Thursday, January 28, 2016

Babymoon - the cruise

I was 13/14 weeks pregnant on the cruise, and feeling overall very good -- except for the first and last sea days, which were rocky. Those days I spent fighting off queasiness by laying around reading and watching movie after movie from 2015 playing on channels on our cabin TV. That made me very happy.

 We just had such a great time relaxing and eating. It was sorely needed in a time of stress through jobs and church jobs and grey January SLC skies.

 The first stop was Cozumel, Mexico, where we rode with random others from the ship in a van to the beach. Most of the others happened to be from Southern Utah. It wasn't too hot, and I saw some fishes in the water without even having to get wet. But most of the time I read an Agatha Christie novel from this hammock.

I also let JB have a turn.

Here we are on the ship.

The second stop was Belize City, Belize. It was overcast and drizzly all day, but that was perfect for what we did. A van driver drove us around the city (he was quite proud of the area and pointed out every school and bank and consulate and food stand), and then he took us out to the Mayan ruins of Altun Ha.

These just fascinated me. To think people lived here so many years ago. We climbed to the top of a couple of them.

Coming down was a little steep for me and the baby peach.

The third and final stop was Roatan Island, Honduras.  We never buy a score excursion on board the ship because they are so expensive; we opt to try for a local driver at the port. We made a deal with a guy to drive us around and show us the area.  He took us to this viewing area up high. That's our ship and another in the port (almost all their economy is tourism based now, he said, from cruise ships).

I'm sure you recognize by now my old white ratty UV Skinz jacket I wore every day to protect my skin from the sun. JB thinks it's time to retire it.

At that area were lots of booths and tables with people selling things.  This 12-year-old boy was such a hoot, and so successful a salesman that JB bought the flute and took a picture with him.

Then our driver took us to West End beach. This was a very nice bay, a beautiful area, not hot, and a nice time.

We said we'd spend about 45 minutes there and the driver said he'd be parked right nearby. We waited 2 1/2 hours, but he never came back.  So we think either he thought we wanted to spend all day there, or he took our money and ran, or he tried to go back to the port and get another fare and miscalculated.  JB asked a lady at a little hotel on the beach to call the company for us, but nothing came of it -- but she was so nice and drove us back to the ship in her car. We told her about the Church and said to look for any missionaries :)

Two days at sea later and it was Saturday morning and we were back to Houston, where Malcolm and Sandy and Greg picked us up, fed us a kolache (I've never seen them before and I love them), then took us to the airport.

When we called the boys they always sounded great and excited ("We've had pizza every night, mom!" "We just had root beer floats, mom!"). Many thanks to Nona and Papa for taking care of them. I know it wasn't easy. For that one Sunday we were gone, we asked how they did in church. The answer: "Well, three out of the four were good." Read: James was a stinker.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Babymoon - Houston

JB and I were able to get a great deal on a cruise (we love cruising. Love it.), and we went last week out of Houston to some Caribbean stops.

And do you know who is in Houston? Texas Richards relatives!  

JB's cousin York picked us up from the airport and took us right to Rudy's Barbecue. Hea-ven. We met Uncle Malcolm and Aunt Sandy there and there was so much good food.  Cousin Greg says they put white chocolate in the creamed corn to make you crave it fortnightly.

Then that night, in true Texas hospitality fashion, Greg and Stacy and their youngest Brock took us to Lupee's for what they called "the best beef fajitas."

Speak on, sweet lips that never told a lie.

York ordered three pounds and the waiter looked us all over as if sizing up our stomachs. Hey, maybe leftovers are a good thing, senor.

Saturday morning Malcolm and Sandy took us around their lovely home, full of incredible things brought back from their world travels. We also had yummy Blue Bell ice cream (very Texas), and they continued the Texas tour with a trip to Buc-ees.  This is the BIGGEST HUGEST MOST TEXAS gas station ever. Look at the ice chests alone:

They dropped us off at the port around noon, and after boarding we were able to go eat in the buffet.  I miss cruising. Future posts coming on our stops.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Ben's Baptism

All of a sudden, our Benny-baby Benji-boy was old enough to be baptized. He was excited about it, and when I asked him if he had any more questions he asked if the water was dangerous or cold. Max promptly responded that "it's really warm, don't worry."

It was just Ben and another girl in our own ward who had the whole stake baptism day, so we were surrounded by friends and neighbors. He had such a cute smile next to her on the stand that I immediately thought of betrothing them.

Afterward we had family and friends over to the church gym for JB's smoked pulled pork and other goodies people brought.

Some of the sweet and supportive crowd:


 Bart brought this rocket stomper and the cousins were enthralled. 

