December 26, 2009

Christmas at McDonalds

Not the drive-thru variety. But Ronald was still there.
Fabulous Christmas plans:

Go to the cabin for our first cozy Christmas there. Go tubing on the 2 feet of freshly fallen snow. Cover the entire kitchen island with dough as the girls roll out some homemade cinnamon rolls. Gather by the fire in the evening as Alan reads from Luke to the children and relax with him after all the children are in bed and the gifts are placed under the tree. (being the ocd type "a" that I am, all of the presents were already wrapped and hidden up there. I love my ocd-ness.) Cuddle up in the loft to watch "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" after the gifts were opened. Fabulous plans. This falls under the category of "Plan A".

Plan B: Nothing.

We had to find Plan B at the last minute. Bridger had a cold that the pediatrician was following. We went in on Monday, x-rays were perfectly clear. We went in on Tuesday and he had full-blown pneumonia, strep, and some gastro-intestinal issues. They immediately transferred us from the local hospital via ambulance to one a little further away that specializes in children. I know what you are thinking -- how FUN is it that I got to ride in an AmBuLaNCe!!! I asked the driver if we were going to get to go fast. Nope. So it was somewhat anticlimactic.

We have been in the hospital for New Year's, President's Day, Martin Luther King Day, Spring Break, Bridger's birthday, and nearly avoided Easter. But Christmas? How was that going to work? How do you make Christmas wonderful at the last minute for 5 little children that were excited for a snowy cabin getaway? You add some wonderful friends, generous strangers, redirected priorities and a whole lot of Christmas Spirit.

Since Alan still had to work, some kind friends and family took time from their busy holiday preparations and cared for my children. My mother drove Eliza to me at the hospital every 3 hours so I could nurse her. Some other friends, with their snow shovels in tow, drove out to our cabin and shoveled their way up there to retrieve "Santa's stash". A couple delicious side dishes were delivered to be coupled with the roast chicken my mom left in the fridge. Christmas Eve, while Alan was with Bear at the hospital, the kids and I sat down to our wonderful dinner. We hadn't decorated our house since we weren't going to be there, so after dinner I pulled out our box of ornaments that were retrieved from the cabin and the children and I decorated our "tree". (I use that word loosely because it is a 3 foot tall front porch decoration that I placed on top of a child's desk covered by the tree skirt to make it look taller). Eva told me that she didn't care about going to the cabin, that she wanted Christmas to be what was closest to Bridger. That nearly melted me. My worry was that Christmas wouldn't be the magical day that parents always try to make for their kids. After she said that, I began to believe that ours was going to be even more.

My mom stayed at the hospital during that night so Alan and I could have the morning with the kids to open presents. We did that at the usual 0600 hours that all kids wake up at on Christmas morning, made our smorgasbord and I got ready and rushed to the hospital to relieve my mom.
Shortly after I got there, Santa arrived as well. The hospital had learned the ages, interests and abilities of every child that was going to be there on Christmas and had prepared a huge bag of toys selected just for him. Behind Santa's sleigh of bags came a half dozen elves pulling red wagons, piled high with toys. They had me come out and choose gifts for my other children who were going to be coming to celebrate with Bridger later on. There were also handmade stockings, stuffed for all 5 kids. They tied balloons to Bridger's crib and Santa visited with him for a while. Later they came back to give me a couple other bags of gifts that they said had "fallen off of Santa's sleigh." Included in these toy bags were 2 homemade blankets for Eliza. I was overwhelmed. That made two of the elves cry too.

The kids came to join us and this was the first time that Bridger had seen his siblings in days. This was the greatest gift to him. He lit up when he saw everybody, especially Eliza and he kept signing "more, baby."

