My Reasons

My Reasons

This Is Where It All Begins

This Is Where It All Begins

Wednesday, April 30, 2014


The other day, I was sitting at "book club," which is more or less a great reason for a bunch of us friends to get together, eat yummy food, maybe talk about a book we were supposed to read, and chat into the wee hours of the morning about life, when someone mentioned drinking something that gave her so much energy she didn't know what to do.

This friend of mine is about 10 feet tall, 100 pounds, has perfect hair, perfect make-up, and is a model for fitness posters...literally.  She also has 3 kids under the age of 3, her husband travels a lot, she is genuine and kind, and is one of the most down to earth people I know.  She is clueless about her scary look alikeness to Barbie.  If she was about to divulge any kind of secret about how she does it all, without falling over dead half way through the day, then I was all ears my friends...all ears.

For the past 21 weeks, energy has been nothing but a wonderful, far off memory to this pregnant body of mine.  Something I miss dearly, and am excited to have back once my body is done making a human, expelling this human, and then staying up all hours of the day and night to keep this human alive and well fed.

Basically, in about a year, I look forward to getting some sort of energy back.  It will be great, but right now, the sacrifice is well worth it, very well worth it.

Anyway, at the sound of the word "energy," and a way to attain it, aside from drinking copious amounts of addictive caffeine, my ears perked up, and my friend had my full and undivided attention.

One word...Zipfizz.

She gave me one to try, and said that you can get them at Costco.  It is a powder you mix in water and then drink.  It has very little caffeine, and a lot of other vitamins and more natural energy enhancers.  She gave me one to try.  I gladly accepted.

So, two days later, I woke up feeling like the living dead.  I have come to know and recognize this very well, and knew right off the bat that this would be a day of battle between me and the clock.  Literally surviving, trying to keep up with my kids, and watching the hours until bedtime.  All 15 of them.

Perfect day for Zipfizz.

So, I mixed it, shook it up, and chugged half the bottle.

About 20 minutes later, I was on my way to the gym.  By the time I got there, I felt like I was ready to blast out into the world, and run laps around the entire globe.  I was beaming from ear to ear, and thrilled to just be alive.

I set Luke down, knowing full well he would immediately take off running, and I let him.  I chased he and William around, and into the gym.  He and William loved every second of having a mom with energy. I dropped them off at the kids club giggling, instead of slumping them over to the ladies and almost sneaking out to take a nap instead of working out.

I hopped onto the elliptical and blasted through my usual workout like it was nothing.  Usually, the workout almost kills me, and feels like 10 hours.  This time, I was done before I thought I was even done warming up. 

I am sure it was quite the sight.  Pregnant lady, with pregnant tummy, blasting away on the elliptical and bouncing all over the place, cheesy grin plastered on her face.

The only downfall, I had to stop and pee 3 times in 45 minutes.  Rock on.

As I was walking down the hall to pick up the boys, my friend was there dropping her kids off.  I walked up to her, and whispered in her ear..."I REALLY like zipfizz."  She thought it was hilarious, I was completely serious.

When we got home, I chugged more Zipfizz with lunch, and put Luke down for a nap.  Normally at this time, I turn on a show for William, and pray that he will watch it, so I can try to get in some sort of a cat nap.  I am completely done for by around 3:00.  The rest of the day is pretty much suffering and surviving until Ben gets home and provides some relief until bed time.

This time, I played all sorts of games with William, was alive and energized when Mary and Sam came home, and didn't watch out the window for Ben to get home with my face smashed into the glass, and my body slouching on the wall, trying to stay on my feet for a few more minutes to welcome my husband home.

It was awesome.  And then it was bedtime.  No matter how hard I tried, I didn't fall asleep until after 1:00am.  Crap.  The next day was torture.

Needless to say, Zipfizz worked for me.  It doesn't take much really.  One diet coke will wire me for an entire day, and leave me with horrible headache hangovers the next day.

I have since made a trip to Costco, bought some of my own, and have done Zipfizz again, (wow, this totally sounds like I am doing drugs or something) but only half a bottle a day, and only on days I wake up feeling like I never slept.  It has been so nice.  I have energy, but I am not bursting out of my skin either. 

I am going to ask my OB about it tomorrow at my appointment, to make sure it is safe, and if it is...I think I just found my own personal pregnancy manna. 


two in a week!