I like this family picture of us. Our boys are getting so tall and handsome

I think the best part of being baptized at 8 (because I still think they are so young), is that now Ben will have the Holy Ghost as a comforter and a guide for him. The world is getting scarier with temptations and evils aimed at children, and hopefully Ben will feel of the divine help from above.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

New Year's Eve 2015

We spent New Year's Eve with our friends the Peters. They are so good to our family, and so much fun to be around. They are so creative -- it was a Star Wars theme, with Chewbaca Burgers, Vader Taters and Yoda Soda and Dark Side Chocolate Cake and Ewok food snacks.

Max was in HEAVEN over the food.

Andrew was in Heaven over Princess Leia, R2D2 and C3P0.

We all wore 2016 glasses but James had a hard time keeping them on.

Roger had a timer. Genius.

The big helium R2D2 balloon came home with us, and spent many an hour being dragged around and around our circle of kitchen-livingroom-hallway-kitchen, with one of the little boys holding it by the string and the other chasing behind wanting to hold the string. Poor R2 got thrashed.

I think we made it until 9:30 or 10, then Roger set off a huge firework and we did poppers and then all went home and crashed into bed. I never make it to midnight anymore and I'm totally fine with that.


We got a bunch of snow over the Christmas break. JB was going to take the boys sledding at the park by our house, but Andrew didn't want to leave me. So I gathered myself together and went with them (my plans were to rest on the couch to drool out all my extra saliva on a towel and feel pregnancy-ill while watching a chick flick). It felt great! I forget that exercise does help me feel better.

Stair-stepped boys.

James did great. He loved it. He climbed all the way back up the hill like a boss.

Andrew kept going by himself in one sled, and always veered horizontally to the left.  Max was wishing he'd brought his snowboard.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Christmas 2015

Christmas Eve we had pizza and caroling at Nona and Papa's house. And new pajamas! It's always so exciting.  All these cheesy faces:

The annual wearing of my Christmas sweater.

It's always hard to sleep the night before Christmas. Everything that I needed to wrap I had done so earlier while watching "White Christmas."  We  closed the pocket doors to our living room, but heard some mice scuttling near the kitchen-living room door early Christmas morning. JB went out there and the two big mice blurted out, "I know we saw a 7 on our clock!"

I love our new tree. It's tall but thin and therefore perfect for our space.

James can now hammer something appropriate.

Many new Lego Star Wars minifigures and such were a hit.

Pretty much everything was Star Wars (and those are new door knobs under the tree. Max and Ben were gifted a lock for their door for when they are at school to protect their big Lego sets and other treasures from Andrew and James.

And then we went to have brunch (second breakfast/Elevensies) at Nona and Papa's house

And then, the moment we were all waiting for, the new Star Wars movie!  I picked the picture below from the theater because Andrew is using the force. I die.

It was long for Andrew and Aaron but I thought they did great. I got a little teary-eyed at times during the movie, it's so iconic.

Saturday, January 9, 2016


It's a girl!

It's really so exciting. I got the call from the nurse yesterday that the results were back from the Cell Free DNA test (thanks, "advanced maternal age" distinction).  She told me everything genetically looked great.


Then she asked if JB was home and if we were ready for the gender. I had wanted him to be there -- and to be the one to tell me. So she emailed it over and then I had such a time of waiting.  

When JB came in the door I shoved my phone at him. Read for yourself!

JB said later that he should have had Max videotape my reaction. It could have made the Today Show I'm sure. I cried and snotted and spitted all over his shoulder.

There's still a long way to go til July. We are used to finding out at 20 weeks, not around 12. But the waiting will be all the sweeter. And with four handsome older brothers, it will be interesting to see what a sister will look like! Send me all the pink, yellow, green, purple, frills and bows.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

A timeline to an announcement

August - broken heart
(It still aches any time I hear someone accidentally say Millie instead of Millicent at family gatherings. It got so bad at a recent dinner, that I hid and cried.)

September - gave away baby clothes

October - James starts yelling "SURPRISE!" in Sacrament meeting

November - positive pregnancy test

December - all the feels. Excitement, fear, nausea, gagging, anxiety, tears, prayers, insomnia, spit spit spit spit spit (we had to tell our boys about the pregnancy earlier than usual because of all the spit. Max was guessing. Others at church and work also guessed early).

January - Waiting. Waiting for results of the blood test that will tell us of any genetic issues, and also the gender of the baby.

I appreciate so much all those who have told me how much I am on their mind or in their prayers. I need the support, and it's hard for me to ask for help instead of bottling it all inside. I hope to keep everyone posted, soon. 

What helps me the most is to remember that fear and faith cannot exist at the same time. I often stop to identify the ways God has touched my life during the day. I also soon hope to blog about Christmas, New Year's Eve and Ben's baptism -- all such wonderful events and blessings.