Saturday, December 19, 2009

Anna Speaks

Finally, I have been able to post a video of Anna speaking. This was recorded on her 9 month birthday, 12-10-09. Anna had been babbling away to us so, I grabbed the camera. Mark was standing behind me trying to keep the other kiddos quiet and keep Anna's attention. It's a little loud at first, but you can clearly hear her say, Dada and bye-bye. We may finally have a kid that speaks before age 2. LOL

Friday, December 18, 2009

My "Cool" Girl

Emily was digging through the hall closet and happened upon her black leather jacket. I got inspired and used my make-up on her. Yes, I put make-up on my eight-year-old. I want to call her a "Bad Bleep", but since my mom accesses my blog at work, I'll keep it clean.

What a difference a smile makes:

Monday, October 19, 2009

Happy Birthday, Garrett!

Garrett turned four years old on October 14, 2009. We had his family birthday party on Sunday evening. The little guy requested balloons, party hats, cake and pizza. He can't make up his mind which super hero he likes best, so he had batman plates, spiderman napkins and a superman cake.

Garrett is such a smart and funny guy! He always has something witty to say and it will usually make you laugh. These days, he has gone to calling himself: Super-Fast Garrett, Spiderman Garrett, Batman Garrett or Superman Garrett. Can you see a running theme here? In keeping with the theme, Garrett received all hero related gifts this year. Among the favorites are his Spiderman costume courtesy of Aunt Jessica, Uncle Jeremy and cousin Morgan, his super hero set from Meemo and Papa and his batcave from his brother and sisters.

That pizza really hit the I am just going to sit back, relax and wait for some cake.
I'm tired of smiling, just cut the cake already! Is this good enough?

Superman cake that I spent hours creating. Destroyed in less than 5 minutes.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Time Sure Does Fly!

Nine days since my last blog post. Better than the 2 month drought though. We've been easing into the new homeschooling year. Today, Emily started rhyming words all on her own. This was a pleasant surprise as she had struggled with rhyming in public school. One of the greatest "tools" for homeschooling her has become apparent by accident. She loves to use a magna-doodle to do her spelling and math. I still have to make her do work sheets so we'll have something to put in her portfolio, but the majority of her work is done on a magna-doodle. Hey, whatever works! ----That's my teaching philophosy.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


It has been over 2 months since my last entry! Bad, bad Christi. So much has happened in that time. We went to Texas at the end of July/beginning of August. And just two weeks ago our faithful computer finally gave out on us. I will have to take some time soon to update everyone on the trip to Texas and the following weeks, but for now I have to make this short. I did want to mention that Anna Jaye turned 6 months on on 9-10-09. I've included a few pics of the big day. The first one is my absolute favorite picture of her so far:

Monday, June 1, 2009

Smiles and a New/Old Chair

You should all know that I have changed the settings to this blog. Now anyone can leave a comment whether or not they have a google account. The only condition is entering a security word (provided at the time of the comment). This is to prevent spammers from leaving comments. So, if you are reading this, please let me know. I love to hear from people!

Anna has been smiling for a couple of weeks now, but I haven't been able to capture them on camera until today. First, the batteries were dead. Then I would get her to smile, only to have the red light before the flash irritate her. I fiddled with ways to make it work and finally succeeded today. Here are the results:

Trying for a smile..................

Almost got it.........................

There it is!!!

Hey, I could get used to this!

A few days ago, I stopped in at Goodwill to look around. I do this periodically because you never know what you may find. This time I was actually looking for something I could work out in. No sense in spending lots of money on clothes in my current size when I don't plan on being this way for long. I did find a pair of shorts and a shirt that will work for now. I also found this:

I love this chair! I walked into Goodwill and it was sitting at the front of the store. I sat in it for about 5 seconds before I decided it had to be mine. It may not look it, but this chair is very comfortable. I have been wanting a reading chair for awhile now and this one will do nicely. It will have to be reupholstered sometime soon, but until then I can get a cover for it. At any rate, it was a steal at $5.00! Now I just have to find a place to put it other than the front hall......