After we visited with Bridger, I took the kids over to the Ronald McDonald House where we had been invited to dinner. Alan rocked Bridger to sleep for a nap and then left him sleeping and came to join us. There was a group of people there cooking up a feast that would leave even Martha Stewart impressed -- corn souffle, sweet potato puffs, honey glazed ham, turkey, green bean casserole. . . Alan and I hadn't eaten that well in a long time! They cooked their dinner and went home, leaving us alone in this cozy dining room. The other two families that were supposed to attend had been discharged from the hospital that day and we had the house all to ourselves. We laughed and talked and completely pigged out. It was one of the most delightful dinners we have ever had. In the kitchen cabinets of snacks that we were invited to eat from, were two cabinets exclusively devoted to Girl Scout cookies! That is not including other varieties of cookies, which were in the neighboring cupboard. Now that is my kind of kitchen! After dinner the house manager invited the kids into the "toy room" to choose a gift. From the outside it looked like a closet, but when she opened the door our jaws dropped -- an entire conference room FULL of toys. She told the kids to pick out a few things. At first my kids thought that they were choosing some toys to borrow and play with while we were there. When she clarified to their little minds that they got to keep what they chose they just froze in place in disbelief. Again, I started crying, which made her cry too. Was I just wondering 48 hours prior how I was going to make Christmas magical to these little ones?

We went back to Bridger and found him still soundly sleeping. Alan stayed the night there and I went home and had the most wonderful conversations with the kids. Sure, we were all dumbfounded by the amount of gifts that were given to us. But it wasn't the gifts that was hitting me so hard, it was what was behind the gifts. I got to explain to my children about where those gifts came from, about the hearts of the people that purchased them, about the hearts of the people that took the time to deliver them. I got to tell them about the people cooking that dinner -- about the importance of this holiday to them, about the gifts and families they left behind in their homes to come here and do this for strangers like us. I got to tell them about that magical conference room and how it came to be. I even got to tell them about the origins of the Girl Scout cookie cupboard.

There was such a quiet warm spirit in the hospital that day. One that is hard to put words to. Despite crazy schedules, canceled plans, and a lot of worry for Bridger - there was more of Christ in this Christmas for us than ever. The first night I was with Bridger in the hospital, he just was writhing and crying in pain all night. Because of his extreme discomfort, he didn't want me to hold him. I stood by his crib for the entire night rubbing his hair trying to sooth him. During the dark and otherwise quiet 2:00 hour I found myself thinking of some lines of the last verse to the carol, Away in a Manger:

Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay
Close by me forever, and love me I pray.
Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care. . .

Bridger wasn't in my care, I couldn't help him. He was in our Heavenly Father's care and those lines of that carol became the prayer in my heart that night and I felt the significance of Christmas.

Alan and I, still somewhat shell shocked as to how Plan B came together, agree that this was our best Christmas ever. And that is also what the children said as they went to bed last night.

December 17, 2009

Are They ALL Yours?

That is a question I get asked a lot. Sometimes a different emphasis is put on a different word, depending on what they are really thinking inside their heads. Then the question is usually followed by a statement containing the word "crazy", "busy", or "hands full". My children are always present when those comments are made and I have felt a need to make more of a response to all of those comments. Instead of just nodding and passing along, I always look at them and smile and say, "I LOVE it! We have so much fun". I really don't care what that person thinks, for better or worse. I do care what my children remember, and that is that "crazy", "busy", or "hands full" are not in my most important descriptors about them.

Sometimes I hear the sweetest comments. Wednesday was one of those times. I was in the bulk candy section of the grocery store doing our annual gingerbread house candy selection. That day ranks in the top ten in my children's world because they take turns each choosing a candy that they want for their houses, and choosing. . . and choosing. . . until they have every variety that they could possibly want. There are probably 100 kinds to choose from. Candy heaven. Because it is sold in bulk I only put a scanty scoop of it in their bags. So I come out for less than $25 and they come out thinking that they won the sugar jackpot. It is a gingerbread house win-win.

Anyway, while I was there this time I had Eliza strapped to the front of me, Bridger happily wheeling himself around the colorful displays and the other 3 excitedly searching the bins for their next selection. I'm sure that we looked like quite a traveling circus. I kept hearing the word "5" coming from two older ladies whispering between themselves down the aisle. They finally approached me and asked that question. . . "are they ALL yours?!" I smiled and said yes and waited for the comment of "something something hands full" but instead their eyes lit up and they said, "THAT is just WONDERFUL!!!" We went on to have the sweetest conversation. I adore positive people. I really do.