He waited so patiently to finally lose a tooth, and now we are going on two in a week!  Go Sam go!

the gift of a friend

Best friends are angels. 

  My  best friend does not live here in Heber.  In fact, we haven't lived in the same town since High School.  We have been friends since first grade.

We aren't the type of best friends that talk every day, go out to lunch every week, or even see each other more than MAYBE once a year.  But somehow, our friendship never fades, distance doesn't hurt it, and when we do talk, nothing has changed.

Katie called me on Sunday.  We haven't talked for at least a few months.  It didn't phase us in the least. We ended up talking for over 2 hours.  I came away from that conversation feeling loved, accepted for who I am, proud of my family, my children, and my life.  I felt understood, empathized with, and justified with some struggles that I have had to deal with.

I felt and recognized her strength, her ability to find humor, her ups and downs, her joys and her sorrows.  She trusted me enough to share her life with me too.

Katie was able to help me laugh about things that I needed to laugh about, and to see things for how they really are.  She helped me realize that I can be loved for the real me, and my family is great, for who we are.

She did something for me that I didn't even know I needed as desperately as I did.  She is not my sister, but she is the true definition of family to me.

I hope everyone in the world has a best friend like she is to me.  They make the world such a better place.

I am so blessed.

Friday, April 25, 2014

my reality

My reality right now is...
pregnancy hormones
pregnancy fatigue
pregnancy induced expanding waistline, and because I am short and have no space between my ribs and my hips, and this is my 8th pregnancy, so everything else expands as well.
never ending laundry loads
constantly cleaning clutter, toys, spilled food, dirt, bedrooms, walls, furniture, floors, and so on
endlessly unloading and loading, and unloading and loading the dishwasher
stopping bickering ALL DAY LONG
finding the missing shoe or jacket over and over again, which never seems to be missing until we are running late or in a big hurry.
getting snacks 50 times a day
making meals
painful tendons, due to a low lying baby and anterior placenta
hurt feelings, painful family issues, ignorant comments and cruel treatment/judgment from people who have yet to experience life with several children, and feelings of being insignificant
driving to and from karate, tumbling, cheer, soccer, activity days, preschool, and taking forgotten glasses and papers to the elementary school
tantrums, crying, begging, complaining, compromising, and teaching
feeling like I am doing it all wrong
evenings of complete exhaustion while right at the "it's bedtime" announcement, everyone becomes hungry, thirsty, not tired, and ready to wrestle and run around.
chasing Luke around and around and around the neighborhood
finally sitting down, only to be asked to get up again within 5 seconds
one sacrament meeting after another in and out of the hall with a wiggly toddler, while the 2 year old in front of us sits quietly on his mother's lap the entire hour
not showering for 3 days, due to lack of time, exhaustion at night, and not being able to turn my back on my 2 year old for more than 10 seconds
feelings of guilt
William locking Luke in the car, and being humiliated when 6 wonderful, helpful neighbors cram into our cluttered, smelly, and messy garage to see what they can do to help
Family Home evening lessons with wresting kids, or a screaming toddler.
Scripture and prayer in the evenings with the same result as above.
Being so bored, yet so busy at the same time
Luke making "paste" out of the cat's litter and water, time and time again.
the "witching hour" between 4:00 and 6:00 where I just want to sleep or cry out of mental and physical exhaustion, but is also one of our busiest, and most demanding times of day.

Yes, this is my reality right now, in this phase of my life.  And more times than I care to admit, it gets the better of me, and I can quickly sink into exhaustion, despair, frustration, and hopelessness. 

I am not one to cry, but lately (probably due to the pregnancy) it isn't too uncommon for me to be wiping away the tears as I clean yet another mess, deal with another tantrum, unclog another toilet, find ink on the leather couch, wrestle 3 kids at the doctor's office, or find another door locked from the inside. I forget who I am, that I am an actual person, and I just want to give up.

During these times, if I can somehow find the time to pray for help and energy, I am also given the gift to see the rest of my reality. 

