Sunday, January 26, 2014

Our Family: Week of 1/20-1/26

On Monday, the kids had no school.

It was their 5th day of "no school" (they only go to school Monday-Thursday, and Thursday of the previous week was "staff development day", so they were off Thursday - Monday).

And, truthfully, they were kinda done with "no school."

Or, at least, they were tired of being stuck in a house with a itchy/tired/recovering-from-a-c-section Mama.

There was a lot of bickering and boredom and grumpies going around.

But, we still managed to have some fun with bike rides and outside play:  

Las Vegas weather is so gorgeous in January.

(I mean, not gorgeous enough that I think it's worth it to live here in August or anything, but I'll take it).


On Tuesday, Adam and Grace headed back-to-school and Josh realized the awesome-ness of having his Grammy all to himself.

They played games, went on bike rides, built legos, and argued about eating fruits and vegetables (Josh is against the idea).

Adam and Grace settled back into their school routine.

And we all fell in love with this guy even more:


Wednesday and Thursday played out the same way.

Except, on Thursday, my hives started to fade away.

Best.  Thing.  Ever!


On Friday, we walked down to the park!

There is an !exclamation! at the end of that sentence because it was soooo good to be feeling better and get out of the house.

Sam was not a fan of the sun:

It felt amazing to get some fresh air and watch Adam, Grace, and Josh run around and have fun.

We all do better when we get out of the house.

(No homebodies here).


On Saturday the kids played:

Grace cheered:

We picked our strawberry from our (confused) strawberry plant:

Payless donated a whole buncha shoes to D.I.  None in Adam or Josh's size, but Grace got some new shoes.  She's in love:

And we had pizza/ice cream/game night.


On Sunday, these guys all got ready for church.

If you ask Josh, he will tell you that he does NOT like Sam.

If you were to see how he behaves around that sweet baby, you'd know the real story:

That he is head-over-heels for the guy.

After church, I was holding a sleeping Sam, when Josh crawled into my lap, and fell asleep, too.

I adored that moment, with my arms full of sleeping baby boys, and my heart even fuller than that.

That night, Sam got his first bath.

He hated it at first, then was okay with it, and he hated it again toward the end.

The kids all insisted that he was stinky (and his cord fell off days ago), so we decided to scrub him up before his 2-week check tomorrow.

We'll keep working on his attitude toward bathing.


Sunday, January 19, 2014

Our Family: Week of 1/13 - 1/19

This week I planned on having a baby on Wednesday.

I had an extensive "to do" list of items on Monday and Tuesday.  Things that had to get done at the last minute (like grocery shopping and mopping my floor).

That all changed on Monday.


On Monday I was plowing through my "to do" list, after Adam and Grace went to school.

I had my last NST scheduled for 1:00, and the plan was to get through it, celebrate by going out to lunch, go shopping, pick up the kids, and then finish cleaning the house.

My NST didn't go so well.  Baby boy failed it again because of lack of accelerations.

I was kicking myself because I had only eaten 2 graham crackers the entire day, which probably made his blood sugar a little low, which made him too sleepy to move enough to get his accelerations.

I wanted to save room for some Mexican food, darnit!

Instead, my perinatologist told me to go straight to the hospital (no detours) to go have a baby.

I told him that I was picking my kids up from school first.

My appointment had taken so long that we realized we wouldn't make it to get the kids on time.  I called on my sweet friend Melanie to pick up my kids from school, another sweet friend, Jessica, to watch Josh, and then my awesome-fantastic-sweet sister, who (miraculously) had decided to head up to Vegas a day early, to ask her to watch the kiddos overnight until my mom could get here.

I also asked her to mop my floor.

And she also had to go out and buy milk and bread.

I am the worst sister ever.

She is the best.

The end.

We headed to the hospital, and on the way there I started have regular, painful contractions 5 minutes apart.

Baby really wanted to be born that day.

My surgery had been scheduled for 7:30.  I got prepped, we filled out paperwork, and in no time I was headed to the O.R.

The surgery took f-o-r-e-v-e-r.

Because baby boy was already headed for the birth canal and needed a vacuum to get him out the other way.  A lot of pushing and pressure and vacuuming, and he was born.

I cried.