I made this video for our physical therapist as we just wrapped up 2 years of services with her. I made it to showcase some of the equipment we have gone through and some smilestones we have achieved. When she saw it though, she didn't see the equipment. She saw how perfectly Bridger fits into our family and how wonderful our children are for each other. She showed it to her boss who wants to use it for the county. I have had requests to post it so here it is.

We just finished up 28 medical appointments in the last 3 weeks. I really understand crazy busy. Can you be "busy" and be having fun? Can you have your "hands full" and be having fun? Can you even be "crazy" and having fun? Yes. What I try to remember is just the part that I'm having fun.

December 01, 2009

The Hills are Alive. . .

with the sound of Larsons. ah-ah-ah-ahhhhh.
Quite literally. We have had a couple unseasonably warm weekends lately so we decided to take advantage of it before winter hits hard and fast and cabin fever soon takes over the household.

What is the best thing to do with 5 little kids with 10 little legs -- 4 of those little legs not even able to walk? Why, go on a hike, of course, up the tallest peak in Shenandoah National Park.

We loaded up the kid's packs with trail food, put Bridger in his special supportive stroller seat that attaches to a jogging base, put Eliza in the front pack and off we went. The trail has numbered markers posted as you go along, and the kids felt it necessary at each and every number post to stop and refuel -- drink from their water bottles, eat some trail mix, take a breather, drink some more, find a perfect walking stick, try some beef jerky, spit out the beef jerky, drink some more. . . after the 9th trail marker Alan and I began thinking that we could be in for a very long hike. For all we knew the markers could go up to 90! To add to the fun and to make sure we were seen (and heard) by every hiker on that side of the mountain, Bridger would become hysterical every time we stopped. He was practically hyperventilating with excitement as we pushed him along the trail, and each time we stopped he would scream and yell to keep going. I'm sure that all the fellow hikers on that trail felt extra safe that afternoon with us there to scare off any bears in the area. To them we were probably mistaken as the Trail Safety Patrol posing as a crazy family spending 10 hours on this 2 hour trail. So at trail marker 10 we declared that there wouldn't be any more snacking until we passed at least 10 more markers. Luckily, the markers stopped at 19, when we reached the summit. The kids were speechless at this view!

As we began to hike down, Lance found this hollowed out tree that was just his size. An elderly man walked past, saw Lance, smiled and told his wife to check out that strange tree. The woman peeked around the bark, jumped a mile and screamed when she saw Lance. It was hilarious (for everyone but that grandma).

As we are adjusting to the new curve ball in our life and learning all that we can't do now, we are trying to find those things that we can do. And crazy, loud, snack-filled family hikes are now on the "can" list.

And did I say I was going private? That assumes that I have time to figure out how to go private. I'll get to that soon, until then, enjoy anonymity.

November 13, 2009

It's Time

It's time to go private.
I never thought I would say that. But I have a program attached to my blog to track who/where the viewers are and I always said that if the viewers look a little suspicious or too unfamiliar then I would go private. So with random hits from South Korea, Singapore, Russia, U.K., Mexico, India, Poland and Brazil in two days, I'm locking it up.

So please comment if you would like an invite. Don't be embarrassed if you were just a snooper. Chances are, I know who you are anyway.

October 25, 2009

Vertical Perspective

This needs no words of introduction, nor conclusion.
Just the first glimpses of Bridger's new vertical world.

October 09, 2009

Finding their Voice

Efficiency. That is my middle name. So true to my name, I thought that since both Sadie and Eva needed their tonsils out at some point in the near future, that it would be efficient to do them both at the same time. If I had to bring a cup of jell-o up to one, I might as well carry up two. Two recoveries for the effort of one. Right?

I didn't think that it would be double the vomit, double the crying, twice as much sleep lost during the nights caring for them, etc. I gave them each a set of jingle bells when they came home from their surgery to give a shake to if they needed me. My head is still ringing and after 2 days I had to put those darn bells away.