My reality is also..
A husband who is home every evening, who has a great job, who takes the kids every evening to the gym, on a walk, to the park, or to the basement to play, so his pregnant, exhausted wife can sit down for a few minutes.
A beautiful home, in an amazing community, in a gorgeous valley, surrounded by  genuine, caring, and fun neighbors and friends.
A solid, wonderful group of friends, who have book club, girls night out, lunches-just for fun, holiday parties, can be found outside and ready to just chat or laugh for a few minutes, and listening understanding ears and open arms.
A sweet, precious daughter growing inside of me, that after such a long, hard, and at times painful, wait, is finally going to be here with us.
Healthy, active children, who are happy in their hearts, as adorable as can be, and who try their best to do what is right.
A testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and a sure knowledge of where I came from, why I am here, and where I am going.  The knowledge that I have my family for eternity.
Sweet notes from my children, hugs, kisses, constant hilarious comments, smiles, giggles, and tender moments
date nights with Ben
Ability to work out at the gym several times a week
school programs
 Sam scoring his first goal, Mary learning a new flip, "a pleasure to have in class, and great leadership skills" on report cards, William writing his first letters, or giving me one of his big bear hugs, and Luke talking up a storm and looking at me with his sweet, round, innocent eyes and full head of curly blonde hair.
spring time
playing with play dough still warm from the stove, and building lego robots
stuffed crust cheese pizza
and moments where I catch my little boys doing this, and the spirit whispers to my heart, that maybe I am doing something right.

praying for their little sister to arrive here safely, so she can play cars with them

And yes, the chairs are on the table in the background on purpose.  Destruction prevention at it's finest.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

it is out!

Sam has had an extremely loose tooth for about a month now.  It is one of those teeth that he has been able to bend all the way forward, twist around, and wiggle just by blowing air on it.

Ben tried to pull it several times, but the one tiny spot holding the tooth in place would not give.

Finally, last night, Sam came into our bedroom and showed me yet another new trick he could do with his tooth.  It was the closest thing possible to the tooth actually being pulled out completely and pushed over his gums.  As I sat there gagging, I told him that it was time to let Ben give it one final tug.

So, Ben gave it one final yank, and the tooth came right out.  It didn't even bleed! 

After all the hype died down, I was instantly informed about the amount of $$ kids now earn for losing their first tooth.  I can't believe how much inflation goes up with the tooth fairy.  Seriously! The rate stays the same at our house, but either way, Sam was happy this morning with his money from the tooth fairy. 

Sam was thrilled to finally join the club of kids that have lost a tooth.  I was thrilled to not have to constantly be gagging every time Sam learned a new trick with his tooth.  Ben was thrilled to finally get it out.  Mary was thrilled, because she loves stuff like that.  William started pulling on his own teeth, and Luke just asked for the vacuum.

So here it is.  Sam's first semi- toothless smile.  I say semi-toothless, because his other tooth has long since grown behind the loose one.  So has the one next to it.

Sam loves the fact that we call him shark mouth.  Apparently, that is so cool!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


I have noticed, that in our family, things tend to come in chunks.  We have a while of our usual routine, just grooving along, and then, BAM, everything and anything comes up, and it is usually in the space of a couple days.

I usually don't mind the chunks, a long as they aren't too close together, they keep life fun and interesting.

This past Easter weekend, was another chunk weekend.

Friday was our ultrasound.  I am still in the honeymoon phase after the ultrasound.  Every single time I think about our sweet little girl finally coming home, the long wait for her arrival, and the fact that my placenta is not going to harm my body and that I can have a normal, fun, active, summer, with my family, off of bed rest, and hopefully a normal delivery, I get chills, and feel so humbled and grateful.  I finally have peace with this pregnancy for the first time in several months. Add in the previous miscarriages and estrogen mess, and it tacks on even more months of stress and worry.  To be free of that feels wonderful, and at times, I can't believe it.

I do find myself more anxious than I have ever been before to have this baby, hold her in my arms.  I am always anxious to have my babies, but this time around, it is heightened.  I honestly can't wait to get her here, and in our arms, where she belongs. 

Saturday was the State Tumbling meet in Salt Lake, for Mary, and a soccer game for Sam.  It was also my sister, Kelsey's, first marathon, here in Salt Lake.  Her boyfriend, who has been in Oklahoma for months now, and whom she hasn't seen in months, was going to be at the finish line, with a ring, and was going to propose.  Also, Saturday night, my family was going to stay with us.

