on celebrating Gracie's birthday 4 days later.

Really this past year has been quite easy when it comes to Spencer.  I always say he is the best 4th baby.  Spencer is the happiest baby ever.  Seriously, everywhere I go there are people that comment on how happy he is.  There is always a smile on his face, and I am often asked if he even cries.  Yes he does cry, but it is usually when he wants to nurse, other than that he is just happy and content.

Just this week we were up in the canyon and I was holding Spencer, all of a sudden he started getting nervous and swatting at a bee that was flying away.  I thought it was odd that he had developed a fear of bees when he has never been around them before (I guess I think that fear is a learned behavior); anyways a half an hour later I noticed that Spencer got stung on his arm.  Poor baby, didn't cry and barely flinched, that's why he was swatting at the bee!

Spencer was a late crawler, he only started crawling a couple of weeks before his first birthday.  Now he is into everything and can find me quicker than the other kiddos.  He likes to find me and crawl up the back of my legs until I pick him up. 

He is still nursing 4-5 times a day.  I guess I should start to wean him, but really I don't think I have any desire to.  I enjoy the time I get with him and he LOVES it.  He is not much of an oral eater.  We skipped the baby food and went straight to table food (we didn't introduce food till 10 months).  Honestly, when he is done eating it doesn't seem like any went into his mouth. 

He has a lot of babble talk, but hasn't really said many words.  His first word was Grace---it is quite cute, he emphasizes the last syllable. 

Spencer is super social and loves his brother and sister, though Ryan can never keep his hands off of him and makes him cry more often than not.  But Spencer is starting to hold his own.  We warn  Ryan that soon Spence will be going after him!

Though Spencer started out pretty big, 8lbs 6oz and looking at him he looks quite chubby.  He is only in the 15th percentile for his weight---20lbs.  I just think he is perfect! 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

It's not pretty and it might not make sense....vent.

It's been a long time since I last sat down and wrote a blog update.  I've been meaning too, but time just goes by too fast.  A couple weeks ago I read through all of my posts over the last 5 years and I was so grateful that I had those posts that I realized I need to write more so I can document memories and experiences with my family.

Unfortunately, this post isn't a memory builder.  But it is one that I feel is important nonetheless.  I've never been much of a writer.  I've never been very eloquent in how I vocalize my thoughts and feelings, but I need to vent.  I try not to complain much, I realize that there are many people who have things harder than I do.  I know that complaining about my situation isn't going to change anything and I just need to buck up, embrass it, and try to improve things.  However, I just have to get these feeling out.

I asked Jason last night if he ever feels alone on this heart journey of ours and he said no.  He said he thinks everyone handles things differently and there are no two heart journeys that are the same.  Some kiddos have it harder than others but he feels like he has the support he needs. 

Me on the other hand, I feel so alone on this heart journey.  When you have a heart baby, especially one with a very complex defect, it doesn't just affect the heart baby and parents, but it affects the dynamics of the entire family.  EVERYTHING our family can and can't do revolves around Gracie and how it will impact her, whether she can do things, etc.  Gracie has had it rough from the beginning.  And she still does.  She has delays that most of her heart peers don't have.  She has only been off of oxygen for 6 consecutive months her entire life.  Gracie has developed anxieties that have begun to impact her life experiences negatively.  Don't get me wrong, she has a strength and joy and zest for life that I wouldn't exchange for anything but because of her struggles and difficulties it is hard and it is lonely.

In the heart world there are support groups but I feel that even if I try there isn't much support.  Maybe it is because when Gracie was first born we kept to ourselves.  It was too hard to connect with others when they were either losing their little ones or their little ones were sailing through surgeries, the hospital, and recoveries. 

Apart from the heart world, I don't have family to turn to.  My mom has never been there for me.  She has never seemed to care enough about Gracie or what she is going through and now that her heart is 'repaired' I think she thinks she is fine now.  I wish I had a relationship with my sisters that I could just talk to them and vent and that they would get it or at least be there for me, but it isn't the case.  Everyone has their own life, their own struggles and really don't reach out to us regardless of how hard I try to reach out to them.

Jason's family is great, but it isn't the same.  I am not close to them in a way that I can really voice my fears and heartaches.  Though I know that they admire how well we take care of Gracie, do they really know how hard it is?  It is hard to take her to therapy appointments, doctor appointments, do our homework from said appointments everyday.  Play with the other kiddos,  balance the time spent with each kid, when Gracie requires so much attention and individual care.  Not even to mention the economic toll this all takes.