This is how they spent the first couple days. Never mind Lance there (or his head lamp he thinks is cool to always wear). He had a bit of tonsillectomy envy seeing the assortment of novelty popsicles being delivered. So he figured that there might be some fringe benefits in keeping them company.

Wednesday night was one of those wicked nights where at 3:00 in the morning, we had 4 of the 5 children awake for one reason or another, and had at least 3 awake for the many hours prior. Alan and I would pass each other in the hallway going from room to room and whack our heads on the door frames just to make sure it wasn't just a bad dream.

Poor them. But poor me as well. We had several post-op visits with the doctor due to some complications and as he wrote his prescriptions for them, I asked for a one for me as well. I asked for mine to say "Spa Day". Doctor's orders -- insurance will surely cover it.

I confess. I am a spa junkie. Sadly though, I don't get to satisfy my addiction near enough. I have convinced myself that some home therapies, provided by the girls, are near equivalents of such luxuries.

Swedish massage = Laying on my stomach and having the girls run their brother's Matchbox cars over my back.

Aromatherapy Facial = layers of greasy Bonnie Bell cosmetics being smeared all over my face. They can't quite ever remember the rules of application -- that lip gloss doesn't go on my cheeks, lipstick isn't for eyelids, and blush doesn't go on foreheads. They also get offended if I wash off their work of art immediately. So I usually wear it around for an hour or two and hope nobody rings the doorbell.

Pedicure and Manicures = gobs and globs of polish on the nails that spills into a little reservoir in the cuticle area to there dry after an hour or two. I then usually have to chisel my toes apart as they are thoroughly glued together.

So what do you do on day 7 post-op with two little grumpy, sore, bored tonsillectomy convalescents who still refuse to eat, drink or talk? You announce that you are going to Target and getting every polish color of the rainbow and making rainbow nails.

Oh. . . my. . . goodness.

They suddenly found their voices. Those little sore throats started talking and didn't stop for a solid 2 hours!

(Eva's art is on the right, Sadie's abstracts are on the left)

60 gooey digits later, everyone is a little happier and I finally see the light at the end of the recovery tunnel.

September 22, 2009

Perfect Playdate Pal

If you ever see me, be sure to compliment my biceps. They are huge.
My workout strategy:

  • Carry an extra 30 pound weight every where I go (little Bear)
  • Do at least 100 squats with this 30 pound weight every day (picking him up and down from the floor)
  • Do at least 200 lunges every day with the 30 pound weight (carrying him up and down the stairs)
  • Keep muscles flexed at all times in anticipation of unexpected body flinging and other spastic muscle movements.
Of course, I still eat enough chocolate doughnuts to make sure that only the biceps reap the benefits of this workout.

My workout strategy will have to change a bit now that Bear will have a new set of wheels.

We got together with another little guy for a "playdate" as they each tried out their new chairs. It was a crack up to see them wheeling around together. Bear kept wheeling over to him and giving his chair a push with his feet. Finally the other boy pushed Bear's chair right back.

When they finally found their rhythm in their new chairs they proceeded to play "follow the leader" - right out of the room. The most precious sight was two little toddlers wheeling down the hallway together.

I couldn't be more amazed at the large spirit inside this little body. He has to tackle and overcome so much at such a tender age. Though his body appears weak, if we knew his full strength, both body and spirit, I think that we would all stand in awe. My hopes for him are the same as they were for my other children when they were his age. Explore. Satisfy curiosities. Make messes. I think that he will tackle all three with his new wheels.

And soon, my biceps will match the rest of me. Very tired and horribly out of shape.

September 16, 2009

Bear Pause

That is the name of our little escape from suburbia, which is now finally complete. You can't help to "pause" when your there; to slow down and take a deep breath of life. And for the "bear" part of that title -- well, that is what we saw running across the driveway last week. So I am watching the children a little closer now and have nicknamed the older ones, "Bear Bait #1, #2, and #3" - references which make them a little nervous.

