Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Crazy Life

Our cast rehearsing "Tradition"

Between the kids' school work, play rehearsals, church activities, play rehearsals, seminary, and homeschool group stuff, life has become quite a whirl for our family-- I can't think of a time when we've been busier! I'll try not to make this update too long, but I do want to share some of the exciting things that have been going on.

Baby #12

I've now had a ultrasound, and been to the midwife twice. Things are looking good! There is only ONE baby, which is not a big surprise, but it's always fun to think about twins. (And I always do with each pregnancy, considering my dad was an identical twin, and that my mom's brother and sister are fraternal twins. So far, there have been no more twins born on either side of the family-- though I do have some awesome twins cousins that we were excited to adopt into the Nielsen family.) At the last midwife visit, we were finally able to hear a heartbeat. Yay!

I'm now at 14 weeks (the ultrasound moved the due date back to October 1st), and savoring every day! Knowing this is probably my last is making me appreciate every moment. I am excited to begin growing and showing! Now, to get/make some more maternity clothes. I got rid of most of them after Eryn was born!

Little Girls

This is the real deal-- no Photoshop here! :-}

These little ladies keep us as busy or busier than the rest of all the things we've got going on. But they are also so sweet and adorable-- we're so grateful for them! MacKenna is now six, Grayse turned five today, Avalon is a very opinionated THREE, and Eryn is a happy and mischievous 22 month old. I can't believe my baby is almost two! They like to go to the nursery at play practice, and they know all the songs as well as the rest of the cast. (See a sample here.) Their favorite thing to do during rehearsal is to come in and "watch the Matchmaker, Matchmakers."


Gavin on his birthday

Our Gavin had a huge milestone happen in March; he turned twelve years old and was ordained a Deacon! We are so proud of him and the kind young man he is. He is experiencing all those growing pains-- emotional and physical-- that come with the transition, but he has such a loving, sweet heart. He still has lots of hugs for those he loves and adores little ones. He's working hard in the play right now, though he struggles sometimes with the fact that he isn't yet one of the "big boys" in the show. But we are so grateful for him and the good choices he is making!

Pretty Dierdre at her girls' club party

Dierdre had a wonderful chance to join some homeschooling friends in a club just for girls! They learned about manners, and poise, as well as inner and outer beauty. On the last week, the mothers got to join their daughters and have a lovely ladies' luncheon. Didi and I had so much fun! She especially loved visiting our friend's home where the class was held. They had a BIG dog, baby chicks, goats, and a big mule that the girls got to ride.  Dierdre was in heaven! She had a wonderful experience every week, and I'm so grateful for my friend Trina and her willingness to host and teach such a fun class. It was nice for Dierdre to have her own "thing."

Ronan on this year's field trip to "War"

Ronan is getting bigger every day! My baby boy has very little trace of any "baby" left. He is still crazy for cars and anything else with a motor. He has designated himself the main "teaser" for the little girls, and let me tell you, he is GOOD at it! What's funny is that his little sisters just adore him, and consider him the authority on what is "fun" or "cool." We often hear the words "Ronan said," coming from a little sister. He's so cute! Now, if only I can convince him that haircuts are a good idea...

Big Kids
Gorgeous Morganne, our medieval beauty

Our big ones are constantly studying, working, rehearsing, and going, going, going! Morganne and Brennan are averaging about 30 hours of intense study every week. (We've had weeks with more, and some with less.) They've been stretched  and challenged beyond what they ever imagined, and it's been hard, but good

Morganne has decided to keep going with high school studies for another year. I am proud of her for recognizing where she's at and for not giving in to peer pressure to take on life changes that she's not ready for yet. She's happy to be home, and we're happy to have her here for as long as she needs! She teaches me so much, and is such a joy to everyone. We are treasuring every moment with her!

Brennan: Yes, that is him in the DRIVER'S seat!

Brennan is finally taking the steps toward getting his Eagle Project off the ground, and at our house that means he's one step closer to DRIVING. After sending in his plan for approval, I took him across the street to drive in our church parking lot. He did a good job! He is really excited to learn how to drive, but he's also excited for his project, and that makes ME happy. I want him to earn his Eagle because he wants it, not just so he can get his driver's license. I know some might not agree with me on using the award for motivation, but I think it's important for him, and I feel good about it.

Lliam letting Eryn play with his watch

Lliam is still the go-to transportation system of choice for the littlest girls, and Eryn has now figured out that she can boss him around, too. He is so kind and patient with her! He always takes time to help, hold,  and hug. He is always tender and sweet to his mother-- giving me hugs and loving words, even when I feel unlovable. (Which being pregnant, is a LOT of the time.) 

He is getting more motivated in his studying, though he prefers working on his own at home to his weekly class. He enjoys spending most of his school time watching science videos and doing math exercises on Khan Academy. He still likes to read fantasy novels, and is hoping for a "Rip Stick" type skateboard for his birthday. He is content to move at his own Lliam-pace, and is finding out more about himself and how he's different from his big brother-- the story of his life journey!

Bonny in the apron she made with Granna

Bonny is our steady, sharp-aiming girl! She is motivated, determined, and organized, always knowing what should happen next. She really keeps our home running smoothly! She is the reason I can do crazy things like direct shows while trying to raise a family. She cooks, cleans like a machine, washes little girls, cares for the cat and the dog (both of whom adore her) and never has to be reminded of her responsibilities or school assignments. Right now, she is having a great time putting together a pre-show dance number for the musical with a bunch of the other girls. She is excited about her school work, and gives her all to her role in the play. I am so grateful for everything she does for all of us! She is my right hand woman.

The Play

At last, it feels like everything is coming together! Heavenly Father answered my desperate prayers and sent some wonderful parent volunteers: the SET, the PROPS, MAKE-UP people, and all other great parents to take over the many details that have been keeping me up at night! We had a big production meeting with the parent volunteers yesterday before rehearsal and it was so wonderful to see everything slowly coming together! We're not finished, by any means, but everything seems more real now that we have things like the tickets ready to print, and some set pieces ready to use.

I've been so exhausted during this pregnancy, that some days I just want to collapse after rehearsal. But I'm now to the point in production that it's usually not an option I have available. So I push on, trying to stay focused. I know I need to be more careful about keeping my priorities straight-- the little ones have really been on the back burner through this process, and I need to fix that. It's actually been better now that they come to rehearsal with us, instead of me leaving them home with Russell, who's been trying to work amid the chaos. I am soooo grateful for the mom who has volunteered to be over the nursery! Julie, I sure owe you!!!

I really am enjoying the opportunity to direct this show! The kids are all so wonderful-- I have really grown to love each and every one. And I love having such an amazing group of youth for my big kids to associate with. They uplift and help each other. It is wonderful to be a part of it! :-)

Now, if you'll excuse me while I go and perform a house rescue. It's been neglected most of all...



  1. I feel like we are crazy busy most days. But, you seem busier.

  2. I am so glad you get to direct the play--what a lovely time you all must be having. And, what a great way to deepen yourself and gain experience.

    The crazy times are so fun, as are the down's so apparent that you are a family who finds joy in both.

    All the children look beautiful and happy! It looks like crazy works for you. :)

  3. Thanks, ladies! I love you both-- I appreciate the time you take to comment. :-)



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