Sunday, October 30, 2016

We're walking, we're walking

I have used this very post title before, first here in 2011 when my first two boys were the same age as my last two boys.  And the challenges are similar. Energetic younger boy, anxious older boy.  Except they don't fight for who goes first down the sidewalk, because we now have a strider/pedaless bike.




And James can go fast.  It's something I wish we had years ago. Andrew has training wheels and just never wants to try the strider bike.




He sometimes just walks beside me instead. But we both worry about James when he gets to the corner. One street in particular is busy. Millie loves walks. JB often goes in the mornings, too. Ugh, she's so cute in this picture that I can't stand it. I miss her when we are apart.




I used this post title again in 2014 to lament not being able to really get a good heart rate.  Sometimes I think I have been in this stage forever, of pushing strollers and encouraging fledgling bike-riders, and it is no where near over. But I am working on changing my thinking on this. What an amazing opportunity to have young kids who want to go walking with me. They won't be little forever. Max and Ben sometimes come along, but they spend time with friends or shooting hoops or raking leaves or doing increasing loads of homework. Soon this will be the case with all my children...and then they will be gone. Sniff sob.

James Herriott wrote in one of his books about how his boy would go on rounds with him to the farms, and how grateful he was that he got to experience it twice with his daughter. I can feel the same way about so many things. I am able to experience childhood several times over as my babies grow up.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Andrew's ears

Not long after I blogged about sweet Andrew being on my mind, I got word that he didn't do so well on his Kindergarten hearing screening. His right ear, they said.

This is the ear that a couple years ago during a well child checkup, the doctor said he had a hole in his eardrum. At four months old he needed tubes, and after they fell out one ear apparently just didn't heal all the way.  I remember at our subsequent visit with the ENT, they said they didn't like to do follow up surgery until around 8 years old.

I figured it just meant he would have to wear his special earplug around water. I don't remember them saying anything about his hearing being affected.

Andrew went to the lady at the school district earlier this month for a more thorough check of his hearing. He looked so sweet and small and vulnerable and shy in the booth that I took a picture to show JB.



It's slight to mild hearing loss in his right ear, but the bone structure and everything else is fine, so it appears that once the hole closes his hearing will be fully restored.

For now, his left ear is working harder to catch everything -- and his brain has to work harder, especially at school or in high-noise places with different conversations and background noise all going on at once.  She said this could make him seem overwhelmed or grumpy or tired. Before I just blamed that on him being 5 or needing better discipline to control the whining. Or I thought he was ignoring me from downstairs when I called him. The back of the van is another place where he can't hear us from the front. Poor boy!

His teacher should be getting a microphone in his classroom to help. She sits him near the front, and other similar strategies. I wish I could make our home more peaceful for him, where his three brothers and the baby sister don't make too much noise all at the same time. And at night I now read bedtime stories on his left side instead of his right. But I was encouraged at the parent teacher conference when we saw that he is doing very well. His hearing loss does not seem to be affecting his learning in kindergarten, phew.  We love our Andrew.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Dinosaurs!

Andrew and James are both really loving dinosaurs lately. In June, James's birthday cake was a dinosaur theme. And Andrew requests one of several dinosaur books at bedtime when it's his turn to choose. And the rule is, first little boy in jammies gets to choose the first book.  That sets them hopping.

Andrew tells me often that a T-Rex would have sounded like "MuuuuWAAAAAA" (you have to hear him) and he insists it's different than a roar.  So, he made that very noise a lot when we visited the Museum of Ancient Life at Thanksgiving Point with the Gublers earlier this month.


I mean, that face! That pose!  I just giggle every time I look at these pictures on my phone.


James loved the areas where you sift through sand. But his 3 year old sense of injustice prevailed over our lessons on sharing. Here he is telling me "Somebody took my dinosaurs."


The big boys are so much taller than when we were at the museum last time.



They are good helpers in public settings. I was chatting away with Autumn and they would remind me that the little boys were fighting, or one looked like he was going to wander too far.

There's a section in the beginning where you walk through an area that is very dark with pinpoints of light for stars. My heart thrilled again to feel a little hand slip into mine for safety and comfort. And later, when asked about what he thought about the whole trip, Jamesy exclaimed: "We saw da DARK!"

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Soccer getting serious

Ben was invited by our friends the Thorntons to play with their son on an Impact soccer team this fall. Ben hasn't played since the indoor days at Spence-Eccles Field House on the little fields. Now he is outside on a larger field with larger goals and with boys who play almost all year, every year.

We think he kept up really well. Ben is naturally athletic, and we all started to learn more about offsides and midfielders and all that stuff. He is in the black shirt below.


