Tuesday, December 30, 2014

December Happenings

I love having my phone with me every where because I take pictures every where. That gorgeous full moon over the snow capped mountains just had to be captured. In early December, the weather cooled down and snow covered the mountains.

In the fourth grade, they put together a whole report on a Utah county and then parents come in and walk around while the kids give you a tour of the county by using their poster. Shelby had Emery county and we both learned a lot about that little piece of Utah.

When we were down in Vegas, my mom gave my a Mickey Mouse waffle maker. She has had one for years and years and years and I've always wanted one. This new one is not the same as my mom's but it's a pretty fun replacement that we have loved using.

I found this super easy peanut butter cookie recipe on Pinterest and Soren helped me make the first batch. It was so nice spending some one on one time with my baby before he's no longer the baby.

The last week of school before Winter Break was so full. We were very busy, mostly with school choir concerts. All of the kids sangs songs with their classes during the school day and then one of the nights Stryder and Shelby performed. Shelby was even part of a dance number and then sang in the choir.

Stryder was one of the only boys in the choir. Luckily, that never seemed to bother him and he even got to play the ukulele for one of the songs. I'm so proud of my boys because after the concert they were both two of the first to start helping with clean up. Now school has been out for over a week and the laziness has been much needed.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Another Trip to Vegas, Thanksgiving, and an Anniversary

The weekend before Thanksgiving, we made a trip down to Vegas. It was so nice to see and spend time with my family again. 
We met this pretty girl for the first time. She was so tiny and has the smallest little features. I told her she needed to put on some more weight or Samuel was going to be bigger than her when he was born ;).

My mom and sisters spoiled me and threw me a teal and orange Finding Nemo baby shower. It was so great to visit and see so many of my Henderson friends. I miss those ladies!

And we did a lot of hanging out with this sweet face and other cousins. We had a really great time together but it was really hard for me to say goodbye knowing it would be a longer time before we saw them again and miss being together for the Holidays.

Thanksgiving this year was held here in Eagle Mountain. We had 33 for dinner but it went surprisingly very smooth. The food was good, the company was great and it was an all around good day. I made the kids take a picture that morning with Sam to express exactly what we were most grateful for. It has been a really long road getting him here and life has been extremely hard lately. Ben was laid off from Gerber due to lack of work for the winter back in October. We are currently on unemployment and barely scraping by but we still have so so much to be thankful for. Some days it's are to find the gratitude but on others if washes over me again and again.We still struggle with knowing exactly why the Lord encouraged us North but we keep on counting our blessings and pray things will work out.

That Saturday after Thanksgiving, Ben's mom put in a special request. She realized that for the first time in who knows how long, every single member of her family was going to be in the same place and she wanted a picture. This picture has 2 parents, 8 siblings, 8 spouses (or soon to be), and 27 grand kids for a total of 45 people and will be outdated in less than 6 weeks. But at least for that moment in time, she captured all of us together and that is quite an accomplishment.

And then to wrap up a great weekend, Ben and I went out on a much needed date for our 12th Anniversary. It's kind of hard to believe that we've been married for 12 years when it seems like he has been a part of my life forever. I love that man so much and even though times are rough right now, I know we will make it through because we have each other.

Monday, November 17, 2014

A Decade Old

This gorgeous girl is 10! I can't believe that my little chubby dark haired baby is now 10. Her birthday was spent quietly at home but she was happy to be in Utah since she has not had a birthday in Utah since the day she was born. Utah also treated her to some snow on her birthday.

This amazing girl has begun to blossom into a beautiful young woman. She still continues to excel in school and I'm grateful for her teacher who constantly tries to keep this girl challenged. She is participating in a school Christmas choir with Stryder and she's also joined an after school dance group. I'm hoping the dance group will help her with her coordination. She has grown almost 6 inches over the past year and most of that height is in her legs. They are so long and awkward these days. According to our growth chart she is now 5ft 1in and I think still growing. None of her pants fit her from last year and it's not because they are too short (even though she does have that problem with a few pairs), they are all too big. As she's stretched out, she's become quite the skinny-mini. 

