Saturday, August 31, 2013

My Stomach Hates Me

September is one day away.  Can I tell you how much I just love September?  It is the beginning of fall, football season, back-to-school, cooler air, and beautiful colors.  But the best part is that it is my last month to be pregnant.

Can I get a hallelujah?

I am going to be scheduling my delivery, via c-section, on September 30.  The c-section is really not an option since I have had 3 already.  I am dreading it, but I am just going to make the best of it and hope that it goes okay.

I wouldn't say that this pregnancy has been any harder physically than my other three. But it has been difficult mentally.  I have so many things I want to do and had planned on doing this year and I had to hit the pause button.  2013 is not my year. It will have to wait until 2014 or even '15.  

Ever since my first pregnancy I have had a really tough time with my stomach. I get terrible ulcer attacks, pregnant or not.  I even had everything tested at the beginning of the year and the results were inconclusive.  When I found out I was pregnant this time, I think it was my biggest concern.  This would be the end of my stomach. It would officially disintegrate. I still have a stomach and it is still functioning but I really think that it hates me.

Last night was definitely my worst night of pregnancy.  I went to sleep just fine, but woke up at about 1:00 a.m. because I could feel the volcano was about to erupt.  I went to the bathroom and then started coughing and then it could not been contained. I had completely lost control of my body. It was pretty horrible and very painful. The acidic content was exceptionally high. I am grateful that my husband was there to help me and that I could take a warm shower to calm myself down.

So, today I think I have been more depressed than anything. I have been a potted plant dwelling in the bowels of my house.  I just want today to be over with, and the next thirty as well.

I have to remind myself that this whole ordeal will be over soon. Life will move on. Children will grow. I will reemerge like a phoenix from the ashes. Tick tock, tick tock.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Danny Jay

My brother Jamie and his wife Leah had a healthy baby boy, born last night at 10:38: 7 lbs, 21 inches long.

He was a few days late, so we all thought he would be bigger than he was. I must really grow large babies, because Harry was 7 lbs. 1 oz. and was only 36 weeks, and a twin! Holy schnikeys!  I guess every kid, every pregnancy is different. You never know.

Leah is doing great and I think that Jamie doesn't haven't a clue that he really is a father. He is a bit bewildered, as it just has not sunk in yet.

I took Eli with me to the hospital to see my new nephew. I don't think it has sunk in yet for me either, that in another month I am going to have one of these for myself.  Whoa!  With that said, I made the mistake of posting his picture on Instagram, and not clarifying that it was my brother's baby. Naturally, everyone thought it was mine.  I tried to clear up the misunderstanding, but it wouldn't surprise me if people are really confused at the end of September.

Anyways, welcome to the world Danny Jay. There are a gaggle of cousins waiting for you when you get home.  I hope you can survive the onslaught.

Corner Canyon Silver Team

It is official. Football has really begun.  Raef had his first game on Saturday, a scrimmage versus Herriman, at Herriman.  Raef is number 89.  He is playing both offense and defense. On offense, he is the tight end and on defense he plays an outside linebacker.

I am pretty proud of my boy.  He has improved drastically over last year, and even over the past month of practice. He was 2-2 on receiving, and even made a sack on the quarterback.

Oh, and the boys won!  They did great and made some amazing plays.  Defense could use some work, but I guess I will cut them some slack since they are only 11, right?

This is the coach, Jeff S.  He has a brother and a cousin who both play for BYU, but I guess I won't hold that against him.

I just couldn't resist. Can you? 

The Debut of the Black Sharks

Eli had his very first soccer game on Saturday.  It was just too cool.  He was a tenacious little player who got right in there.  And then when he wasn't playing, he was all over the bowl of peaches Katie brought for the team.  You see, Eli is never out of the action.

His team is called the Black Sharks and they scored lots of goals.  So did the other team. It was an action-packed game.

And then Harry and Julia were good sports hanging around, waiting for the game to finish.  And they just had to take a picture with their buddy, Ryder B. His brother Weston is on the team with Eli.

And here are some of the boys. All of these guys are in Primary with Eli and I am just so thrilled that he is going to be growing up with these kids. They are all top-notch little guys.