Thursday, May 28, 2009

My Uncle Ken

My Uncle Ken passed away on Saturday, May 23, 2009 at the age of 63. His passing was very unexpected and our family is dealing with the shock and grief. Services are being held on Friday. I cannot be there so I hope that this blog post will somehow stand in my absence. I want to remember Ken and do so in a way that will honor him.
These are some of my memories:
Ken and his family moved from Texas to California when I was just a little kid so he was not a part of my everyday life like most of the rest of the family. However, the distance did not diminish his presence. I clearly remember gathering at my Granny's house on Christmas Eve and opening packages that came from "California". There was always great excitement for these gifts because even though Ken and his family lived so far away, they always knew the perfect gift for the person who's name they had drawn. I still have a doll that Ken's son sent me one Christmas. The doll's name is "Junior" and now Emily plays with him. And every Christmas Eve while we all together, we could expect a call from Ken.
When I was seven, my family took a vacation from Texas, through New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, California, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and back home. While we were in California, we stayed with Ken and his family. I was so excited to stay at their house because they had 2 stories. Somehow, I thought it would feel different to sleep upstairs. LOL. We did lots of neat things while we were there; we all went to Disneyland and panning for gold. But one day, Ken wanted to show my dad a house he was building for a doctor. Being the curious child that I was, I tagged along. Hand in hand with my dad, Ken showed us around this magnificent house he was building. Even then, at the age of seven, I knew he had some real talent and skill.
I didn't see my Uncle Ken again until six years later. All of his siblings and their families (including me!) met up with Ken and his family in Las Vegas. I don't remember much of the adults during this trip. (Hey, I was a newly minted teenager and I was having too much fun hanging out with all the cousins!) But I have this image in my head of Ken standing outside the hotel, near the valets with a camera around his neck and a big grin on his face. I know by this image that he loved being surrounded by family.
During his time in California, Ken and my dad would make wagers on the San Francisco 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys. It's a random memory, but one that made my dad smile.
A few years ago, Ken and his wife, Norma, moved to Texas. I had already moved to the Carolinas by that time so I still missed being a part of the everyday life of our extended family. However, every time I saw Ken on my return trips I was welcomed with a big hug like I have never been away.
Some final thoughts:
Because we lived so far away from each other during most of my life, I didn't get to know my Uncle Ken in an everyday manner. Still, he was a legend within our family. I grew up hearing tales of when he and my dad and their sisters were little. I heard of his great service to our country during Vietnam. I heard about his three tours of duty and the same number of purple hearts he received. I also heard of how he drove all night once to save my dad, but you'll have to ask my dad about that.
More than a legend though, my uncle Ken was a good man that loved his family and his friends. He always had a ready laugh and a good comforting hug for you. He was not an idle man and even if he was still, you could almost see his brain working. I know all that knew him and loved him will miss him, including this long-distance niece.

Friday, May 15, 2009


Promted by a thread online, I decided to weigh and measure the three oldest kids today. Anna Jaye just went to the doctor for her 2 month check-up on Wednesday so I already knew her stats.

age: 8 years, 3 months and 23 days
height: 4 ft, 4.5 inches (52.5 in)
weight: 74 lbs.

age: 3 years, 7 months and 2 days
height: 3 ft, 2.75 inches (38.75 in)
weight: 38 lbs

age: 2 years, 1 month and 6 days
height: 2 ft, 9 inches (33 in)
weight: 27 lbs

age: 2 months, 5 days
height: 21.5 inches
weight: 8 lbs. 6 oz

I can't believe how tall Emily is getting! She has grown an inch since January and before that she grew 1.5 inches from Oct-Jan. My little girl is fast approaching the dreaded "tween" years. Lord, help us all.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Been too long since the last update.

I realize I haven't updated my blog in over two weeks! Bad, Christi, bad! Things have been a little crazy around here and I haven't had the time to be on the computer much. So here is an update on everyone:

Anna Jaye
We went and had her tested for kidney reflux. The test was not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. She did really well considering she had a catheter placed and several x-rays taken. We immediately got results and Anna does have kidney reflux. Hers is fairly mild and she has been placed on maintenance antibiotics everyday for as long as she has the reflux. Luckily, Anna's doctor prescribed her a kind that I can pick up for free at a local pharmacy. We have insurance, but $20 co-pays can add up very quickly.

Ever since she got out of the hospital, we have also been dealing with weight issues. Anna dropped back down to her birth weight. She's gotten longer, but leaner. Poor little baby! So now I am pumping in addition to nursing her. We're trying to measure at least 1/3 of her daily intake. It was slow starting, but she has gained 6 oz since Friday.

He's finally starting to talk! He is just saying a few words, but progress is progress. Austin is calling me "daddy" at the moment, but I hope he will change to "mommy" soon. He is also saying: I, mine, yes, and no. I had Garrett tested by this point for not talking, but this time around I am trying to take it easy and let him go at his own pace.

Well, Garrett is Garrett and he's becoming Mr. Independent. In a way this is a good thing. Garrett is starting to really potty train and all on his own. Independence is also a bad thing. It means he always wants his way. He knows his alphabet and has now moved on to writing it (as well as he can). There is no doubt about it now, the boy is left handed.

