Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Update on Fetal Echo

Our update is pretty simple...the baby's heart is perfect. Although the heart didn't skip beats or beat prematurely while we were having the exam, the cardiologist evaluated it in every possible way and said that even if it continues to skip that we can continue on with our pregnancy without worry. We feel very blessed and know that Heavenly Father answers prayers. I am particularly grateful for the blessings of the temple and the whisperings of the Holy Ghost. While the last couple of weeks brought worry and stress, it also brought an opportunity for faith and reflection.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Ward Trunk or Treat Party

This year for Halloween, Carter has decided to again be Spiderman. Well, when we pulled out the dress up box to find Tay a costume...of course she wanted to be whatever Carter was! Good thing Carter was Spiderman when he was 11 months old and that the costume fits Tay! The trunk or treat party was fun and the kids were excited to see their friends and primary teachers all dressed up, too. We actually left before the trick or treating part of the party. One night of candy is enough for us this year. They will have to wait until Halloween to fill their bags with goodies! Of course they got to eat a couple of treats on the way home, though- we're not that mean!

Carter the Fire Firghter

Carter has finally started engaging in pretend play on his own. It doesn't happen all the time but when it does, it really makes me laugh. One morning he was pretending to be a fire fighter with his stuffed dog and of course they both needed gas masks. He was pretty frustrated for a while and couldn't find something that would work until he saw me unloading the dishwasher and then a light bulb when off in his little head. Notice in the picture how his dog also has a glass up to his snout and is sporting a red fireman's hat too.

Saying Goodbye

We finally had to say goodbye to a couple of favorite toys at our house. Carter has had his firetruck since he was 20 months or so and Tay got her "Tay mobile" last year for Christmas from Santa. These little cars have been tons of fun for our kids, especially since we have an entire level of hardwood floors. They were the only solution to making dinner without someone whining or standing at my feet. But in the past few months they both broke down and were no longer safe. So a couple of weeks ago we ALL said our goodbyes and when the kids weren't looking, I snuck them down to the trash can. The kids have gotten over them but I don't think I have. Making dinner will never be the same again!

Pumpkin Patch 2008

Last Saturday, we headed out to Hollins Farm- a real working farm out in the beautiful countryside of Virginia. They have pick-your-own pumpkins, tomatoes, peaches, apples, wild flowers, berries, and also sell organic beef and pork. Of course we couldn't leave the farm without a full peck of yummy organic apples!

It wasn't long after we arrived that Tay found her pumpkin...a tiny baby pumpkin. She carried it all through the patch while we hunted for the others. She is very proud of it and keeps it in her bedroom. I love hearing her say the word pumpkin...she says "punkin" and it sounds sooo sweet.

The kids were excited to take a ride on the pumpkin cart back to the weighing station.
The patch was a little hilly and their little legs got pretty tired.... so Daddy to the rescue!

Here is Carter, just taking in the crisp autumn air. He was really funny this year trying to find "his" pumpkin. He inspected MANY pumpkins, trapezed all over the patch, and changed his mind several times before finding the right one.

I think this is the first picture of all four of us in FOREVER.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Heart Ache

Well the little turkey inside of me is already giving his/her mom and dad a headache...or maybe I should say heart ache! Last week when our midwife was checking the baby's heart beat, the heart beat was skipping all over the place. The beats per minute was normal but the rhythm was not even close to normal. Not good! So this week we had an appointment with an OB who confirmed that the baby had a heart arrhythmia. She only told us what we already knew but did do a very quick (like two minute) sono of the heart that could show us that it did have 4 chambers. She gave us a referral (which is why we were there) to see a pediatric cardiologist for a fetal echocardiogram (an indepth ultrasound study of the heart). As far as we know at this point is that the heart is only skipping beats and most babies in utero grow out of it by the end of the pregnancy or soon after birth. Good news! Certainly there is a percentage of babies where it doesn't correct itself. We are praying that what the baby is experiencing is really that simple and hoping for the best. I think we are both realistic about the potential of a more dangerous situation though. We really don't know anything more than that at this point but will keep you all updated after our appointment next week.