Saturday was a BIG day.  Mary did AWESOME at her State Meet.  The meet wasn't run very well, so we never saw her scores for anything, or what place she took, but she did extremely well, and came home with three new trophies.  I am so proud of her for working so hard this competition season.  She has improved so much, and loves to be in the air.  She was born to fly!

Half way through Mary's meet, she had a 4 hour break between events, so we blasted over to Salt Lake, parked in the closest parking spot we could find, that probably wasn't even a spot, and literally sprinted over to the marathon finish line.  Poor Mary didn't even have time to put on her shoes.  We made it with 15 minutes to spare before Kelsey came through the finish line, and we got to see the proposal.  The fact that she was able to handle the shock after running 26.2 miles is pretty amazing! It was adorable, and worth the rush to get there.  I can't believe my baby sister is getting married!

We hung around for an hour and then rushed back to the meet, where Mary did her final event.

Ben stayed home and took Sam to his soccer game, where he scored his first goal!!!  This is a HUGE deal to Sam.  The way his team is set up, he is the smallest one, and there are some really big boys on his team and the opposing team.  Some of them are two years older.  Sam is really good at soccer, but this has really deflated him with the sport and intimidated him.  He loves soccer, so it was hard to see him kind of discouraged about it.

Scoring this goal meant the world to him, and therefore, meant the world to both Ben and I.  I am so grateful he had this opportunity, and he will remember it for the rest of the season.  I am pretty sure Sam will be his normal self now at his games, and be the awesome little player he really is.

Ben also took William skiing on Saturday.  William loves any time spent with Ben.  They are best buddies, and William thinks Ben is the ultimate coolest person alive.  I must say I agree.

Once we were all home, we frantically cleaned the house, and finished just in time for my parents to arrive.  We then dyed our Easter Eggs, got the kids in bed, talked for a while and crashed.  It was so cute to see William dying his eggs.  He was concentrating so hard, and took time with each egg he did.  I didn't know he was so into art!  I guess you learn something new everyday.

The next day was Easter!  The kids woke up bright and early to see their Easter baskets and to hunt for the eggs.  It was fun to have my parents here to join in all the fun...and to help the Easter bunny fill and hide eggs too.  ;)

We kind of got Easter pictures.  It was more like me chasing one kid or the other, begging them to smile, bribing, getting upset a few times, and pretty much chaos, but we got a few good ones.

My sweet babies!



Sam wit his loose tooth hanging out, and his scab on his nose....perfect!

It was off to church, and then back home to prepare dinner for 11 adults and 5 children.  My sister, my brother and sister in law and their little boy, my parents, and my sister's fiancĂ©'s family, were all coming to dinner.  I love having a full house, and was more than happy to have a dinner here.

It turned out great! 

We had a really fun Easter, and I now have a list a mile long of things I need for my kitchen.  This was the first time I have hosted an actual nice dinner for that many people, and I definitely need to be better stocked next time.  Maybe Ben and I should renew our vows and have another wedding shower for kitchen supplies.  ;)

And now, I am tired, but happy.  We had a very fun weekend.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

can't find the words

Seven weeks ago, I had an ultrasound at a high risk clinic in Salt Lake.  They were doing some genetic testing on the baby, because the baby and I had a rough first trimester, and there was concern about it greatly effecting the baby.

The baby looked great, but the radiologist mentioned that my placenta was in a weird place, and could possibly be a very severe condition called placenta accreta.  This would be life threatening to me during delivery, and would require a C-section at 32 weeks, and a hysterectomy immediately after.  It would also mean bed rest the entire 3rd trimester.  The mortality rate of that condition is 10%.

After telling me all of this, the radiologist said, "but we don't know for sure, so just come back in 7 weeks for the anatomy ultrasound of the baby, and we will know then."

Seriously!?!  Oh, and did I mention that she also told me not to worry.  Bahahahaha.

I did my best not to worry, I really did.  I tried to bask in the ignorance, and just enjoy the period of time that we could pretend all was well, but it was really hard!
The nightmares came, the worry, the what if's, the second guessing of planning anything this summer ensued, the worry of being forced to miss my sister's wedding, the fear of hemorrhaging randomly, with no way to stop it in time, (a major symptom of that condition, and the biggest problem) and so on.  It has been a very long 7 weeks, to say the least.