She is getting so tall and grown-up looking! I barely have to lean down to give her a hug now. The top of her head hits me mid-chest! We've been working on rhyming words lately and I think she is picking it up. I also think I can now call her a beginner-reader. She has been reading some very simple books all by herself. They only have one or two words per page, but I am pretty proud!

I am so excited to be only a few pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight! I still have a bit to go to get rid of the extra weight put on by Garrett and Austin too, but I am happy to be making this much progress. Tomorrow I am supposed to go to the Y so I can get on a fitness program. Might as well use that membership for something!

I have also been working on Anna's birth announcements. I have 10 completely done, but I have that many more to finish. I hope to get them all mailed by the end of the week. Which reminds me, I need to email her photograph for the paper.

He's being as sweet as ever. He took Garrett with him to the grocery store Sunday and they brought me home some chocolate. For once he didn't go over board at the store and only bought what we needed (aside from the chocolate)!

So that's it for today's update. I hope to get some new pics up soon!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Happy Birthday Austin!

I was at the hospital with Anna on Austin's birthday, so we celebrated it this Monday. Here are some pics for you to enjoy. Yes, I made this cake too.


Easter was an absolutely beautiful day at our house this year. This was especially nice considering there were tornadoes in the area the day before. Easter morning started off with Emily waking and asking if the Easter Bunny had come during the night. Of course he (she?) had so Emily had to go through her bucket first before waking up her brothers. The kids mostly enjoyed the chocolate best, followed by the rubber dinosaurs. Austin thought the chocolate was better with the foil wrappers on.

We had a good day mostly hanging around inside the house. The Easter Bunny didn't return until that evening to hide eggs in the front yard. He was very considerate and thought it was best to let the ground dry as much as possible. The kids got dressed in their new outfits for the egg hunting and so I could attempt, once again, to get a photo of all of them together. Silly me, I obviously still hadn't learned my lesson from the Christmas photo fiasco. And we have another kid to add to the mix. However, I was able to get some nice individual photos of my crew.

Here is Anna Jaye in her pretty Easter dress. I was so happy to find one small enough to fit her. I think she looks so adorable in it.
Austin hasn't quite figured out the timing of his smile to match the delay on my camera. That's ok though. Doesn't he look handsome?

Garrett has begun to correct my style of getting them to ham for the camera. You can't hear it here, but he's trying to tell me to tell him to say Ironman, not Spiderman. I love to dress Austin and Garrett in matching clothes. I'll keep it up as long as they'll let me.
I swear Emily is growing up on me everyday. She's holding the gold wrapper off of one of the mini Hershey bars. She claims it is a golden ticker a la Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Her imagination was probably helped along by us watching the movie right before hunting for eggs.

One last picture to share. I thought this was an incredibly sweet shot of Mark and Anna.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Anna Jaye's Hospital Stay

The good news is that Anna is doing well and we are home. The bad news is Anna had to spend two nights in the hospital.

It all started Tuesday night when I noticed some pink urine in her diaper. The next morning it was a little more concerning so I scheduled an appointment with her pediatrician for 12 o'clock. We (Anna and I) went to the appointment, diapers in hand. The doctor looked at them and ordered a urine sample. Obviously Anna is too small to pee in a cup, so the nurse had to cath her. I was dreading this as Emily had it done when she was a baby and it was very traumatic. However, this time it was much better. We waited around for the results. When the doc came back in, he sat down and told me that Anna had tested positive for a kidney infection. Then he said that since she was so young, this was not something that was treated as an outpatient. You could have knocked me over with a feather!

An hour later we were checking into the children's hospital. I was worried, but I wasn't frantic. Anna seemed to be her usual self and no fever so I knew that being in the hospital was more of a precautionary thing. Little babies can take a turn for the worse rather quickly. The nurse assigned to us was a total gem. She was very nice to both me and Anna. She put in an I.V. lock on Anna's ankle and antibiotics were started every 8 hours. Mostly Anna and I sat around watching TV and eating. We were waiting for when a friend could come stay with Anna so I could run home and get a few things and have Mark bring me back to the hospital. I had the van with me and all he had was his motorcycle at home. I know it must have been hard on him to be at home while we were at the hospital.