Landon C., Bryson O., Weston B., and Eli

Friday, August 23, 2013

Weapon of Mass Cuteness

Eli has learned how to wield a very powerful weapon against his mommy: cuteness.  About a month ago, I was resting on my bed and he comes in and lays down next to me.  Then he says, "Mom, since I am the cutest boy in the world, can I have some ice cream?"


I couldn't help but start laughing pretty hard.  I mean, really. How could I possibly disagree with this well thought out argument?  He knew it and he knew that I knew it.  I was powerless against those greenish blue eyes, long black lashes, and cherubic cheeks.

So now, he has his cute face and he whips it out whenever he needs something from mom.  It always includes a head tilt to the right, the faint squint of his eyes and an adorable little smirk.

This kid is good.

It seems to be contagious, because all three of them know how to turn on the charm.

Eli thoroughly enjoyed two scoops of cookies 'n' cream.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Pregnant Ladies

Okay, just look at this craziness. Three of us, very pregnant. Yikes! I took this picture a couple of weeks ago. I was 32 weeks, Catye was 35, and Leah 38 weeks. Yep, that is my first belly post for this blog. I am having number 6 and Catye and Leah are both having their first. They are having boys, and I have no idea what I am having. Actually, that is not true. It will be a baby. It will be Caucasian and probably look a whole lot like the other five that are currently living at my house.

Now, Leah is due any minute and Catye is close on her heels. Leah is my sister-in-law and Catye is my little sister.  But I know for sure that I will not be pregnant by October 1st. That is a guarantee. I am just counting down the days.

Strawberry Reservoir Fun

August 9-11, we went camping with some old friends. In fact, Brian and Kristin were our friends when we lived in Sugarhouse, sans the kids.  We would get together all the time and play card games and hang out. It was great. They lived on our street and Rinar actually went to high school with Brian, back in the day.

Now that we are back in Utah and live one town over, we decided to do a little camping trip with them at Strawberry Reservoir.  Brian's parents own some land up there and they keep all the goodies up at their place during the summer.

As soon as we got there, we did a little trip with everyone on a Ranger, a heavy-duty off-road vehicle to spring at the bottom of a canyon.  The kids also played bocce a lot and explored nature.  We got to ride ATV's and my three oldest actually got to do some driving. They loved it.

In addition, we went exploring to another part of the property and found this old, abandoned car that looked like a glorified planter for quaking aspens.

It was pretty darn cool and a great spot for some pictures. I just wish I had brought my good camera.

Brian and Kristin in front of the old car. 

Julia loved playing with Emma. They were princesses everywhere they went.

At this spot, the kids used a metal detector to find treasure. It also helped that Brian was one step ahead of them, burying coins for them to find.

A surprising find was an old zip line.  Rinar and Brian got it going and then all of the kids and adults, except me, took turns going down the zip line.  It was a whole lot of fun.

The kids also got a chance to shoot guns, and BB guns, too.  I took my turn as well, and actually hit a lot of the targets. I am a pretty good shot.  In the evening, Brian and Rinar took the older kids down to the reservoir and they caught a whole mess of crawfish. Then for the next day, the kids proceeded to torture the poor creatures before they were released back into the lake. Hey, at least we didn't eat them, right?

Both nights, after the kids were asleep, we would stay up and play games.  We played 8 and Back, and Settlers of Cataan. It was my weekend, because for some reason I won all three times.  I have no idea how that happened.

It is fun to go camping and enjoy the outdoors, but it is even  more fun to share the experience with friends.  They have four kids and they are all about the same ages as ours, and they got along really well (most of the time), which made our camping excursion even more enjoyable.  I hope we can do this every year.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

I Braved the Great Salt Lake

There is always something adventurous to do in your own backyard. Now this may not look very adventurous, but I would really put it right up there: swimming in the Great Salt Lake.

I think it would be safe to say that the Great Salt Lake is not a big beach destination for anyone.  And there is a good reason for that.

I got a surprise email from my homeschool friend Kelly R. She lives in Reno and her family is top-notch.  They were planning a trip to Yellowstone and wanted to make a stop in Salt Lake City, because their oldest son Adam really wanted to swim in the Great Salt Lake.  Crazy kid.  He had heard that you really float in the water and he wanted to try it out.