Shelby is so artistic and creative and loves to play school and draw and color. She's unfortunately also become a serious drama queen and I can see the hormonal teenager coming out in her every so often. Shelby and I often butt heads and I'm easily annoyed by her little tween antics but I'm so very grateful to have her as my daughter. We are both so excited for Little Brother to get here and I'm looking forward to her being my awesome helper. Oh Shelby Rae, we sure do love you and look forward to watching you continue to grow and amaze us over the next 10 years.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Hannah and I

Now that I've shared our fertility story I wanted to share little brother's name and why we chose it.
We were really struggling with coming up with a name this time around. Part of me didn't care if we used another S name or not but the other part was really bugged that we hadn't found an S name. And a lot of our family on both sides were pretty adamant that we use an S name. Well one morning a couple weeks ago, I came to Ben and said that we NEEDED to pick a name, it was driving me nuts to not have a name picked out. I was so concerned that if anything were to happen to him and he needed a quick name and blessing I didn't want us wasting our time deciding on a name. So Ben suggested Sam. Now Sam was a name we had talked about way back months ago but I didn't love it and felt it was a little to plain compared to our other boys. But out of curiosity I looked up the meaning of Samuel...

The name Samuel is an American baby name. In American the meaning of the name Samuel is: Heard of God; asked of God. Hebrew Meaning: The name Samuel is a Hebrew baby name. In Hebrew the meaning of the name Samuel is: Name of God; asked of God; heard by God.

And it was like BAM! that's his name. Then we started reading more about Samuel's story in the Old Testament and I just couldn't contain the tears and the Spirit confirming to me over and over again that his name was Samuel. Hannah's story spoke to my very soul. In 1 Samuel 1:20 and 27 it says

 20 Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of the Lord.
 27 For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him:

We told the kids and they were so excited and talked about Samuel the Lamanite's story as well. Stryder wants to call him Sam-wise from Lord of the Rings, which is funny and appropriate. They are all so anxious for him to get here. His full name will be Samuel Teddy and I simply love it. Teddy is my grandpa Waters first name and I can't think of another man that I want to name my son after. I'm just so grateful for this little spirit who is joining our family soon and for the Lord finally answering my prayers. 

And just a little update, I had another ultrasound today to check his growth and he's measuring 11 days ahead and already just over 3 lbs. So it's no wonder I've been so uncomfortable, Samuel is a big baby :) Just about 10 more weeks till we get to meet our little miracle.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Our Miracle Journey

This is going to be a long post but it's important for me and my posterity that I write all of this down. It's been such a huge part of who I am and who our family is now. This is our journey through infertility to a miracle. After Soren was born and I was dealing with my blood clot, the doctors and Ben and I weren't sure if any more kids were in our future. But as the years went by I just couldn't get having another baby out of my brain. Ben and I talked about it so much it drove both of us crazy but we decided that we would check with my doctor to see if he would be ok with me going off the heavy duty blood thinner Warfarin and start trying for another baby. We were happily surprised that he agreed and on July 13th 2010 I had my IUD removed and the process started. Now my first three kids were born in three years and so we naturally assumed that it would take no time at all to get pregnant. So when October rolled around and nothing changed I went back to my obgyn and started clomid. Around the end of March early April 2011 I got a positive pregnancy test. We were so excited. I saw my obgyn who confirmed the pregnancy with another positive test and I went on my merry way. When all of Ben's family was in town before Easter, we did this big cute announcement and had everyone so happy. The next week I went to a perinatologist and they performed an ultrasound. I will never forget the pain and sadness I felt when they said that there was nothing there. I had a chemical pregnancy where my body was producing the right hormones but nothing was growing. We were devastated and telling my kids was probably one of the hardest moments of my life. We cried and were really sad for a couple days. My heart hurt but we kept at it hoping we would one day have that baby.