P.S. We are not finding out the sex of the baby but my suspicion is that it is a boy. Drew & Carter want a girl and Tay has no comment. Also, for those who have asked, our due date is in February.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Land of the Living

Yes, we are alive for all of you who thought our family dropped off the face of the earth. I have finally updated our blog with some posts and pictures about our last few months. It may make more sense to scroll down all the way to July and read from there. Anyway, blogging just hasn’t been a priority for me. Sorry to keep you all in suspense (not that our lives are that exciting anyway)! We hope you are enjoying the fall! October is our favorite month here in Virginia so we are loving the cool weather and beautiful scenery.

*Just a disclaimer on all of the pictures...we are having battery issues with our good camera so most of the pictures posted from this summer and fall are from our back up camera. I guess what matters is that we have pictures, not necessarily the quality of them. ☺

Random Pictures

Carter at the county fair on his first ride and Tay sucking down a giant slushy!

Tay loved riding the merrry-go-round!

Carter and his hamster, Hammy.

Tay loves to draw. Here she is at IHOP in Virginia Beach.

Here are two pictures of Tay after naps. She is slow to wake up and can be
rather grumpy on some days. It usually takes some mommy magic,
a baby or two, and food for her to come around.

Carter and our neighbor, Neil. Don't you love his "motorcyle" gloves and sunglasses?!

I am so glad these two play as much as they do.

Columbus Day Dates

Drew took a floating holiday on Monday, which was much needed for everyone. We got a couple of things done around the house and went on special dates our kids. Drew took Tay with him to run errands while Carter and I went to lunch. I was craving a fat cheeseburger and a conversation with my big boy, so off we went to Red Robin (Carter’s pick, of course!). Carter was thrilled to get his very own freckle lemonade with his lunch. The thrilling part was that he didn’t have to share! As we drove away, I told Carter that my favorite part of lunch was having time with just him. He replied, “My favorite part of lunch was getting a orange balloon”. Oh the honesty of a 4 year old! After lunch we headed to our favorite thrift store where Carter found a brand new lunch box for preschool. Good find, Carter!

Funny Taylor Story

Drew’s grandma passed away in August (see below) and a memorial service was held for her in Virginia although she was buried in Arizona. I decided to wear nice slacks to the service instead of Sunday dress since after all- it was a memorial service, not sacrament meeting (you should have seen the disapproving looks I got!). So there I was, probably looking a little green from feeling sick, wearing pants, with my extremely tired kids (it was way past their bed time) when Tay leaked through her diaper…her jumper dress and onesie were wet and I didn’t have a change of clothes for her. Tay doesn’t like being wet and I knew it wouldn’t be too long before she would be pulling at her clothes and whining (or kicking and screaming). Drew was busy playing the organ for the meeting and the piano for the special musical numbers. With help from Grandma Heidi, I was doing my best to keep the kids happy and quiet. With the exception of a 4 year old second cousin to Drew, who spent the entire meeting in the hall, my children were the only little kids present. Ok- just setting the scene for you all! So what is a mom to do? I quickly laid her down on the bench, changed her diaper at warp speed and with only the skill a mother knows, slipped off her onesie without even taking her jumper off. Fhew! I am good! But not good enough because Tay then decides that if she can’t wear the onesie, she can’t wear ANYTHING. A tantrum ensued…. and I decided to pick my battle. So there I was, in a front pew of the chapel, many spectators behind us, with the only kids in a very quiet grown up setting and my very blond little, wild haired (her unhappiness for barrettes or anything hair related deserves its own post), naked 2 year old is squealing with delight because she had “won”. Even after taking her to the foyer, no amount of convincing would get an article of clothing back onto her little 22 pound body. Luckily I found the experience funnier than I did stressful. It reminded me of the time at church when Carter was literally doing summersaults across the bench we were sitting on while I had my hands full with a fussy newborn. It was definitely one of those times when I wished I had more arms. Why does Drew always seem to be playing the organ when things like this tend to occur? ☺

