Saturday, May 21, 2016

Family updates

JB - busy. He has 3 full-time jobs basically.
-Busy as a bishop, on-call all the time and worried about the needs of our Ward.
-Busy as dad in the mornings while I am reporting, but also in the afternoons while I nap and James sneaks out of his room where he should be napping.
-Busy as a mortgage loan officer trying to make phone calls among the noise at home, and sometimes taking kids to appointments:

(It's James in the corner of the office at the recent closing of our friends' new home, with their girls Liz and Kat)

Me - tired, big and still spitting at almost 31 weeks along (got my diabetes test and Rhogam shot done recently). Had such a nice Mother's Day with delicious crepes, chocolates and cuddles. Trying to rush around getting my news stories done on time in the morning so I can be at home. Reading, crocheting and stepping on Legos. Piles of laundry.  Just got released from nursery and called to be a Relief Society teacher.

Maxwell - finishing up 5th grade with tons of end-of-year testing. Often shooting hoops in the driveway and always looking out for his younger brothers and how he can help me. He's the designated go-after-James-and-drag-him-back because I shouldn't lift that much. Listens in to adult conversations and reads the newspaper and asks questions that I sometimes am not ready to answer right away without serious thought.

Benjamin - finishing up 2nd grade with some end-of-year testing and wishing for more math homework (he eats it up). Can often be found adding to his growing Lego city building designs. We can hear him raking and rifling through the Legos downstairs for the perfect piece.  I get the nicest texts from other parents at playdates saying Ben is very kind to younger siblings of his friends and includes them.

Andrew - almost done with his last year of preschool. Always bringing Legos upstairs to work on them at the table or in his room, and dropping them like cookie crumbs in his wake. Often asking for a snack. Big smiler, also quick to fake-cry if Ben won't let him in his room to get to more Legos. Still loves green and alligators and Star Wars.

James - "But, I WANT it" is his go-to phrase. Also often asking for a snack, and pouncing on Andrew if he senses inequity or sees something he wants.  Little poops, big smells maybe 6-10 times a day. Not interested at all in potty-training. Learning to say prayers by himself.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Baseball Benjamin

Ben is just about done with this spring's baseball season. He is playing with many of the same kids as last year (Looking over that post, I see a lot of similarities to this year, like Max's helpfulness and Andrew's nose-picking).

Ben's swing is stronger.

And his throw is stronger and getting more accurate.

Those above pictures taken by JB, who is again helping in the field.  Here is a picture on my phone of my perspective during many games. James, then Ben, then JB.

Aprils games were often rainy or drizzly or chilly for two little boys. 

They are quickly running out of room on momma's lap.

I again thank my lucky stars for the years spent in a baseball town of St Louis.  I am helping teach the boys proper baseball vernacular.  For instance, when Ben makes it to second or third base on a hit he used to say "a two-base hit" or "a three-base hit."  Doubles and triples, son.  And he would come running up after excitedly to tell me about how many home runs he had. Just runs, son, the other batters batted you in. But high five, you ran so fast!

Next I'll teach them to say 6-4-3 for a common double play, chant "Hey batter batter batter!" and "We want a pitcher, not a belly-itcher," and "Lay off the high ones!"

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Van, van, min-van

Mini-van owners. Us. Yup.

Remember 4-year-old Max's prayer years ago that we could get a minivan like his friends? We got a Honda Pilot instead when our third child came along.

I think this Instagram post sums up how JB and I felt.

We have changed our tune.  The Honda Odyssey is nice and roomy and will be so much easier with baby Richards #5 coming.  The boys LOVE it. They are obsessed with the features. Almost 3-year-old James wants to hit the door close button every time.  5-year-old Andrew wishes he could watch a movie even on short rides. 

I thought it was fitting that one of our first trips in it was a soccer carpool.

JB liked white; I had no strong preference. Though I would say that I automatically wave at any white minivan going down our street because I'm sure I know them. 

We have arrived.

Friday, May 6, 2016


Nephew Daniel was blessed the first Sunday in May. My parents and two of my sisters drove out from Missouri and stayed the weekend. We met for Saturday lunch at my brother Joe's in Springville, then had Sunday dinner at my house.

Everyone needs a Max when they have a baby.

I believe I have mentioned that Daniel is sweet and soft.

My brother's place and my place get crowded inside for entertaining, so we were glad for nice weather to be outside.

We tried to get a picture of all the grandkids together (except for the Seattle 4), but James -- as usual -- wouldn't cooperate. He screams and nopes his way out of so many pictures.

The boys played well I thought with their cousin Havala. This was the first time they had met her. They introduced her to Legos.

My sister and I compared 28-week bellies.

I did not know my dad was taking the picture yet, and he caught me eyeing her tummy to see if her bun would be baked first.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

New 'phews

My brother Joe calls my boys his 'phews, short for nephews. And now I have two more nephews. My brother Peter and wife Mindy have baby Daniel, and JB's brother Bart and wife Collette have baby Spencer. 

I recently visited both babies, and they are so squishy and soft and sweet and succulent. In fact, their mothers may have been a little concerned that I kept petting the baby....

I heard from Collette that Spencer has jaundice and needs to be on the light kit at home.  Oh I feel so bad for them.  Memories came flooding back of those early sleep-deprived, emotional, painful, worrisome days of having a newborn being poked and prodded and laying helpless in a glowing bed.

I dug out the photos to text Collette what our experience looked like.  Maxwell, the upper left, was the worst. We had to go back to the hospital and they put an IV in him and everything. Then we had a flatbed of lights for about a week at home.  Upper right is Baby Benny in the suitcase light kit at home for maybe 5 days or so.  Lower left is Andrew getting some sun in his first week of life when he was looking yellowish, but he never got lights. He's also the only one so far with my same blood type, so he didn't have the blood incompatibility.  Lower right picture is newborn James. He also had a suitcase kit, but would not keep the eyemask on so we rigged up some sort of protection.  They also gave us a glowing tube attachment to keep next to his skin while he nursed. I think it was only for a couple days.

I remember thinking with James, "It's OK, we've survived this before, he will get better and I can be strong." But I still cried. The heelpricks are the worst.  So, I guess I'd better prepare myself for the high likelihood that our new baby will need this as well.