We were game. They got to our house Sunday, August 4, late. Then after a delicious pancake breakfast, we hit the road for Antelope Island, which is on the way to Yellowstone.

Antelope Island has a lot of wildlife living there, including a herd of bison.  And yes, we did get to see one bison out on the lonely prairie.

After a buffalo burger lunch, everyone headed down to the "beach". 

As you arrive at the seashore, you are greeted by a phalanx of tiny flies: the official welcoming committee of this wondrous body of uber-salty water.  I walked past them as fast as I could. It was like Moses parting the Red Sea.  The water is pretty shallow and nice and warm.  And there are these tiny krill floating everywhere in the water.  That is all that can live in this exceptionally salty water.

I was a little late to the swimming party and had to walk out quite a ways to where everyone was. I also was commanded to bring a towel because if you get any water near your eyes, it does not feel so good.

This is Gabrielle floating, toes high up out of the water.

And Rachel. She just loved the floating action.

Marc was not as thrilled as his kids were about being in the lake, but he was still a good sport.

Kelly wasn't going to miss the chance to float. She did it but then she was out of there.

And Zach...

Oh look. There is Marc. Look at those feet!

When I started walking out of the lake, I started to panic just a tiny bit inside of myself.  The whole idea of it just started to gross me out. And then I waited for those rotten kids to get out of the water and they sure took their time. Meanwhile, those Moses flies started attacking me, coating me, harassing me.  I almost went bonkers.  

Forget water boarding. This lake is really America's answer to updated, humane torture techniques. At least I think so.

We made sure to get a picture with everyone before we parted ways. I hope they come back soon. We just love this family.  Hey, they love to ski and I have heard the skiing is fairly good around here.

But in all seriousness, everyone must swim in the Great Salt Lake one time in their lives.  I did my tour of duty, and it was a worthwhile, fun adventure.

Handsome Harry

I did a little bit of shopping a few weeks ago and found this fedora at a children's clothing store. It was super cheap, so I thought, hey, why not?

Harry wore it to church and miracle of miracles, he kept it on the whole time.

Handsome Harry, for sure.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Staycation, All in the Name of Football

Several months ago Rinar and I scheduled our family vacation time. Rinar has to do that now because of his extensive travel schedule. Unbeknownst to us, we scheduled vacation number 2 the same week as football tryouts.  Yes, for some reason here in Utah 11 year-old boys have to try out for the football team to see where they get put.  You know, because when you are 11, these things are vitally important, on the same level as the North Korean missile crisis and preventing world hunger.  It is that important around here, apparently.

Hence, vacation became staycation.  Bummer. But we tried to make the best of it.

On Monday, July 29th we headed down to Provo to go to Seven Peaks with  my sister Catye and her husband Mike. Catye worked at Seven Peaks last year and she had a whole bunch of free tickets.  Staycation was looking pretty darn affordable.  The kids had a blast, but we had to hurry back to get Raef to football tryouts on time, so we didn't get to stay as long as we would have liked.

On Tuesday, we headed up to Hogle Zoo. But it was blazing hot. The kids only lasted a few hours and then it was time to get some pizza.

And if you are going to get pizza, the obvious place to go is The Pie. Where else?  The kids thoroughly enjoyed the fare.  Then we had to call an audible for afternoon activities, because our original plan did not give us enough time to hurry back for...yep, football tryouts. This meant a quick trip to the Church Museum to see the kid's Book of Mormon exhibit.

Wednesday was my favorite.  We dedicated the whole day to This is the Place Heritage Park. It happens to be across the street from the zoo.  It is a pioneer village with oodles of things to do, a hands-on, living museum.  Harry and Zach enjoyed a "shave" at the barber shop while the other ones waited by playing checkers.

They got to ride the ponies, and totally loved it.  There was also a petting zoo, and lots of historic buildings.

This little pioneer house was a big hit. They washed clothes on a real scrub board, beat the rug with a wire whisky thing, plowed the soil with a real hand plow, played toss-a-ring, and even gave it a go at stilt walking.

When it got too hot, they spent a bit of time playing in the splash pad. I had no idea there was one there, so we were woefully unprepared.  But after ringing out the shirts and staying outside for a  little bit, they were dry in a short amount of time. 