I have also had a ton of anxiety about the gender of our baby.  NOT because I wanted one gender above another.   I am happy with my daughter and my sons, equally, and would love another of either gender.  It was because of something much deeper, on a very spiritual and personal level.  Something that is too sacred and personal to share on a public blog, but no matter the reason, I was extremely concerned and anxious about the gender of our baby.

The seven weeks finally ended today.  OK, actually, it ends Tuesday, but after 3 phone calls, I finally convinced them to bump up the ultrasound to today, so my mom could watch the other kids, since she is here for my little sister's marathon tomorrow.  And lets face it, I don't think I could have waited any longer.

I don't think there are enough emotional words to describe all that I went through last night and this morning.  To sum it up, I woke up at 2:00am and had so much nervous energy, that I went downstairs and cleaned our basement.  I then fell asleep and had dream after dream after dream about every scenario and outcome possible from this ultrasound.  Good times.   I know that Ben was going through similar emotions as well.

I went through the motions of the morning, and tried to keep the spirit close to me, and feel the peace.  I prayed a lot, and did receive peace, in between my bouts of freak out moments, and heart pounding moments, and worry moments, and, well, you get the idea.

Finally, the time came, and I drove to Salt Lake with William and Luke.  We met my mom and sister, handed the kids over, I hopped in Ben's car, and we were off.  We were also late.  I HATE being late for anything, and this did not help at all with my already pounding heart and rising anxiety. 

It all worked out though.  They were running behind, and we actually got there with time to spare. 

The ultrasound was great.  Since we were at a specialty clinic, they took a lot of time looking at everything on the baby.  The technician checked out every organ and limb very thoroughly and slowly.  It got worrisome at times, when she spent an extra long time on something, but she reassured us that all was well when we got anxious.  I tried to just enjoy the extra long view of my sweet baby, moving around.  Because of the position of my placenta, I cannot feel the baby move.  It was fun to see the baby move, and at times, even feel the baby kick against the ultrasound wand thingy.

Finally, it was time for the gender.  I literally felt my heart beating in my ears, and wondered if I was going to pass out!  I can't even remember how she told us, but she found a way to tell us we were having a girl.  The lump in my throat got so big, that I couldn't respond for a few seconds.  When I found my voice, I asked her if she was sure.  She checked again, and re-checked.  Our baby is definitely a girl!  The feeling in the room was so precious.  Ben and I exchanged a very real and knowing look, both of our eyes watering.  The spirit was there, confirming something I have waited 4 years to feel.  There aren't words to describe the feeling between Ben and I, and the feeling in the room.  I said a prayer in my heart of thanks.

While we were still absorbing the gender news, the technician moved right along.

Next up was my placenta.  She said my placenta looked, "funky."  Then she said she was going to get another doctor to come look at it.  I was almost positive that I was doomed to have placenta accreta.  One of my worst fears for this pregnancy was going to become a reality.  I had already begun trying to accept it, while we waited for the other doctor.

He came into the room, looked at the placenta for about 5 seconds, and then declared that the placenta looked great.  I was stunned, and not about ready to believe him.  Not after there hadn't even been enough time to take one breath before his declaration.  7 weeks of waiting, for his 5 seconds of looking!  He then went on to examine things closely, and after a few heart pounding minutes, said in a sure tone, that there was nothing to worry about.  Then, I believed him.

Ben and I both let out a huge breath, and I think we visibly sunk with relief.  I wanted to cry, laugh, pee, hug the technician, and go to sleep, all at the same time.  All I could think was that we needed to seriously celebrate, and that I wanted to order stuffed crust cheese pizza.  Yeah, pretty sure my emotions and sanity were done at this point.  I couldn't even absorb the enormity of the good news we had received in that past hour.  So, I just though about pizza, and slowly let everything else sink in a chunk at a time.

Ben had to put his head down in his arms for a while, and I just laid there, covered in ultrasound goo, smiling, and nervously chattering about every 10 seconds.  I just didn't know how to absorb it all.  Ben is good at absorbing, meditating, and feeling.  I love that about him, and it is a very good trait to have.  I am not the best at it, obviously.  I have to do it in chunks.  Feel, not feel, feel, not feel.  Pizza, baby, pizza, ultrasound, pizza, no placenta accreta, pizza, baby girl, and so on.