I eventually was prescribed metformin and another pill that blocked my high testosterone by a family doctor that ran tests on my thyroid and other things. Everything seemed normal aside from my high testosterone and it was presumed that I have PCOS or poly-cystic ovarian syndrome. It was scary to hear that diagnosis but we were slightly relieved to finally know what was wrong. This was during 2011-2012. We were slowly just getting more and more frustrated that nothing was happening when we had both felt so strongly that another spirit was waiting to join our family. I have to admit that there were times I went into a really dark place and was barely hanging on to my last shred of hope and it was really hard to see both of my sisters and several sisters-in-law getting pregnant. Of course we were so happy for them but it still felt like we were being forgotten. There's this song by Bryan White about wishing on someone else's star because everyone seems to be getting what I've been wishing for. I had lots of these moments.
We decided to make one last ditch effort and went to a fertility specialist in early 2013. Ben had to give a sample and they found him to have a slightly low sperm count and low testosterone but they didn't seem overly concerned with those results. Instead, they sent me to have two very invasive and extremely expensive tests. One confirmed that I had cysts all over my ovaries which went with my diagnosis of PCOS. While the other revealed nothing new. When I went in for results, the doctor basically told me that they couldn't find anything significantly wrong and so I was a good candidate for IVF. We were looking at another few thousand dollars. Now we had already spent a thousand dollars on the first tests and IVF wasn't even a guarantee. Plus for most of 2013 I was doing shots of lovenox because I got another blood clot. That was getting expensive and tiresome and we just weren't sure how much more we could take. In October of that year, Ben and I went to the temple. We were in a pretty stressful time with Ben having been laid off the month before and losing our insurance and just not being sure where life was going to take us. So we went to the temple in search of answers and I couldn't believe how strongly we just knew what to do. During the session it says to multiply and replenish the earth and find joy in your posterity. I realized that I was always so preoccupied with the multiply part but failed to find joy in my family right now. I was missing the now and couldn't just enjoy my three beautiful babies because I was obsessed with a baby I didn't even have. So with that we decided to stop trying and to just enjoy. I took my last shot in early December and just finding the joy. Joy was and is my word of 2014 and we moved forward.
With the start of the new year, I joined a biggest loser group with some women in the stake and started losing weight. We took the kids to Disneyland, Ben got a job offer and moved to Utah, and we just kept moving forward. By my birthday, I was down 37 lbs and Ben was down about 35 lbs. At this point, we were ready to move our family to Utah and see what the Lord had in store for us there. The kids started school, Ben kept working, and I continued working out. I fell in love with the trails in Eagle Mountain and was walking/jogging 7 miles some days. In May, I remember having a rough day while out walking and I was so frustrated that I couldn't get anymore pounds off. I was just 13 pounds away from my big goal and the scale was not moving. I had a trip to Vegas planned the first couple days of June and was so excited to head back home. I remember not feeling great and eating a lot of my mom's snacks. The first morning back in Utah I took a pregnancy test. I had taken one a few weeks earlier and it was negative but this one was positive.
We were kind of shocked. I was having a really hard time believing it and took three tests, all came back positive. I found an obgyn and went in for my first appointment. I was scared to death that is was another chemical pregnancy and made myself sick stressing over it. Ben gave me a priesthood blessing the night before and we said a very heartfelt prayer before we went in. We loved the nurses and doctor and got another positive test. Luckily, we had given them some of our background and so they did a dating ultrasound for us right then and there to confirm the pregnancy.
That is our little peanut at 7 weeks along. There were a lot of tears from both Ben and I and the nurses when we saw this little bug and saw the heart beating. We spread the word around to just our family and the loving responses were overwhelming. I know so many of our family members were praying and hoping for us so it was pretty exciting to share our news with everyone.
This is the peanut at 9 weeks after seeing the perinatologist. This is pretty much a high risk pregnancy since I'm protein S and C deficient so I'm taking 2 shots of lovenox a day. I'll be induced at 39 weeks after weeks of non-stress tests leading up to that point. Those first early weeks were brutal and I was super tired all the time and felt more sick than I had with my other three pregnancies but I still managed to never throw up. I just spent most of the early summer laying around. In August, we took the kids and went in for an elective gender ultrasound at 16 weeks. In the early part of this pregnancy it was just like Shelby's. I just knew for sure it was going to be a girl and our family would be nice and even and Shelby would be finally getting the little sister she had been praying for.
Boy, was I wrong! We are getting a little brother. Shelby didn't have the greatest reaction to the news and I kind of felt bad but she's over it now and we are so excited for his arrival.
This kid especially can't wait to be a big brother to this little brother. We are all so excited for this new addition to our family. Now I'd love to be able to say that our lives are great and perfect now that this prayer has been answered but it's not. I do know that the Lord hears and answers my prayers, obviously not in the time frame of my choosing, but He does answer them. I prayed a lot over the last 4 years for this miracle to come to my family and I may never know in this lifetime why it took so long but I know that He has kept me wrapped in His loving embrace through it all. Even during those times when I wanted to just give up and I was so mad at Him, He never once forgot me. Even now as we face some difficult times, He is aware of us. I'm still not sure where life is taking us or why we felt so strongly to uproot and move our family to Utah but I know we continue to push forward and reap the blessings.
On the left is our little brother at 20 weeks and on the right is my sister's little girl coming very soon. We went to Vegas to get a big load of our stuff and celebrate my sister and her new baby girl. Yes, my parents are getting three new grand babies is less than a year. Katie had Layla in March, Cheyenne is due to arrive this week and little brother will be here in January. What a wonderful time for my family!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Halloween 2014