We also rode a train, panned for gold, made an arrowhead necklace, and ate ice cream at the old hotel.  And then we packed the kids up and hurried home. Surprising, I know, but had to get to football tryouts on time.

We were tuckered out by Thursday and hung around the house. Rinar did take them swimming for a little while and then it was off to football again.

On Friday, Rinar took Raef, Zach, and Eli to Lagoon, or as Eli calls it...Magoon.  We made sure that they got there right when it opened.  They stayed as long as they could before they rushed back for football tryouts.  After football, Rinar took Raef and Zach back until closing time.

As for football, I might have been a little annoyed.  Okay, maybe a lot.  We gave up a week of vacation so that he could tryout for teams that were pretty much already decided before anyone showed up for the first day of tryouts. Most of those boys had played in the system before. Everything was predetermined.  There is an A team. Yep, that never happened. There was a B team. Nope, didn't make that one. And then there were the color teams, like gray, blue, white, etc.  The color teams are for all the rest of the boys, whether they tried out or not.

Raef is on the gray team.

I am just so glad we had to lose a vacation and rush back from every activity early so that he could be on the gray team, a team he would have probably been put on even if we had gone to Yellowstone for the week.

But whatever!

Pioneer Day Celebrations

For those of you not from Utah, you may not know that July 24th is a big day for Utah. In fact, Utahns party all week.  The 24th is the day that Brigham Young first set his eyes on the Salt Lake valley and proclaimed, "This is the right place. Drive on."  Now that we are officially Utahns, we had to partake in all of the festivities.

One of them was the local Draper Days parade.  We found a cozy spot along the parade route and got ready to watch all the action.  It was great and holy smokes, my kids walked away with a ton of candy. It was out of control.  But they sure had fun collecting, and eating, all of it.

The big parade for the state is called the Days of '47 and is through downtown Salt Lake. This thing is seriously a massive event.  They say that 250,000 people line the streets to be a part of the parade.  We were not one of the masses.  But, the day before the parade we went to the Sandy Convention Center to preview all of the floats.  They were amazing; very intricate, well planned, and executed.  It was fantastic. We could see all of the floats without the heat and delay. I didn't mind that so much. Plus, we didn't miss out on any candy because candy is prohibited at the Days of '47 parade. It was a win-win for me.

At the end of the week, I was able to go with Rinar and our new friends Brad and Melissa to the Conference Center to watch the Pioneer Concert put on by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. We also took Raef and Zach because we thought they would enjoy the music.  Hearing the Mormon Tabernacle Choir should be on every persons' bucket list. It is awe-inspiring. 

On the drive to downtown, Raef got sick, like queasy, vomit every 20 minutes kind of sick.  And Zach brought a book and couldn't be bothered to actually watch any of the concert.  So while it was going on, Raef had to crawl out of our seats, which were smack-dab in the middle of the row to go to the bathroom at least 3 times. The people on either side of us probably wanted to strangle us. Even I was annoyed and it was my child.   

But the concert was beautiful and I am glad I got to hear it. Next year, I will leave the kids home.

Draper's Cutest Cowboy

I cannot believe I have never done this before.  On July 12, we took the family to our local rodeo. It seems that every town in Utah has a rodeo sometime during the summer. And man, is it about the coolest thing ever. I don't think there is anything more American than a good ole' local rodeo.  The first event of the night was by far and away the best: Mutton Bustin'.  

You have to weigh less than 50 lbs. to participate and so I was thrilled to sign up Eli for this event.  Rinar and I took him down to the back side of the rodeo with all of the other little victims children to give it a go.  What exactly was he going to do?  Ride a sheep for as long as he could stay on. Each kid started taking their turn while Eli waited in his dad's arms.  He was very quiet. I was worried that he was getting afraid. I mean, he had no idea what was going on except for the fact that every kid who finished was crying buckets of tears. Oh dear!  What had I signed my child up for? 