Primary Program 2008

This year’s primary program was awesome! My visiting teaching companion is the primary president and she and her presidency did a wonderful job of putting it together. The theme of the program was “I am a Child of God”. This year Carter is in the CTR-5 class (Choose the Right & 5 for five year olds). Their part in the program was to stand up to the microphone with a picture they drew of something they are grateful and say “I am grateful for __________”. Some of the kids in his class did great, others were too shy and the teacher spoke for them. Carter stood up at the pulpit with a huge smile on his face, picture in hand, and froze. Because he had a giant grin plastered across his face, his teacher thought he was going start talking. After whispering in his ear what he needed to say for the third time and Carter still standing there smiling and holding his picture, Sister Neaufer finally said into the microphone “I am grateful for my motorcycle”. Maybe you had to be there but it was hilarious. Everyone in the audience was smiling back at him and I had several people come up to me afterwards and say that his happy face was the highlight of the program. All week long we reminded him not to talk too loud, too soft, or too silly into the microphone. I never thought he would freeze!

So, How Are You Feeling?

I get this question all the time and if you don’t know what I am referring to…please scroll down. Sometimes I appreciate being asked and but other times it gets annoying, especially when it comes from people who are only trying to make conversation.

Well, anyway…how am I feeling? Well, I don’t throw up all day everyday anymore and luckily haven’t for a few weeks. By half way through, I don’t consider myself having hyperemesis any more but regular morning sickness, which is very manageable. I have actually gained back the weight I lost, plus some, which is good. It took me a lot longer to do that when prego with Tay. I can do what I want, eat what I want, etc. I do struggle with hypoglycemia like I did with my other babies but as long as I keep that in check, I am fine. I am even doing prenatal yoga a few times a week. Other than being absolutely exhausted (I am seriously useless after 8 pm every night) and needing all the help I can get from Drew, this is as good as it gets for me and my pregnancies. So I guess I am actually feeling pretty good!

I am already 23 weeks along but honestly I look and feel about 30. Ugh. Drew has been able to feel the baby moving for a couple of weeks now, which is really fun. I have been feeling the baby for about 10 weeks so I am glad I am no longer the only one. I love when my pregnancies become more than just me with a big belly to those I love the most. Carter is pretty anxious to feel the baby as well but can’t seem to sit still long enough despite our baby’s constant karate kicks. My belly button must look like a bulls eye from in utero. Tay however looks at us like we have two heads when we suggest that my growing belly is really a baby. I think she is coming around though. She seems more convinced when Carter shows interest.

An Update on Taylor Tot

Oh my, where do I even begin with this little girl? She is definitely 2! Talk about sugar and spice- fire and ice! She has become the most stubborn little toddler there ever was. I can’t even describe to you all the fireworks that can come out of her little frame. Her favorite thing to do is yell at or try to boss around Carter which as you can imagine doesn’t go over well with a soon to be 5 year old! There is no amount of redirecting, distracting, song singing, positive momminess, etc. that can help her out of a full-blown tantrum- NOTHING but waiting it out works. No that is not true- having Daddy around is usually helpful- so if my little whistling Pete goes off any time after 6:30 or on the weekend, its all good. Serenity now!

But the other part of being two years old is being absolutely adorable and a lot of fun, and Tay is both. While the first two weeks of Carter being at preschool were rather tough (I couldn’t wait for him to come home each day because Tay was a complete mess without him), we are now enjoying our time alone together. I try really hard to balance running errands and picking up the house with pure Mommy and Tay time. It is easy to forget what your kids are like until they are by themselves. Tay is such a funny and clever little girl. I am really grateful for this special time we have together each week. I am discovering new things about her all the time. The funniest is how she wants to play with Carter’s special toys since he is not home to get mad at her or take them away. So instead of playing with her babies she can usually be found playing with motorcycles and race cars.

She always wears her backpack when we drop Carter off at preschool.

Silliness with Carter

September: First Day of School Preschool

This year Carter is attending our community preschool two mornings a week. When we attended the open house to meet his teachers and classmates, he was surprisingly shy. Carter shy? Yes, I know it is hard to imagine. But on the first day of preschool Carter was excited and got up extra early to get ready. But right before it was time to get in the car, he decided it would be more fun to stay home and ride his bike. That’s the Carter I know! He doesn’t talk a lot about his mornings at preschool but I am confident that he is having a good time in Ms. Laurette’s class. I have noticed some great changes in Carter since school started and really happy that we made the decision to sign him up for the lottery at Arcola…. all of the preschools are on a lottery system here…you pay the deposit and cross your fingers that your child gets a spot.