I've never cried at a birth before, but hearing him cry and realizing that he and I had made it through the pregnancy overwhelmed me.

He was an absolutely perfect bundle of chub: 9 pounds 4 ounces and 21.25 inches long.

(I think my due date was off).

He (and I) were doing well, so I got him in my room about an hour later, and as I held his perfect little body, with his dark, wise eyes I decided something then and there:

That he was worth it.

Every pain, every uncomfortable night, every worry about finances, every single night that Mike worked extra and I cried from exhaustion, every single doctor appointment, everything was absolutely, positively worth it.


On Tuesday I recovered.

On Tuesday we went back-and-forth about baby boy's name.

On Tuesday I held, and fed, and rocked my baby boy.

On Tuesday my other kiddos and mom and sister came to visit me.

On Tuesday I loved when they crawled into the bed around me, sweetly kissed their new baby brother, and the wave of gratitude I felt at being a mom to four.

On Tuesday I started itching.


Wednesday, things were going so well that my doctor said I could go home.


I was itching, in a ton of pain, miserable and convinced that being at home would be so much better.

I no likey the hospital.

We went ahead and decided on a name: Samuel Ethan Wilkins.

(Because I love Samuel the Lamanite, Nephi's brother Sam, and Samuel in the Bible.  His middle name is from my great-grandfather, Ethan, who died when I was 2.  I lived next door to him and we adored each other).

(But my brother, Ethan, can pretend it's after him).


Kristi, Mike and Hayden came to visit.

I love having family in town!

We packed up our stuff.

Came home.

Felt overwhelmed at the thought of having 4 kiddos.

And I realized I had never been in so much pain from a c-section before, and Mike hurried out to fill my meds.


Thursday, I broke out in horrible hives.

They covered my arms, stomach, back, and legs.

Horrible, hot, crazy-itching hives with hard blisters everywhere.

I took some Benadryl, nursed every 2 hours, and let my mom and Mike take care of the kids.

Kayty took Grace to Disney on Ice that night.

She said it was "amazing" and "the best night ever."

Thanks, Aunt Kayty!

Mike took Adam to see Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 at the dollar theatre that night.  They had fun "man time" together at the arcade afterward.

Thanks, Mike!

I stayed home and itched and nursed some more, and watched my mom "lose" at 2,436 games of "Go Fish" with Josh.

(Sweet Grammy allows him to cheat).



On Friday Mike and I took Sam to the doctor, and Kayty headed home.

He lost a little bit of weight (but not too much), gained a 1/2 inch, and had no jaundice at all.

(My other 3 had jaundice, were sleepy and hard to feed... Sam has been soooo good so far).

I called my doctor about my hives, and she told me to go to the E.R. (because of the chance it was a bacterial infection or virus from the hospital).

I pumped, Mike bought some formula, we left all 4 kiddos in my mom's care, and headed to the E.R.

10 hours later (for reals) and lots of blood draws later, they established that I had a drug reaction to one of the drugs given to me during/after I had Sam.

And because they had no idea which drug it was, they suggested I go off my pain meds completely.

So I did.

Heavenly Father is so good to me.  I was in the most excruciating pain that I had ever had from a c-section... and I was able to completely stop my pain meds (not even Tylenol or ibuprofen... I wasn't taking chances) just a few days after a c-section and bear it.

I am so blessed.

After some Internet research that night, Mike told me that drug reaction hives can take 1 to 2 weeks to go away, that no treatment is available (other than oven mitts to prevent scratching and cold compresses), and that if it progressed I could be hospitalized for 2 to 6 weeks.

He's a charmer, yo!


On Saturday, everyone left to go cheer on Grace (who was cheerleading for the soccer team), to play at the park and have a picnic.

I stayed home and tried not to itch, while taking care of Sam.

I napped, too.


On Sunday everyone headed to church.

I stayed home and tried not to itch, while taking care of Sam.

I napped, too.

(Seeing a pattern here?)

The kids built this darling birdhouse from a kit my Dad made (with Grammy's help):

After church, two men in our ward came and brought me the sacrament, and helped Mike give me a blessing.