Finally, the time had come for Eli to bust the mutton. Rinar put Eli into the arms of one of the cowboys. They put him in the cage with the animal and as soon as he was set, they let him fly.  To say he looked bewildered would be putting it mildly.  But he held on for about 3 seconds and then the sheep took a right turn. Eli fell left, face first into the muddy turf.  Was he going to cry?  I watched him stand up, as quiet as could be, and start spitting profusely.  All the dirt seemed to go into his mouth.  I still wasn't sure how he felt about the whole experience, but I was very surprised to find out that he absolutely loved it and wanted to do it again! The first thing he said to Rinar was that he needed to practice riding sheep more.  Well, all be!!

He was so proud of himself and felt like a real cowboy. Then it was time to watch the big cowboys in action. And we were not disappointed.

At half time, all the little kids got to chase a calf that had dollar bills pinned to it.  All three of them ran hard, and really enjoyed running. I don't think they knew why they were running, but it sure was fun to watch them out their running their best. Dad gave them each a consolation coin and they were all really happy.

The rodeo is just up the street from our house and I know this is going to be a family tradition. Draper Rodeo every year. Good times.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Camp Tracy

What would summer be without Boy Scout camp, right?  July was also the month for the boys to go to Camp Tracy. It is an awesome, permanent Boy Scout camp in Millcreek Canyon. They went for three days and I was able to take all the scouts from our troop on the last day of the camp.  That equals four boys: Raef, Zach, Matt D., and Caden C. 

They were able to pass off a bunch of stuff for their rank advancement. I helped them do the compass requirement. Actually, I just helped Raef and Caden. Matt and Zach finished before us.  They asked if they could go do rock climbing while we finished. I told them they could and then about 15 minutes later I went to look for them.  But, of course, they were not there.  Then the hunt began. It soon ended at the pond and canoes. I saw them out there and waved for them to come in. Matt and Zach came right back and when they came to dock the boat, Zach was really upset and crying.  I was a bit taken back by his emotional state. They both got out of the boat and Matt took off.  Zach proceeded to tell me that Matt was keeping him hostage on the canoe because Matt wanted to canoe, and Zach did not. Matt is much bigger than Zach and so he was pretty much powerless.  Zach begged him to go back to shore but he wouldn't.

Oh the drama of an 11 year-old mind.

Then they went swimming and everything was okay again.

Diving boards can make everything better.

It has been nice to have Rinar around more. Even though he travels a lot, he is able to work from home when he is in town.  That means we have been able to go on a lot of lunch dates together.

One of our lunch dates was to the Serving Time Cafe.  It is a cafe at the prison in Draper. It is run by female prison inmates. They get release time and work at this little cafe.  Rinar and I tried it out and were pleasantly surprised. The food was darn good and it was a neat little place to eat.

We will definitely be going back again.

The Fourth in St. George

I am going to kindly remind myself never, ever go to St. George in July while pregnant. Like, ever.  Grrrr.... It was so hot.  

We decided to go to St. George for the Fourth and spend time with our families.  Since we sold our van, we actually rented a car to make the trip. I have learned something very important from not having the van.  Our family really does not need a DVD player in the car. All of the kids did great for the trip. They each had a bag of toys and played really well. We listened to satellite radio, which was a nice luxury and the kids were surprisingly very pleasant.

As soon as we got to St. George, we headed over to Aislinn's house. She just got remarried to Dave in February and we went over to his house because he has a pool. Pools are a nice commodity in that town and the kids had a lot of fun swimming for a few hours. 

Then we went to pay a surprise visit to my Uncle Ron. He lives in Bloomington and is a widower.  It was really wonderful to be able to catch him at home and we sat with him for about an hour or so and talked.  

Then it was off to my Grandma's house to catch the fireworks. Her condo is right next to the field where they set off the fireworks and it is really neat to see them that close. The kids were in heaven. They just loved it. I was a little worried about getting stuck in traffic, as we had to drive to Hurricane to stay at Lyf's house. But it was no problem at all. Traffic was a breeze heading out the way we did.  Lyf and his family were out of town, but they graciously let us stay there while they were gone.  

And then on Friday, we had dinner over at Nordel's house. It was a fun surprise to see Linda and her brother Richard and sister Carma and Bruce.  I was a lot of fun catching up with them, and of course give them a little concert before they left.

Besides the horrific heat, it was fun to be with family for the Fourth of July.

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