Millie-girl aka Miss Cheeks is just such a good baby on the sidelines. She would just look around or nurse contentedly. JB took this picture on his phone:



And I took this picture on my phone:



The two little boys often wrestle or run around on the grass or fight over sticks ("They are light sabers, mom" -Andrew)


Max keeps on eye on them if the field has a playground nearby. In fact Max is such a good helper, each Monday afternoon he rides bikes with Ben to his soccer practice in the field by our church, and he watches him for the hour to hour and a half. He often plays with them in the scrimmage at the end. I really love how he looks out for Ben (though he bosses him around a fair amount) and I hope they continue to be friends. And I hope Andrew and James become the same way. Right now it's more scuffles.

Their last game is next Saturday morning. Then we will most likely be into basketball on Saturdays.



Thursday, October 20, 2016

Three months

Millie is three months old now and getting to be so much fun. She smiles big open mouth smiles and coos and oohs and aahs and laughs and says aaaahhhhuuuuuah. Exactly like that.




We think she has some reddish strawberry tints in her hair.  She found her hands and sucks on her fists, which keeps her fingernails clean, wink wink.  She really looks like she is trying to reach and grab but can't quite figure out how to control the actions of her arms. Like in this series of boxing pictures. I crocheted the sweater, but it is already getting too small, waaaaa.



When she is on her tummy she squirms and whines and wiggles and pushes with her toes until she is either on her back, or has moved almost all the way around to face the other way.


Wherever she is, James and Andrew are there -- often kissing her cheeks with big "Muuuuaaahhh" sounds. Max and Ben are good holders, but don't like it if she gets squirmy or spits up on them. She likes to sit up and face out on your lap.

I went back to work last week, after the 12 weeks were up, and she and JB are becoming good friends. She is wearing the KSL onesie my co-workers gave me, and smiling at her daddy in this picture:


The first week was rough. I was tired from adjusting to waking up so early again, and I got weepy. Millie had some rough spots as she figured out bottles. Some of the nipples were way too fast of flow, choking her and giving her bad air bubbles that were hard to get out. (The boys all told me about her burps and toots. Several times.) I am pumping more milk than she drinks so far, because I make more milk in the mornings. So we have quite the freezer stash.


But overall JB says she is an angel. He'll text me updates and pictures of her, like he did with our baby boys.





JB dressed her in this outfit and I showed everyone at work right then. They say they are very happy to have me back, so, that's good they still like me after 14 years!


The boys leave to walk to school by 8:15 AM, then JB says he makes sure to have James know he is his big helper until mommy comes home at lunchtime. That approach seems to help James. He's not in preschool but I wonder if he would benefit if there are any openings.

In the evenings/night time and in the afternoons we often sleep next to each other as she nurses. It's what I did with my other babies. As I cuddle her, I say a sleepy prayer of thanks in my heart for her health and safety and sweetness.  Though sometimes I refer to her in that sleepy state as a boy. Without a bow and in the dark, it's like it was with those four boy babies that came before, haha!



Thursday, October 13, 2016

Pinewood Derby

One week ago was the Cub Scouts Pinewood Derby. This year we were back to just one boy participating, because Max has moved onward and upward to the 11 year old scouts.

JB and Ben worked on the car for several days. It's not just a paint job, people, it involves specific wood-working tools. They even sat down and timed the spinning of each wheel.  Kids need dads.

JB took the cutest video of Ben pumping his fist after one run in which he came in first. But it was a quiet kind of celebration. Each time it was his car's turn to race, he watched, tense, from the sideline:


In the end, Ben came in behind his good friend Jonah. The first place was technically an illegal car (too long with an extender), but what do you do.


JB saw the whole thing before he went to his Wednesday night bishoping duties.


Max came right at the end from his scout meeting. He meets 6-7pm, and Ben meets 7-8pm (except Pack Meetings at 6:30 once a month), so our Wednesday nights become a scramble sometimes -- especially when it gets dark and cold and the boys can't ride their bikes anymore. Andrew has 3 more years until he joins the ranks of scouts, and when Jamesy turns 8, Max will be 16 and in Venture Scouts. I think. (I really should have this all down by now).

Speaking of scouts, here is one of my favorite pictures from September's Court of Honor. It was Max's first one, and he took Millie to show her off to his friends.


I love having older brothers for this girlie!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

BYandU

Over the years it has seemed the boys lean more toward the U.

Like I wrote about in this post when Max was 5 1/2 and Ben was 3.

And this post when Ben was 2 years old and went by Benny and went to all the home games that season.

Or this post when I took Max to his first BYU game at age 4, and he kept saying "Go Utes."

They love their daddy and Papa. The duo has season tickets together again this year.


Benny went with a friend to the first game. Then when the newest Richards baby was born in Arizona (and he's sooo cute in pictures), Papa was in Phoenix, so Max went with JB to Rice-Eccles Stadium. 