Halloween this year was very laid back and low key. No truck or treats or ward parties, just good old fashioned trick or treating around the neighborhood.

But our neighborhood is awesome!! This family has been building this pirate ship in their front yard for most of the month of October. Every day on our way to school we would get so excited when they added more on to it. Then come Halloween day it was so rad! And they served homemade donuts. And to top if off, it's a family in our ward. Some houses did some creepy decorations that my kids are not fans of but all in all they had loads of fun and got just enough candy, like it's almost gone today enough. No tempting chocolate to give me horrible heartburn.

After trick or treating, we finished our night the only way you can on Halloween, watching Hocus Pocus. It was a pretty successful night and I was just so grateful that my kids were totally fine with reusing old costumes or putting together something simple last minute. It made this pregnant momma very happy since I only spent $1.00. And Halloween pictures are my favorite to edit and have fun with.

Shelby was so adorable as Rosie but was a little bummed that no one knew who she was most of the day at school. But I think she looked awesome!

Soren was my little Wizard in an old Jedi robe and hat from I don't even know where. But he was super happy.

And Stryder wore his Assassin's Creed outfit from last year that Ben made. But he had great reasoning...no one in Utah had seen him wear it before so it was like a brand new costume to them. Man I love this kid!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Their First Lagoon Trip

In September, Ben's work had a Lagoon Day. We got free tickets into the park and they provided a big lunch with a kid's raffle for prizes. It was such a fun day. We got there before the park opened and they rode 12 rides before lunch. This was Shelby and Soren's first time there and Stryder hadn't been since he was one so needless to say it was a whole new experince for them all. Stryder was not a fan of roller coasters until he went on the Bombora and then he at least tried several more coasters. Shelby was my little dare devil this trip and rode on more than the boys did. Ben has decided that his body can't handle all the spinning and flipping and constant motion of all the rides at Lagoon anymore. But that was just fine with the kids, they loved being able to go off on their own and ride the rides without an adult. Ben and I weren't too sure of it at first but we would just find a seat near the exit and the kids always found us. It was actually pretty awesome but still a little sad to see our kids so grown up. Hopefully next year's trip to Lagoon, I will be able to ride some rides ;)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Random Randomness

Here's a few pictures I wanted to share. 
The first is of my dog and cat checking out the neighbor cat who keeps hanging around. Out that window is where our door is now.