Some may say turn to Heavenly Father, He is always there.  Yes, yes He is.  I know this to be true.  I know that Him and Jesus Christ understand far better than anyone else what this journey is like.  They understand my fears, my guilt, my anguish.  But the truth is my relationship with Them has struggled and lacked since Gracie came into our life.  In a weird twisted way of thinking, I fear that if I truly rely on Them that they will think I am strong enough and take Gracie.  So instead, I just have distance myself from Them...I know this is foolish thinking, but it just how my mind and heart have worked the past few years.

This journey is hard.  Hard on everyone and all of our family relationships.  The pressure to do it all is great.  Am I making the right choices, do I have the strength to carry on?  Am I helping all my kiddos and giving them all the attention and help they need?  Will I ever have the energy left to devote to Jason and improve our relationship?  Will my other kiddos resent Gracie or see her for the miracle she is?  Will we ever be able to be 'normal' and have a 'normal' family?   

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Disneyland 2013

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Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Heart World

This week has been a rough week in the heart world and it has really thrown me for a loop.  A sweet, beautiful 4 yr. old little girl has returned home to her Heavenly Father.  Though I personally don't know this little sweetheart or her family, the devastation felt is immense. 

Mia received a heart transplant at just four months old.  Last week her and her family left on her Make a Wish trip to Disney World.  Upon arriving there, Mia got really sick, was rushed to the hospital and it was determined she was in severe rejection.  During a procedure, things went wrong and poor Mia soon lost her valiant fight. 

It was so sudden and unexpected for her family.  My heart is heavy and literally aches for them.  This has reminded me how fragile Gracie really is, and it scares me to death.  Gracie has been doing so well and amazing us all that it is has been nice not to be reminded of her sick heart.  But the truth is her heart is sick, and each day we are asking it to work in ways that are overwhelming. 

Since the day I found out about Gracie's special heart, I feared I would lose my sweet baby.  Now four blessed and beautiful years later, that fear has multiplied exponentially.  Four years ago, I closed down in so many aspects.  And though it may not be the healthiest thing to have done, it was what I needed to do to survive.  Now, I feel, that despite wanting to still be "shut off,"  I need to work on healing and opening up because this heart journey is too hard to do alone. 

I only hope that I will always remember to cherish and bask in the joy of having my children each and every day.  I hope that I will learn again to truly trust and have faith in my Heavenly Father and his Son, Jesus Christ, my Savior.  I hope to allow my heart to be more open and connected with others in this heart journey, no matter how hard the sorrow may be.  For in much sorrow, there is also much joy, seeing the miracles and blessings that come. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Spencer Jay

I can't believe that my baby is already 2 1/2 months old.  Wow has the time gone by fast.  I kept wanting to sit down and post, but with four little ones, it is hard to find the time.  Spencer is asleep in dad's arms watching the BYU/Boise game so instead of working out tonight, I thought I would try to update.

Spencer was born via c-section at 39 weeks on July 3rd.  He weighed 8lbs 6oz and was 20 inches long.  Unfortunately his lungs were having a hard time working on room air, so he went up to the NICU to get some help from the c-pap machine.  He needed more than 6 hours so he was admitted into the NICU and was on cpap for about 10 hours.  After he came off he was perfectly healthy and fine, but we still had to jump through all the hoops the NICU has to get him transferred up to the Mother-baby unit with me.  I will spare the details and arguments I had to have with the NICU doctors for them to finally transfer him, but let me just say the NICU is great for sick babies, but they really need to work better with the healthy kiddos that just need a little time to adjust, instead of having them follow all the protocols of the NICU.

Spencer was born on a Tuesday and was transferred up to the floor with me early Thursday morning.  Jason brought the kids to the hospital that morning to meet their new brother.  Morgan, of course was in love with him.  Grace responded the way we thought and was rather indifferent.  Ryan was the one that shocked us.  He was enthralled with Spencer and couldn't leave him alone.  Even two months later, Spencer is Ryan's baby and he squeals with delight whenever Spencer looks at him and smiles.  He says, "Me!!  Meeeee!"  As if to say he is smiling at me mom. 

Spencer is such a wonderful baby.  So happy, easy going and adorable.  He is content just hanging out in his swing while I take care of all the craziness that is our life.  At night, once the others are in bed he is kind of demanding and wants to be held till we go to bed.  But I don't mind, I cherish it, because it won't last long!

It's funny, people will ask me how old my baby is and my response is always the same.  "He's two months, but looks like he is 6 months."  Spencer is a big boy!  At his two month check he weighed 14 lbs, putting him in the 95 percentile for weight and 80th percentile for height.  I told Jay that we are good breeders, our girls are petite and our boys are linebackers!

I can't imagine life without Spencer.  Its amazing how much joy and calmness he has brought to our family.