It was rainy and they won on the very last play.


JB claims that when we got married, we agreed that our boys would be Utah fans and our girls would be BYU fans. I do not remember this agreement AND THEN WE HAD FOUR BOYS.  But now with a girl, I have been putting Millie in blue on game day.



We kept losing. I put Millie in red for the next Utah game.


And they lost that day at the very end. Weird. So the jury is still out on her allegiance. 

Meanwhile, Max and Ben have been watching both teams on TV and are cheering for both. During the BYU Utah game in September, Ben even changed shirts back and forth several times. Our home teacher asked his favorite team, and he said BYU! JB's face was....not sure how to describe it. Max said both, and James and Andrew are not really paying attention. They are more into cars and dinosaurs and Star Wars.  I will say that when I sang the BYU fight song to Andrew, he just looked curious. But when I launched into Utah Man, his face brightened and he perked up and tried to sing along.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

History repeats itself

At church a couple Sundays ago, I lifted Millie up to put on my shoulder, and my friend laughed and said: "She is the bishop with a bow!" I wrote here about how they all seem to look like him, but as Andrew has grown he looks a lot like my side of the family.  And almost everyone says that Millie looks like Andrew. Same big eyes. So I hunted down some baby pictures, and wow - twins.

Here is Millie at the motel on our road trip, getting ready for bed -- one of the few times she doesn't have on a bow.



And here is Andrew at age 4 months.




While going through old pictures of Andrew as a baby, I found some of Ben at around James's current age of 3, 3 1/2 -- and they look alike!   Ben is even doing a James face in the pictures below as he tries to poke or squeeze Andrew. That suppressed rage, you know?



 



Here is James doing a similar face this week.


James at 3 is reminding me a lot of Benny at 3. New baby rocking their world in addition to the challenges that already come with being 3 years old. Lots of meltdowns and defiance and tantrums.

We had many struggles and tears with that Benny's behavior, but now Ben is a sweet, good-natured helper at age 8 1/2.  I asked the big boys to fast with me tomorrow on fast Sunday for James (I do a fast from treats/sweets and just eat the basics while nursing). I am really worried about how he will react when I go back to work next week. Millie is 12 weeks old on Monday. In fact, I pray the adjustment will go smoothly for our whole family.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Dead Horse Point State Park

We had heard about Dead Horse Point so we decided to head there on Tuesday. I interviewed the state parks director for a news story back when the federal government shut down and the national parks were closed. He said tour groups should and were diverting there, because it is by Canyonlands and really cool.


James was great at Arches. The next day, not so much. Here he is trying to nope his way out of JB's arms. There is a good wall along the cliff's edge, but still.


There we go.


They call it Utah's Grand Canyon. In fact the last scene of "Thelma and Louise" was filmed there.






JB and I both took selfies with Max.  It is really nice to have an 11-year-old. He listens, he helps, he is fun to talk to, he enjoyed himself -- he is growing up. Ben also was such a joy. It was fun to see their discoveries of the land and scenery.


5 year old Andrew also was wide-eyed and so cute to see as he looked around. "Ooh look, mom at this rock! I'm going to keep it. Oh look at THIS rock!"

Jamesy had a rougher time. He's a homebody and said he wanted to go home.  At one point, former Utah Jazz player Mark Eaton walked by just as James was throwing a huge tantrum. Huuuge. This area with climbing rocks and a roof helped him calm down.



After a morning there walking around a bit, it was an hour back to Green River where we had lunch and another tantrum from the 3 year old (plus tears from 5 year old Andrew when he didn't get soda (we rarely order soda)), then James finally slept in the car for the 3 hours back to Salt Lake City. It would have been easier for JB and the bigs to camp and hike to their hearts' content, but I wanted a family trip. And overall it was great.


Other highlights include this large watermelon in Green River.


And the railroad museum we randomly came across in Helper when we stopped for me to nurse Millie.


The boys were entertained by the railroad and mining stuff while she was fed -- but she got hungry again as we hit Draper. And done with her car seat. The last 20 minutes of our trip was the only time she really had a hard time. The rest she was an angel baby.


This picture I took while we drove down Sunday afternoon, at the start of our trip. We have a DVD player built into the van, but we said it is only for long trips. "But we never go anywhere! Wah!"  But over the 2 1/2 days they watched The Lorax, Despicable Me 2, and Star Wars and were pleased as punch.


We had talked about going to Phoenix to see JB's brother and their newborn baby, but decided against it because a)a new baby on their end  b) 10 week old baby on our end means lots of nursing breaks and c) 11 hours is a long time in the van for little boys. Looks like it may be a while before we drive 17 hours to Missouri to see my family.