There has been several requests for pictures, so here you go:

The front, complete with a buck-shaped tire swing:

The front porch where we have our quick-draw shoot-outs. March forward 10 paces, turn and fire. Our choice of ammunition - marshmallows.

Sadie often turns from cowboy to gangster and shoots her dad point blank:

The Great Room:
The girls relaxing in the master bathroom tub:

One of the bedrooms:

The entrance to the master bedroom, fittingly named after Alan:

The arena for killer chess tournaments:
For all of the cooking I am still not doing (I always declare kitchen amnesty for the first 3 months postpartum):

Star gazing - it looks just a little different out there:
The cutest little cub on our side of the mountain:

The other bathroom:

The Fishin' Hole:

We mounted a steering wheel for Bridger on the front porch. He drove the cabin for over an hour last week:

The kids cuddled up watching a Herbie movie in the Turkey Roost:

Getting around:

If we are ever MIA for an extended period of time, this is where we are. Come on out and join us, our door is always open (except for those times the kids finally shut it after being told for the billionth time that they are letting the skeeters in).

September 08, 2009

History Schmistory

I am a proud Virginian.

That pride really came to the surface when we moved to Arizona my senior year of high school, and as part of the graduation requirements, I had to take Arizona history. I'm sure that some valuable tidbits of Arizona's origins were taught. However, all that I remember is sitting there and learning about the saguaro cactus and how to kick it over to access the water in it to survive if needed. I remember sitting there in my class of three (all seniors recently transplanted from different states that all had this requirement to meet, somewhat bitter that we all moved during our senior year) and thinking -- I am sitting in a history class learning about cacti. Virginia history is so rich and deep that it fills textbooks.

I want my kids to appreciate all this history that surrounds them. I still take a great portion of it for granted. So to fill some final hours of summer I took them to Sully Plantation last week.

We were the only people on the tour so I felt relieved in the beginning to tell the tour guide that we needed the "early childhood education" version of the tour. The elderly volunteer tour guide then proceeded into her well prepared speech suitable for hobbyist historians. After it took us 30 minutes to get through the first room I asked the kids some elementary questions about what they saw in the room. I hoped that she would see the level that I was speaking to them on and bring her presentation down a couple notches (and shorten it as well).

I had Eliza in the front carrier and had a squirming and screeching Bridger on my hip. She kept on going. . . and going. . . and going. . . Three floors and an hour later I told her that we need to wrap it up. She said she would but just wanted to tell them about one more thing, which lead to another and another. Obviously she is a proud Virginian too. Much more prideful than I. At this point I was in a full sweat from my full upperbody work-out negotiating Bridger and the baby. I thanked her for our special tour she gave us and we escaped through the back door as the tour guide was still hollering to us the geneology lines of each of the homeowners as we walked down the path. She was a sweet lady.

We all needed a little treat after that so we walked to the gift shop and everyone choose a candy stick which we ate as we relaxed in the lawn of the plantation.

As we sat there I asked each of the kids what they learned and what was their favorite part:

What they learned:

Sadie: "I forgot"
Me: Hmm, can you really forget what you didn't hear to begin with?

Eva: "How wool from sheep is cleaned"
Me: "How?"
Eva: "I forgot"

Lance: "Well, we have a lot of things that they didn't back then so if we all put our heads together now then we can think of some things for later that we don't have now"
Me: Not your traditional regurgitated fact, but an acceptable answer.

Favorite Part:

Sadie: "The candy"
Eva: "The candy"
Lance: "The candy"

There are moments in motherhood when you think, "Well, that went over like mud". This was one of them. I will make proud Virginians out of them yet, I will just be more selective of my venue next time. We went home and had our annual ice cream dinner to celebrate the end of summer. As we begin school I am especially grateful for all of the history teachers out there that can supplement my woeful attempts.