September: A Trip to the Big Apple

For my birthday in March, Drew surprised me with tickets to the women’s finals of the U.S. Open! We have both been really excited for our little weekend getaway ever since it was planned. Finding out I was pregnant did put a damper on our plans, making us worried that I wouldn’t be up to the trip but only time would tell. We took a bus up to New York on a Friday afternoon and returned Sunday afternoon- another very fast trip. Thankfully Drew’s mom agreed to watch the kids for us. The weekend actually didn’t go very well for me in terms of the pregnancy and we ended up needing to stay fairly close to our hotel. The worst of it was that we never were able to make it to the tennis match! The remnants of Hurricane Hannah blew up the east coast, postponing the match until Sunday at 9 pm- hours after our bus returned to D.C.’s Chinatown. There was no way we could pay for another night in Manhattan, get new bus tickets, and have Drew miss another day of work. But since we were staying in a sweet hotel, we were able to watch lots of tennis on a big screen plasma from our snuggly king size bed while it rained cats and dogs outside our window. We also rented a couple of movies, which was fun and got to sleep in while Grandma Heidi got up with our early risers at the crack of dawn. So, we didn’t get to do much touristy stuff due to me being sick and the torrential down pour. But we did go to the Broadway musical Wicked, which was just awesome! We loved it! We also walked around with our umbrellas as much as I was able to, and took in the atmosphere of Manhattan. I think in my single or childless days, I could live there and enjoy it but add three kids to the mix and even thinking about moving there makes my head spin. When we first arrived Friday afternoon, I soon had a headache from all of the noise. Everyone seemed like they were in a hurry, which I find rather stressful. Oh and top of that, what a stinky and dirty city! But by the end of our very quick two days, New York wasn’t so noisy and stressful. It was exciting and interesting (and dirty and stinky). I think Drew and I would could have had a lot of fun adventures had our trip been longer and I was feeling like myself. Hopefully there will be a next time.

Playing Outside, Our Carter Dilemma

We feel very blessed to live on a street with lots of little kids that Carter has fun with. They ride bikes together, play with balls, run around, and make lots of noise. Let’s just say our street is hopping around 4:00 p.m. when school is out. The only problem is that most of the neighbor kids are all allowed to play outside by themselves and I am usually the only mom who comes out to supervise. I have on many occasions been the peacemaker for childhood arguments, or the mom who carries someone home who has an ouchie. Sometimes I am the referee when kids are not playing fair or the one who tells the kids to get out of the street when a car is coming through really fast. Normally I sit in a camping chair with a book to read or play with Tay. Sometimes I’ll sweep out our garage or vacuum the car. I try to blend into the background so to speak so Carter can be himself and just play without me hovering. So on days when I am feeling like garbage or trying to keep the house clean, Carter has to stay inside. Needless to say, it makes us both miserable. I could probably get a lot more done or get some rest if he was outside. But I am just not comfortable with him outside without a grown up around. Kids need to be outside just like they need water and food but we don’t really have a yard he spread his wings in. We live in a townhouse so we have two-car garage/driveway instead! Our backyard is tiny- the size of my kitchen. Carter is so much happier and obedient when he has had enough “outside time” as we call it. How does that quote go? Some thing like “Put a kid in the wild, and you take the wild out of the kid”. Very true I tell you. Needless to say, we are very frustrated with what to do. Any thoughts?

August: Virginia Beach

Our little family headed down to Virginia Beach at the end of August. The trip was literally 48 hours from the time we left our house to the time we pulled back into the driveway. We stayed at a hotel that was right on the beach- actually every room there was ocean side. Carter and Tay loved waking up and watching boats pass by in the morning. At night they would go out on the balcony in their pj’s and watch the nightlife on the boardwalk until bedtime. We also went to an aquarium where we saw sharks, sea turtles and even pet stingrays. On one rainy afternoon we toured the deck of the USS Wisconsin, a retired battle ship from WWII and walked through a historic naval museum (which Carter calls the pirate ship museum).