It was beautiful (like always), and I decided to stop complaining and have faith that I would be healed on the Lord's time.  I so wanted a miraculous, overnight recovery (because I'm miserable), but so many deal with so much worse.  And why make everyone around me miserable with whining, too?  I was blessed that I would recover, and I'm having faith in that blessing.

Because if Heavenly Father loves me enough to bless me with this:

Then He must love me enough to help me get through hives, too.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Our Family: Week of 1/6-1/12

Looking back at pictures, I guess this week was all about Grace.

Of course, that's what Adam says about every week.



On Monday the kids headed back to school.

Winter break had been so wonderful.  It was relaxing and fun and productive.

I miss these little punks when they are at school!

But, they were excited to go back and see their friends and teachers... and I was a little excited to get back on our routine.

So, they went back.

{And my baby failed his NST (non-stress test).  So, I was a wreck all day}.


I usually get my appointments over with in the morning, but I had already committed to having some of Josh's friends over to play on Tuesday morning.  So, after a fun-filled toddler morning and lunch, I headed back to the doctor for a repeat NST.

And he passed within 12 minutes (though I had to be monitored for 20 minutes per the NST rules).

Apparently, baby boy likes to sleep-in like his brothers and was having a sleepy morning yesterday.


Grace had a project assigned over winter break about any subject that was interesting to her.  She chose butterflies.  We put the finishing touches on her project and her paper, and got it ready to present on Wednesday.


We went to the school early to make sure we were on time for school on Wednesday, since Grace was presenting first thing in the morning.

And it's a good thing, too.

Because at assembly we found out the Grace had been chosen as "Owl of the Month!"

Every month their school chooses a core value they work on (this month it is "responsibility") and a child from each grade who models that value.

We were so happy for her!

After assembly she presented her mobile and paper, and did a fabulous job.

My kiddos love to perform.

I have no idea where they got that.



On Thursday we came home to find some of our neighbors walking up to our house.

They wanted to buy our car.

We've had this baby for 10+ years.  Back in September it needed to be registered, but it has the "check engine" light on, and with our crazy-pregnancy-expenses we never had the extra money to fix it.

They were willing to fix it, and wanted it.

So, we sold Debbie.

And I cried that night because Heavenly Father has been so good to us.  Every time we have really needed help during this pregnancy, we've been blessed with extra hours at the hotel, babysitting jobs, and (now) an offer to buy our car.

It meant a new carseat and the hospital deposit were taken care of, and I didn't have to worry about it anymore.

We have been so blessed.


Last year, I found a program and set out to read all 4 standard works in a year.

I had never read the Bible before, and thought the program looked do-able.

So, I did.

I read almost every day (I had to play catch-up on some crazy days) for the entire year.

On December 31st, I sat down and read my last chapter in Luke and the last chapter in 3 Nephi.

Then the kids had a problem that I left to deal with, and I amidst our party-ing and fun that night, I forgot all about scriptures and reading the last 2 chapters in Ezekiel and Isaiah.

Until the next morning.

I'm such a crazy all-or-nothing kinda person and I was crushed when I realized I hadn't finished it in one year.

So, I put off those last chapters for a few days.

And then my logical awesome-ness of a husband told me that I was amazing to get so close, and it would be sad not to finish.

So, I finished on Friday.

Reading all 4 standard works in (almost) a year was an incredible experience that really strengthened my testimony and love of the scriptures.

I'm going to work on topics this year, because (logically) it would be overwhelming with a baby to read all 4 standard works again this year.  But, someday, I will tackle it again.


Back in September I went to pick up the kids from school, and found out that Grace was in the process of trying out for cheerleading.

My heart wrenched as I watched the try-outs.  There were a lot of girls trying out, and many that were experienced in gymnastics and dance, and I didn't want her to have her little heart broken.

But, she was determined.

A few days later we found out that her sweet coach must have seen how her eyes gleam when she dances, how hard she tries to do gymnastics, and her excited spirit... and she made the team.

She practices every week and is getting soooo much better!

On Saturday they got to cheer for the school volleyball team for the first time.

It was darling!

That night, we took the kiddos out to the store and picked out a carseat as a family.

We've been trying hard to include them in every bit of this pregnancy.

It's been fun, and I hope it makes them feel like they are completely a part of this experience.

Tonight, we are making bets on weight/length and amount of hair/hair color.