** No offense intended to any Arizona natives out there. I love your cactus, really.

August 24, 2009

Brownie Soup

So I just served my kids brownie soup for snack. It is not some prized Betty Crocker concoction, or even a secret recipe from my grandmother's cookbook. It is my own creation. One derived from desperation. It is made up from a box of brownie mix with water added until desired consistency is achieved. I omit the eggs and oil (lest I do something uNhEAlthY), pour it into individual bowls and tell my kids to belly up to the bar. The first time I served this they thought I was totally losing it, now they run for the table and dig in without blinking twice. Beyond pathetic, I know, but on a day like today though it quite possibly saved my life. There was a pretty thick toxic energy oozing from our house until brownie soup was served.
I know now why they call these the "dog days" of summer -- because during the hot, late summer months a mom of a bunch of little ones is living in dog years. One long August week alone is equal to approximately 2 dog years I think.
To kill some time on Friday, I demanded that their Fruit Loop necklaces all have at least 100 loops on them. That took a delightful 30 minutes of time. Then for snack time I combined their strings and tied them across the room and made them eat their snack without hands. That took another wonderful 30 minutes. Unfortunately, there were still 13 more hours to fill that day before bedtime. My reserve of fresh and novel ideas is running low -- any suggestions out there?

I'm living in dog years. Really. I have long since said that my headstone on my grave will one day say: "How did the days seem so long when time went so fast?"

Until then, desperate times call for desperate measures, and brownie soup is on the menu. Which, by the way, is incredibly delicious and should be considered by anybody needing a good 3pm jolt in their day.

August 18, 2009

Fairy Failure

I do Santa perfectly. My Easter Bunny performance is stellar. But blast this Tooth Fairy thing. I'm flunking.
When Lance lost his first tooth I promptly got out my camera and took at least a dozen pictures. I had him brush it up shiny for the tooth fairy. I giggled when Alan and I snuck eagerly into his room to replace the tooth with a few coins during the late night hours.
Lost tooth #2: No pictures. Remembered at the last minute before bed to go under his pillow and make the exchange.
Tooth #3: Woke up in a panic in the middle of the night that I had forgotten to put money under his pillow. Dragged myself out of bed to attend to my fairy duty.
Tooth #4: (growing disenchanted with the tooth ritual now) Woke up in a panic during the middle of the night again, but this time woke up Alan to go put the money under his pillow.
Tooth #5: Completely forgot. Lance woke me up at 6am, tooth in hand, very disappointed that the tooth fairy didn't come. Thinking as fast as I could at 6am, I told him that he probably didn't look hard enough. I hid a few bills in my fist and went to "look" with him. As we searched I explained to him that I had left a note for the tooth fairy to leave me his tooth because I wanted to save it. I discreetly put the bills in his pillowcase which he was very relieved to soon find.
Tooth #6: I didn't even see this one coming. The fairy wasn't financially prepared for a tooth loss that day. Alan went out on a diaper run at 10pm and went by the atm as he was out and got out the smallest bill denomination he could - $10. I searched for Lance's tooth but couldn't find it. I thought that he must have forgotten to put it under his pillow. I woke up at 6am to Lance marching in my room to dutifully place his tooth on my dresser (thankfully, he was still under the assumption that my last note to the fairy was still in effect) and proudly waved his $10 bill at us. He then started trying to wiggle another tooth out, seeing the trend that each tooth lost equalled a bigger payout.
Who decided that all of these characters had to come in the middle of the night anyway? I think that I would be much more successful if the tooth fairy came during lunch time or something. And do you know how many baby teeth there are -- 20! With 5 children that equals 100 of these crazy nightime rituals for me.
I'm destined for failure (and the poor house). Darn that tooth fairy.

July 24, 2009

I Love. . .

I love the moment in the hospital when you see their little face for the first time.

I love the warm bundle of pink cotton that molds into my body as I hold her.

I love the sweet baby smell that no Johnson & Johnson product has ever been able to duplicate.

I love the way something so small and delicate looks in my husbands oversized hands, barely bigger than his palms.

I love the love the oozes out of the hearts of the siblings, just when I thought their hearts were at maximum love capacity.
I love the nights, yes, the sleepless nights. I have long since realized that sleep is overrated and I look forward to the nights knowing that it is time with just her and me and the connection that forms during those midnight moments is very sweet.