As for the actual beach…the kids just loved it! Tay was a little apprehensive of walking in the sand at first but it didn’t take long before she was chasing “ducks” (seagulls) and throwing sand. Carter brought a front-end loader and big dump truck and when he wasn’t running around in the surf, he stayed pretty busy playing in the sand. It ended up being rather stormy on the days we were there…the waves were choppy and it was overcast most of the time. On the bright side though, we never needed our beach umbrella, the temperature was just perfect, and the sand was never hot! Another plus that we couldn’t have planned better, was the huge playground in the sand right next to our hotel and the boardwalk. Since Tay couldn’t get enough of the “wee” (slide), Drew would watch her play while Carter and I were just a few hundred feet down the beach playing in the water. Overall, everyone had a great time and the kids were really well behaved (except the time when Carter chucked a dirty diaper off of our 6th floor balcony- boys!).

My favorite things about going to the beach are the expressions on my kids’ faces each year when they see the water for the first time. Or when Carter starts to giggle when he feels sand between his toes and the first wave hits is legs. Although our trip was quick, we made many wonderful memories this year. We can’t wait for next year!

Why do little boys like to roll in sand?

Carter and the gunners. He was a little nervous until we explained they were broken.

Making armpit noises on the boardwalk for all to enjoy.

Tay is shivering like crazy and Carter wants me to leave him alone so he can play.

August: Our Anniversary & Grandma’s Electa’s Death

We had our 7th anniversary on August 17th. Crazy huh! It makes me feel really old actually. Drew’s brother Kirk and his bride Stephanie were in town for their Virginia wedding celebrations so we counted their open house as our anniversary celebration since as it was the night before our special day. Drew’s wonderful grandma Electa passed away in the early morning hours of the 17th. She was to turn 94 this month and was living in a nursing home near by. A nurse went to check on her in the middle of the night and found her kneeling at her bedside as if praying. She had passed away. I can only imagine what she was praying about before she crossed over the veil of mortality. While we are sad that she is gone, we are so happy that she has been reunited with loved ones. Grandma Electa was a sassy little lady and I always enjoyed visiting with her. She always kissed my cheeks and asked me if I was a good cook for her grandson. Electa laughed easily and loved seeing her grandchildren. I very much felt like she was my grandma too!

Flashback: What's on My Floor?

I couldn’t bring myself to take a picture of this but this is an example of what your living room floor will look like if you have hyperemesis… just use your imagination and picture our small rec room, otherwise known as the our basement, with the following contents strewn about. This is actually what was on my floor!

  • dirty Tay clothes
  • 2 pairs of Carter’s dirty socks
  • Carter’s church clothes from the day before
  • 2 pairs head phones
  • case for the dvd player
  • 3 baby dolls
  • 2 piles of newspapers
  • various straws from previous days beverages
  • a big bowl with crackers and cookies in it
  • blocks (all over)
  • puzzles and puzzle pieces (all over)
  • a bag with library books in it
  • coupon holder
  • Tay’s church
  • shoes
  • an empty swimming bag
  • 2 swimming safety vests
  • 3 towels
  • a reusable grocery bag
  • Drew’s back pack
  • random pieces of paper and mail
  • a tie
  • 2 containers of wipes
  • 2 kids camping chairs
  • camping chair bag
  • the bathroom stool that Carter uses to reach our dvd player
  • a bag of movies that someone brought me on loan
  • dirty dishes
  • toy tool box
  • torpedo pool toys
  • water guns
  • Carter’s bright orange goggles
  • empty plastic grocery bag
  • play dishes
  • play aprons
  • toy forklift
  • toy cars
  • toy helicopter
  • builder hat
  • 2 fire trucks
  • misc. parts to toys
  • 2 tv blankets
  • a lunch box
  • my rolling suit case I use when I teach private classes
  • children’s books
  • mommy’s books
  • remote control to tv
  • remote control to dvd player
  • an apple
  • wrappers to snacks
  • 2 of Taylor’s blankies
  • laptop
  • speakers for our computer
  • Tay’s purse
  • an alarm clock
  • several pot holders
  • at least fifty of Tay’s pony tail holders (all over the place)
  • 2 couch pillows
  • a Tupperware lid
  • mom’s throw up bowl
  • empty water bottle
  • dry but clean wipes that Tay took out of the wipes container (all over the place)
  • 2 dvd’s out of their holder
  • crumbs of food all over our decorative
  • rug (at least they kept the food on the rug!)
  • and ants!
  • July Flashback: A Family Announcement