We are still processing and grinning.  It was so fun to tell the kids, especially Mary, that they would have a baby sister.  Mary looked like she was going to explode with joy.  Sam and William were also very happy.  Luke just asked for the vacuum.

So, there it is.  According to the ultrasound results today, the baby looked just fine, my placenta is not causing danger, and we are finally bringing our daughter home.

I am humbled beyond reason. 

I can't help but still feel a little anxious about everything, and some worry for the future, probably because we have been through a lot this pregnancy and the miscarriages the proceeded it, but I also have to bask in the good moments, and enjoy when all is well.  God is good, and he has blessed us beyond anything we could have hoped for.  We will recognize it, and find joy in it. Tonight, that is what we will do. Oh, and we also ordered a large stuffed crust cheese pizza for dinner. ;)

She looks just like our other babies in this picture.  I still am amazed that we could have a picture of her like this, with her still being so, so small.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

spring break

This week was spring break.  I hate to admit it, but I was actually dreading this week a little.  We didn't really have anything big planned, and I was worried that it would be a week of 4 bored children going crazy all day and a pregnant momma trying to keep it all under control.  Recipe for disaster in my opinion.

It ended up being anything but that, and it was a wonderful week!  I am finding myself sad that it is over.  It was a great week. 

I think a lot of the reason for the week being so good, was due to the amazing weather.  It has been in the mid to upper 60's all week, with the sun brightly shining, and we have literally been soaking it in every day.  My body, that is low on vitamin D anyway this pregnancy, felt like a sun sponge, and all week I have been finding any and every reason to be outside.  I just relax and smile as I feel the warm sun on my skin and the lifting of my spirits it brings, and see the happy sun kissed cheeks of my children as they build forts, ride bikes, collect rocks and bugs, and play, play, play.

We went into the week with a few things in mind to do, and left the rest open.  It ended up working out great.

On Monday, we went to my cousin Heather's funeral.  It was a little bit of everything.  It was sad, hopeful, hard yet uplifting, inspiring, heart breaking, and full of faith and love. 

It was a good experience for my children to be surrounded by a family so full of faith and love and hope, during a hard and sad circumstance.  I love that they are exposed to that, as I was, at a young age.  It really does affect a child.  It was nice for me to see my cousins and family and to catch up a little as well.

 It opened up a lot of opportunity to talk to my children about the Plan of Happiness that we believe in, and how families will be together for eternity, death does not do us part.

While we were at the cemetery, Ben had a feeling that his family was there, and was able to find his relatives graves.  It was very neat, and special.

Tuesday was a beautiful day!  We went to the gym and got a good work out in, then met up with friends at the park.  It was fun to be with friends, and let the kids play.  Of course, Luke ran all over, and I spent a lot of time chasing him, but it was still fun.  After the park, the kids and I worked hard and did some spring cleaning.  The kids also did some of the chores that they can earn money for.  Mary deep cleaned a bathroom completely by herself for the first time, and did such a good job that I didn't have to do any touch up.  Awesome!
I also taught Sam the wonderful joys of washing walls, baseboards, the banister, and doors.  He wasn't too thrilled about it, but I think he FINALLY understands why I don't like it when he literally walks up the walls with his hands and feet, and slides down the railing.  He got to wash off the wonderful black marks it all leaves behind. I loved the extra hands, and he loved the dollar he earned for doing more that what was asked.  There is something rewarding about teaching your kids how to work.  They are much more capable that I even realized, and it saved me a lot of work doing it all myself.

Mary had an extra tumbling practice in the afternoon, due to the State meet coming up in a week, and the rest of the day was spent playing outside in the sun with friends, the kids leaving a huge black ring in the bathtub (which for some reason I find amusing, and fulfilling) and having a family movie night that evening.
Luke and William love to "go on a drive."  Poor Luke had the sun in his eyes.


William always keeps his arm around the back of Luke's seat.  I think it is so funny!