I love how one little 7 lb. person can transform a family. They haven't asked to get a dog for over a week now.

I love what a breath of fresh air she is. In the past year I had my perspective on the challenges of motherhood whacked into clarity. Motherhood is actually quite easy. Looking back at moments when I thought raising three typical toddlers was difficult, it was usually me that was making it hard. I learned what "hard" is since then and this little one is making me appreciate all that is easy and simple that I once thought wasn't.

I love her. Love love LOVE her.

Eliza Caroline

Born July 14

7lb 11oz

July 10, 2009

Breach of Contract

Lest anyone think that I am in some terminal state of craziness from events posted in the previous blog, here is the update before I go underground again:
Event #1: Contract, no breach. After only 12 blessed (however long) days on the market, we had our 3rd offer on our current house which we accepted. We have just finished up ushering contractors in and out of our house completing home inspection repair items and are up to our eyeballs in boxes stacked here and there awaiting the movers in 2 weeks.
Event #2: Contract, no breach. We finished our cabin and have the occupancy permit and have spent 2 of the past 3 weekends there. LOVE IT!!! It is peaceful, it is heaven on earth, and it is almost relaxing. Almost. Who are we kidding, I'm still dealing w/ a bunch of lit'lins. We've been sitting on the front porch sipping lemonade from mason jars, built some log futons *note to self* never buy self-assembled log furniture again, gone on moonlit atv rides, found our first resident copperhead snake and experienced the local fireworks show. Everything has a calming element up there. Even meal times are more relaxed -- there is nothing to hurry up and eat to rush out for and we simply enjoy a lingering breakfast together. Father's Day morning we woke up to a deer outside our back window. It was fun to sit and watch it for a while. I told Alan that it took tricky planning on my part to coordinate such a Father's Day gift as that.
Event #3: Contract, no breach. The home that we are building has all the necessary parts in place to begin construction, which will start at the end of the month. Bridger will get his cutting-edge, state-of-the-art walker in a week and this house has all of the elements to provide him freedom and Independence. We are so excited for him and for all the wonderful things this house and neighborhood will provide to our other children.
Event #4: Breech, no contract. All set up for my induction on Tuesday, went to the ob for a final check-up who did an ultrasound and it looked like there wasn't a baby inside. The ob placed the doppler on the top of my tummy and what do you know. . . beautiful round head, perfectly right-side up baby. So, the scheduled induction has now turned into a scheduled c-section. That only throws a mild kink into my plans. How in the world do I comply with a 10lb and under weight lifting restriction when I have a 30lb, two and 1/2 year old that I have to carry every step of his life?
It serves me right. I took the kids to Great Wolf Lodge last weekend for a little "babymoon" before their summer fun comes to a crashing halt with the arrival of the baby. Alan only could join us for the first evening that we were there and had to drive back that night. So the next two days I chased around 3 kids while hauling Bridger around -- complete with my ginormous maternity swimsuit stretched over my 9 month preggo-belly. I know that paints a horrid picture, luckily I have long since lost my pride and didn't mind the spectacle that I probably appeared. I hiked up the stairs with the kids to ride the large tube waterslides -- the slides that have a sign posted next to them that pregnant women were forbidden from riding. I tried to suck in my stomach and slouch and hope that the 15 year old lifeguard just thought that I had too many doughnuts that week (which I had). I plunked myself down on too many waterslides and by the last one I could hardly get up and I told the kids that the baby didn't like that one and I had to declare a mandatory rest time for all. I thought the consequence of disregarding the sign would possibly be going into labor, a consequence I was ready to suffer. I think that all those rides probably spun this little one around so much that she finally got stuck right-side up.

I sat with Bridger in front of this little fountain for at least and hour and 1/2. It was so cute how maniacally crazy he went over it.

Surfin' Sadie. Remember my last experience with this. I was not going to try it again.

Eva the monkey.

Summer wiggles are subsiding, all the school supplies for next year have been purchased and placed into idle backpacks, mini-sized diapers are stacked in the bassinet, all new little pink and precious things have been washed and lie in wait in the drawers. Stay tuned. . .