    Well, I am pregnant with baby #3. Am I excited? Are we excited? Not really, not yet. It will grow on us though. And yes, we purposefully don’t share the news of our pregnancies for a while, even with family. Get over it people! (I can say that, this is a blog folks). Sorry if I seem a little snarky but it is hard to be excited and talk about something when you are miserable and simply trying to get through each day.

    Any who, many of you know that I get sick when I am pregnant. You may think it is morning sickness but it is actually something else…hypermesis gravidarum which is much worse. These are not all of the symptoms but the ones I’ve dealt with my pregnancies: anemia, confusion, severe dehydration (and all of the loveliness that comes with that), excessive salivation (yes, very gross), extreme fatigue, dizziness, motion sickness, headaches, increased sense of smell, intolerance to motion/noise/light, ketosis, low blood pressure, rapid heart rate, rapid weight loss of 5% or more, anxiety and depression, vitamin/electrolyte deficiency, vomiting of mucus and bile.

    I am usually freezing cold all the time and am extremely sensitive to changes in temperature. So, something as simple as taking a hot shower could start me on a vomiting cycle, which lasts all day. The only time I don’t feel miserable is when I am sleeping, literally. Because of my motion sickness, I usually end up lying on the couch for weeks on end. My poor kids pretty much watched tv all day when I wasn’t receiving help. At my worst Drew had to bathe and dress me because I was so weak. At 8 weeks prego I went in for IV hydration and started oral medication. In the past, oral mediations never worked because I couldn’t keep them down which is why IV’s are AWESOME! With two kids to care for, I felt even more desperate for relief. I forced myself to take them and would reswallow them if necessary. They worked a little but the side affects were horrendous so I eventually quit. Time is my only cure.

    We are grateful for all of the help and meals we received. For several weeks, someone from church would pick Carter and Tay up, bring them to their house for the morning, feed them lunch, and then return them for afternoon naps. I think this happened three times a week while it lasted. Drew was able to come home early many days to take care of them as well. Thankfully my mom flew out for two weeks and took care of me. She got our house in order and gave Carter and Tay a little bit of their summer back. I can’t really talk about my hyperemesis experience without getting upset. In fact the first two weeks of attending church again after being gone for 3 ½ months, I literally broke down in tears when some one asked how I was doing. It is far more than feeling like you have food poisoning for days and weeks on end; it is an isolating, lonely, and a depressing experience to go through. For more info go to

    Upgrading Bikes

    I've had a lot of people ask ... so yes, I did upgrade bikes some time ago. Not that I didn't like the old bike -- it was great. But the sports bikes were definitely calling my name. The ironic thing is, I feel much safer on the sports bike than on the cruiser. I know, I know... but hear me out on this one. Compared with the cruiser I had, it's much heavier ... so the wind (think speeds over 50 mph) and passing trucks don't blow me back & forth in my lane like would happen to me on the other bike. Both brakes are hydrolics-operated, so I can stop much quicker (the cruiser had a drum brake on the back wheel). The acceleration, obviously, is much better ... so I can get out of the way of people easier. It's also a lot louder, so more people are aware I'm in front of / behind / next to them. And the turning ability is simply incredible ... I lean, and I'm there. Took Jeff on a ride last weekend around the neighborhood ... ya, he gives it two thumbs up ... and if Jeff gives it two thumbs up, you know it's good to go (Jeff's my 14-year old brother, for those who don't know).

    Anyway, so I LOVE this bike. It's a Yamaha R6, for those of you who know your sports bikes. Thankfully the weather here has been absolutely phenomenal (80's today in mid October), so I've been able to ride quite a bit. So here are a few pics for the curious. Sorry the lighting isn't great, but thank you Photoshop for adding a little help in that department.