Anyway, Mark and the other kids brought me back to the hospital and I spent the first night with Anna. The next morning our doctor came by to check on her. She still wasn't running a fever and was handling the medicine well. They still wanted to find the source of the infection so we went for a renal (kidney) ultrasound. Mostly it came back ok. Anna does have some dilation of the ureters, but that could be completely normal. They'll want to follow her until they close. So we'll be going for another ultrasound in 3-6 months. They also collected another urine sample (with a bag this time) for another culture. It was this test that in the end would determine if we could go home on Friday or not.

Friday morning we got the news that the second culture was good so we could leave by lunch. Because the first culture was positive for the infection, we did go home with a prescription for another antibiotic. We follow up with the pediatrician this Friday and he'll want to schedule one more test for Anna. He wants to do a VCUG. I forgot what it stands for, but basically they are going to check and see if she has kidney reflux. Thankfully this will be done as an outpatient. If she does have it, she'll have to go on preventive antibiotics. If she doesn't have it, I don't know at this point if they will do anything else.

This past week just seems so surreal. We have four kids and she is the first to be admitted to the hospital. She wasn't even acting sick, but I knew something was wrong (just not hospital wrong). I was so unprepared to spend two nights there. But everything is good right now. Anna is taking the medicine like a champ. I was disappointed that one of those days was Austin's birthday. He turned two on Thursday. Luckily, he is young enough not to know it was his birthday. We're having his cake and presents on Monday. I'll have to blog and post pictures after.

In the meantime, here are some pics of Anna in the hospital:

Here she is sleeping. You can see the antibiotic machine in the lower left corner:

This is a close-up of her ankle I.V. lock:
Here she is just lying in bed. It was nice to be able to pick her up whenever I wanted and to feed her whenever she wanted. The way the I.V. was set up, Anna was completely portable.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Children's Consignment Sale and Strange Coincidence

On Saturday I went to a children's consignment sale. I was selling a few things, but this was a buying trip. As I was driving to town I was thinking about how I was a little homesick for my homestate of Texas. It has been a year since I last got to visit. The longest I have ever been away is 15 months and it looks like it will be that long again. We are planning a family vacation sometime this summer, but the details haven't been worked out. So I get to the sale and as I am looking through the boys' section I see these:
They will be the perfect size for Garrett by October and then Austin can wear them the next year. I have the missing concho--it came off when Emily was trying them on for size. lol I still can't believe I found a vest embellished with Texas in South Carolina! It makes me think of the movie Fools Rush In where it is mentioned that there are signs everywhere. I don't know if finding the chaps and vest is exactly a sign or more of a coincidence, but they did make me feel better. And they are darn cute, to boot!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Baby photos continued

Traditional newborn photo:
The Karate chop, "Hiya":

And just for fun, an incredibly cute photo of Garrett:

Picking the perfect photo

During the past two days/nights I have been taking many photos of Anna Jaye. I'm trying to capture the perfect image to send out in her birth announcements. Out of the near 40 pics I have taken, I have narrowed it down to 6. She is just too darn precious to make this easy on me. I've put the first four choices in this post, the other 2 will have to go in the next one as there is not enough room in one post for them all.

My bright-eyed girl:
The bubble grin:

Solemn expression:

Sleepy Grin:

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Anna Jaye's Birth Story

As promised, here is Anna's birth story:

My water first started to leak on Sunday, March 8th at about 4:40 in the morning. I was very excited thinking it wouldn’t be long now. All three of my other kids were born within 1.5 hours of my water breaking. However, I didn’t take into account that Little Miss had been stubborn so far in that I had carried her longer already than her siblings and that with them I had a great big gush of water. This time around all I had were little trickles and only when I changed positions. I called my midwife around 9:30AM to let her know that my water had broken, but that I wasn’t having very strong contractions. She told me to call back if things started to get going.

By that night I was getting optimistic that real labor had begun. Unfortunately, I was proven wrong once again. As March 8th left and March 9th began, the 20 hour mark for my water leaking had come and gone. At this point I was seriously beginning to worry. I had heard and read that a baby needs to be delivered within 24 hours of the sack breaking. My midwife however, was not concerned. It was hard to trust her and not rush to the hospital. I have always had OB care before and with it a sense of urgency. Approximately 24 hours after my water began to leak, it really broke in two big gushes. So there I was in the wee hours of March 9th knowing it couldn’t be long now! Or so I thought….

I called my midwife again that morning, still with very few contractions. She wanted to see me at 3, but we didn’t make it until almost 4. When we got there, she checked me and said I was 4 cm dilated. She also said she could still feel a bag of waters! I couldn’t believe I had lost so much water and still had a bag full! I had weighed myself when I got to her office and I had already lost 7 lbs! A gallon of water weighs 8 lbs. We discussed a plan of action and I knew now I had until 3 or 4 AM to have this baby or I would need to go to the hospital. She started the “clock” from my second breakage because the first was a slow leak.