(It's the right thing to do in Vegas).

And in 3 days we will add a 4th little punk to our household.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Our Family: Week of 12/30 - 1/5

On Monday I went to the doctor.

On Thursday I went to the doctor.

The remaining days I complained about having to go to the doctor.


When I had my first ultrasound at the beginning of the pregnancy, the doctor commented that the baby was about 2 weeks bigger than it should have been... and that perhaps my due date was off.

Well, he's still 2 weeks big.

So, because they're worried about his due date being off (and because of my history of pre-eclampsia), I get to have 2 non-stress tests and doctor's visits per week.

It stinks, yo!


A long time ago, Josh asked exactly when the baby was coming.

As he was unable to understand exactly how far "January 29th" was at the time, I told him, "After Christmas."

The day after Christmas, he woke up bright and early, and asked me if I was going to get the baby out of my tummy.

So, we made a countdown to when he is going to be a big brother.

Every morning he diligently pulls off a ring, throws it away, comes back and counts the ones left.

It's pretty adorable.

I hope he is still excited when the baby is actually here.


(And if you're looking at my closet, yes, I have a Rubbermaid/Sterilite tub/labeling problem).


While I was at the doctor on Monday and Thursday, Mike and the kids did yard work.

Adam told me, "I don't think the baby cares if we have weeds in our yard."

I told him to go pull some more weeds.

Because it builds character.

And because nesting doesn't make sense.

The baby doesn't care if the tile under the refrigerator is cleaned either, nor does my Mom, but I still have a deep-rooted belief that it needs to be cleaned.


On Tuesday we went to our friend's house for a fantastic New Year's Eve party.

They have THE best view in the city of the fireworks show put on by the casinos on the strip.

It's an awesome show, and we look forward to it every year... and this year was the best yet.

Besides the fireworks, we laughed and talked and ate and broke out dancing skills (including Mike, who must have been drunk on a combination of soda, sugar, and 24 hours of no sleep), with our friends who have become like family to us.

It was perfect.


On Wednesday more yard work was done.

I need it to be done!

We got the last of the Christmas put away and organized in the shed.

We cleaned the house.

We rode bikes, played games, colored, and dug in the sand.

And because these kiddos of mine had been so ridiculously awesome about the yard work and house cleaning, we rewarded them with a trip to the dollar theatre to see Despicable Me 2.


It was more of the same on Thursday and Friday and Saturday: cleaning mixed in with lots of playtime and relaxing.  Adam and Grace had earned free buffets to Cici's at school, so Mike took the kids Friday night out to dinner there.

A pizza buffet isn't all that appealing to me at this point.

Most especially because this guy and I are such good friends even when I don't eat greasy, tomato-ey food:

Pizza would do me in for sure.


Grace has been begging for a haircut for a long time.

We haven't cut her hair in a year and a half, and I loved her long hair.

But, it was un-even, and she was dying for shorter hair.

So, on Saturday I watched a 4-minute video on YouTube, became an instant hairstylist, and cut 3 inches off.

It's too cute.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

January 2014 Scripture & Quote

About a year-and-a-half ago or so, I was praying about a problem, and a scripture came to my mind that brought me peace about the situation I was praying about.

It made me think about how many times a scripture or song was brought to my mind as an answer to prayer or when I was sad or discouraged.  Which made me think about the importance of memorizing scriptures.

So, I decided to fill my little punks' quick minds (which can so easily memorize every word to songs like "What Does A Fox Say" and "Radioactive") with scriptures and quotes that I adored, in hopes that one day they could be brought to the front of their minds when they needed help.

Last year, we recited our scripture and quote every night before family scripture reading.  They quickly memorized them.  At the end of the month, there was a small treat for those who could recite them to Mike and I.  We were amazed that even Josh picked up on them so easily.  I chose scripture mastery scriptures last year, and quotes I loved.

Our 2014 family theme is, "Be Kind."  So, all of our quotes and scriptures are going to revolve around kindness.  And, man alive!  Are there ever some beautiful scriptures and quotes about kindness.

January 2014 Scripture:
Ephesians 4:32 "And be ye kind one to another; tenderhearted; forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."

January 2014 Quote:
"Be kind; for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." -Ian MacLaren