In August, I took Shelby up to Park City to see Bridgit Mendler perform a little concert. It was so fun doing something just the two of us.
While Shelby and I were at the concert, Ben and his brother were fixing his truck. We joked that Ben's truck was a transformer as he completely removed the bed to fix the fuel pump. I was so proud of him getting it all fixed without professional help.

We were walking to school one day and these cute boys happened to both be wearing white shirts and jeans. They are just such studs, I really kind of love my boys!

And speaking of my boys, I love how much Ben has been teaching them. They had so much fun helping Ben change the oil in his truck.

This is the before of my kitchen. The white lines on the walls are where Ben and Randall had to cut out the drywall for the electrician to rewire everything so we could have outlets and appliances.

 During... lower cabinets and counter tops but no sink or oven yet.

After...All the cabinets installed, sink in, and appliances all up and running. I'm kind of in love with it. We still have quite a bit of work to do down here in our little basement apartment but I can see it all coming together and it makes me so excited.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

First Day of School 2014-2015

The first day of school was crazy and rainy. But it was so nice to drive 2 minutes to school instead of 45 like I was doing at the end of last year. And it was so fun to still have cousins to go to school with. No one is in the same class this year but they see each other at lunch and recess and play all the time after school.

 They look a little sleepy but they were so excited to start school.

Every year I love taking pictures on the first day of school and comparing them to the last day. I am really grateful that our school still has 6th grade in the elementary school instead of the Jr. High. I feel like he's still so little for a great big Jr. High School but he's so jealous of all the friends he's talked to that have lockers now. So far, school is going great and they each like their teachers and continue to make friends. There's not much more this momma could ask for.

Arrow of Light

Back in July, Stryder earned his Arrow of Light in Cub Scouts and advanced to Boy Scouts. It was a really cool ceremony and Stryder felt pretty awesome being the center of attention.
I love my pin necklace that is filling up with pins. Soren is excited to add to it too.

Stryder rocked the Boy Scout motto and I was so proud of him because I had never once helped him memorize it. And it was pretty cool to have his Uncle Steve welcome him across the bridge into Boy Scouts.

I sure do love this boy of mine and so proud of him and the decisions he's making in his life.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Soren's Baptism Day

Well since June things have been pretty crazy around here. I spent a lot of my time not feeling good and really tired, sleeping as often as I could. Luckily by August, I was feeling much better and it was such a relief since our lives upturned a little bit. Toward the end of July we moved into our more permanent home here in Eagle Mountain. It was still quite dusty and a bit of a construction zone (and it still is actually) but it has so much more space than we had at Ben's brother's house. Also we wanted to baptize Soren in our ward that we would be living in for a longer time. It was a bit crazy getting everything ready but we managed to pull it all off and Soren had a great baptism day.
I snapped this picture while we waited for more family to arrive and I'm so glad I captured this special moment with just me and my Sor.

My handsome boys all in white. I'm so grateful Ben is such a worthy priesthood holder and has been able to bless and baptize all of our kids. It was such a great program with Grandpa Day giving the talk on baptism and Grandma Brown giving a talk on the Holy Ghost. Shelby and Stryder sang the primary song "Baptism" and the Spirit so just so strong the entire time. I think Soren could really feel it too.

Boy I sure do have a pretty amazing family! I'm so grateful for all the extended family that came out and supported us that day.
I still can't believe my little Snore is 8. He is such a good boy and is so dang loving. He loves his momma most of all ;). And I can't wait to see him take on the role of "Big Brother".

And I had to include this picture because it was one they took at school and I just loved it!