The plan was for me to take a liquid herbal supplement once an hour, for Mark to take me to eat and then to walk in the local park. We followed her instructions and headed to Ruby Tuesdays for an early supper. I had a Swiss and mushroom burger. I took my second dose of the herbs and we went walking until the park closed at 9PM. We took the van through a carwash, went to Baskin Robins and headed to the birth center about 9:45PM.

When we arrived I was having some contractions and they were regular, but certainly not strong enough to have a baby. At my last appointment, there was an apprentice midwife named Karen observing. I felt a connection to her so I had asked if she could be there and she was! Karen is also a doula and she acted as one throughout my labor and delivery. She was a great big help and allowed Mark to focus on me and not on getting the baby out.

I forget at what times things happened now, only the order. Mark, Karen and I went walking again in the halls. Then I used the squatting bar and the birthing ball to try and get things going. These things combined made my contractions more intense, which means they were definitely painful. For the most part I was able to deal with them fairly well. I know at one point I said something about not wanting to this anymore and that my body wanted to run away from the pain. Karen reminded me that I could do this. It was then that I made a comment about being Yoda and that the force was with me.

I knew I was getting very close to the end and I asked my midwife to check me. She was hesitant at first thinking I wasn’t in transition because I don’t get silent like most women do. She did check me though and I was 7cm! In about 2 hours I had dilated 3cm and was moving ahead fairly quickly. She hopped into fast gear at that point and I was getting excited. Mom showed up about this time and I asked her to wait in the front until it was time for delivery.

I went back to the birthing room to continue with the contractions from hell. My midwife filled the tub while I paced, contracted and tried to use the bathroom. Finally the tub was filled and I was allowed to get in. Mom came into the room and Karen and Mark gathered around the outside of the tub. The good thing about the tub and water was that it slowed my contractions. They were as intense as ever, but I had a short break in between them now.

(I'm looking at my great, big marshmallow feet here)

Sometime around 1:30AM I felt the first urges to push. The first push was a hurdle. To me it is a little unnatural to push in water. It’s like telling someone to pee in the pool. I got over it pretty quick though with Mark and Karen’s help. I should pause here for a minute and admit that at times during the pushing phase I wasn’t very nice. I distinctly remember alternately telling those with cameras to stop taking pictures and then changing my mind and telling them to take pics. My eyes were closed most of the time and the flashes were taking my focus away, but then I wanted the moments captured. I also remember telling everyone in the room to hush. I don’t think I did, but I may have also used the words, “shut up”.

Then during the second push, I heard them exclaim that they could see the head so I backed off the push. That’s when they told me her head went back in! I said, “Don’t tell me that!” Two more pushes and out her head came with me trying to breathe through the rest of the contraction before pushing out her body with the next one. Anna Jaye was born at 1:55AM in the water and with a piece of the caul (water sack) still on her head. Most surprising was that she was born with red hair, like me!
They wrapped her in a blanket while she was still attached to me. The midwife was letting her cord finish pulsing before tying it off. My mom got to cut the cord. Then the midwife cleaned me up while I was still in the tub. This is important because it is the first time I didn’t immediately feel like I had to take a shower after a birth! My placenta came out with absolutely no problems, unlike last time when it had to be scraped out. I did have the shakes pretty bad at this point. Once I got out of the tub and into the bed though, they went away. The electric blanket may have been some help.

I only had one little tear and that was from an old scar from one of the boys. It only took a little glue to seal it again. Anna fed for just a bit and I already had milk! They weighed her after and she was 8 lbs even. She was 21.5 inches long. By 4:30 AM we were on our way home! This was so much better than being held hostage at the hospital. My midwife came over that night to check on us, so I still felt taken care of. Anna is doing well and other than a lack of sleep, so am I. The only pain I have is muscle pain in my back, legs and tummy. Of course I have the lovely after pains to deal with, but they should be disappearing pretty soon. She’s beautiful and she’s ours so a little pain is a small price to pay.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

She's Here!

Welcome to the World, Anna Jaye!!!

Date: March 10, 2009
Time: 1:55 AM
Weight: 8 pounds even.
Length: 21.5 inches
Hair color: RED!

I'll have to post her Birth Story later. Until then, here are a few pics!

Monday, March 2, 2009


How we started the day.

Sunrise over the snow.
Emily very happy about the snow.

Garrett's first real snow. Took over three years, but it finally came!

Austin didn't quite know what to make of all that white stuff.