Wednesday Ben took William snow skiing in the morning, and then Mary and Sam in the afternoon.  Gorgeous day for skiing! I did some more spring cleaning, and also did some shopping in Park City when I drove up to "swap kids" at the ski hill.  Again, the weather was gorgeous!  We came home and had a barbeque with our neighbors here in the cul-de-sac. It was so nice to sit on grass, chat with friends, and pretend it was summer. We lost Luke at one point, and found him on a completely other street across the neighborhood, in a strangers garage.  And what was he doing...he was playing with the vacuum in their garage of course!  The kid is truly obsessed with vacuums and almost gave us all a panic attack while looking for him.  That kid is seriously going to put me into labor early with his constant running away in a split second tactics. 

Mary, Noah and Bailey.  Best friends up in their second fort.

Thursday morning we went to the gym again.  The kids played outside with friends, and then in the afternoon, Ben took the older 3 kids and some friends to the swimming pool in Kamas.  I stayed home with Luke and followed him all around the neighborhood, and took him on a big walk.  Everyone came home from swimming happy and full of stories, we ate dinner, played outside some more, the kids are working on a big fort, left another black ring in the tub, watched a movie and went to bed.
Sam, Blake and Shae. 

of course

Friday was a BIG cleaning morning.  Our basement is unfinished and is the home of all of our boxes we didn't need to unpack and tons of random toys.  During the year we have lived here, the basement has truly been destroyed.  It looks like a toy and random things volcano erupted down there. Boxes rummaged through and ripped open, toys literally everywhere, forts made and ruined, paper plates, garbage, and so on.  I just quit going down there months ago, because the mess truly depressed me.

I woke up Friday with a serious cleaning energy bug (thank you second trimester energy), so I grabbed the kids, and we worked and worked and worked, extremely hard for the next 3 hours.  It was a huge project, and overwhelming at times.  I was a sweaty mess, and the kids were working so hard they just sat during the breaks I gave them. But, we carried on, and we actually completely cleaned the basement.  I am talking, brand new looking again, clean.  I was completely exhausted when it was all said and done, and we had about 15 garbage bags of trash and broken toys to haul upstairs and outside. 
Once the basement was done, I took the kids to 7/11 to get a well earned slushie,  paid them for their cleaning overtime, and then they played with friends.  I worked on my sun tan while following Luke all over the neighborhood. We had dinner in Park City and went shopping for soccer cleats in the evening, and then played outside until the sun went down.
our entire cul-de-sac has sidewalk chalk on every driveway and also the road.  All of the kids made their own city and they ride their bikes and scooters around in it.

Today we went to the gym, and then Mary and I got our hair done.  Oh, it felt so good to get my hair done!  Pregnancy can really leave me feeling frumpy, and it feels good to know that my hair is all beautified.  Mary loved getting her hair done too, of course, and it looks great!  She keeps looking older to me, and it is crazy.
After our hair was done, we all went to Hogle Zoo.  We got a front parking spot!  Incredible, seriously.  The weather was cooler and great, and the zoo was not crowded.  All of the animals were out, and most of them were active. 

Aside from Luke literally running everywhere and exhausting Ben and I, it was a really fun trip!  Mary walked all over with a notebook, documenting everything, and Sam went nuts in the reptile building.  He loves lizards so much, and they had so many awesome lizards there.  William loved the huge tiger, and Luke thought the monkeys were funny.  Probably because he is one. 

We grabbed dinner, Ben met up with a kid to get a new fork for his mountain bike, and now we are home.  I am hiding here in our bedroom listening to the absolute chaos going out in the living room where the kids are eating too much candy, having a "late night" with friends and watching Star Wars, or supposedly watching Star Wars.  Oh, to be a kid again.  Good times. Sounds like WWF going on out there instead.  At least they are laughing, and nothing sounds like it is broken.
Did I mention the HUGE rock removal project going on in our yard.  Mary and Sam moved approx. 900 rocks out of our yard this week, and Ben has done many, many more.  We are hoping to have them cleared in another week, so we can FINALLY bring in the top soil and prepare for grass!

So there it is.  After tomorrow, Spring Break is over, and we have a very busy week ahead of us.  Soccer games start for Mary and Sam, cheer starts, tumbling practices and a big State meet for Mary, karate practice, homework, preschool, Easter, and everything in between.  It will be a very fun week, but pretty busy.  It's a good life.

I am so grateful for this spring break, for sun kissed cheeks, black tub rings, fun family time, sunshine, friends, and how rejuvenating and fun it was for all of us! 

Welcome Spring!