Saturday, March 31, 2012

Conference Weekend

Image Source

That, my friends, is the sound of my proverbial cup being filled with light and encouragement!

It was so wonderful to hear a living prophet and apostles speak today! I have a testimony of my own, through the gift of the Holy Ghost, that the leaders of our church are called of God, and that they have Priesthood authority given them directly from those who held it anciently.

Here are a few of the topics that really hit home with me today:

  • Children are an heritage of the Lord. I never get tired of hearing Elder Boyd K. Packer speak! I could hear of his great love and concern for children with every word. This is one I will be reviewing again and again-- especially when I have frustrating mornings like I did today. (Suffice it to say, I was doing some heavy repenting during this talk, for my impatience with destructive little girls this morning.)
  • Humility is fertile soil for the Holy Spirit. I took notes on almost every word Elder Richard G. Scott said. The biggest thing I need to learn from his talk is that "Distractions keep us from receiving revelation." This is my biggest struggle right now!
  • "You can't be right by doing wrong, and you can't be wrong by doing right." Brother Soares' wonderful reminders really strengthened my resolve to do what's right when he said that our choices should nourish the spirit and not the flesh.
I won't go on and on, though I could! I am excited for the talks to be up on the Church's website soon.

Here's a fun info-graphic about LDS General Conferences that I saw on Pinterest:

Image Source

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Thou Shalt Not Covet

My dream house-- sorta.

Okay, I am trying not to act like a spoiled baby. (I really AM trying!)


Though we live in a small home, it's in an ideal location. I love our ward, our neighborhood, and our reasonable rent payments. We have an awesome landlord! What more could a girl want?!

Hence the sigh...

I feel like I'm being ungrateful.


I want to own a home again. And I want it to have more than just a "yard." I want a bit of space-- not much! Just at least half an acre, which is prime real estate 'round these parts.

And I feel like our family of thirteen-- soon to be fourteen-- really could use a house that has more than 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. (The bathroom issue is getting a bit out of hand.)

So I look. I admit it. I LOOK.

On Craig's List. On various real estate websites. I take detours in more rural-type neighborhoods, especially ones in former ward boundaries.

So silly me found an empty lot today that would be perfect! It's got everything I want. Citrus AND pecan trees. TWO WHOLE ACRES. In the boundaries of an old ward. (Did I mention I'd love to build just the house we need?) And the price is even reasonable!!!

The Lot

The grown-up in me (yes, there's one in there, somewhere) says:
"Hello?! You don't have a down-payment."
"Your credit isn't fixed, yet. You can't get a loan."
"Even if you could purchase the land, are you really wanting to live in a tent this summer? Or are you really thinking you can pay monthly for land you want to build on in the future, while staying in your rental until you CAN get a loan to build? Even if you could find a way to buy this without a loan?"

And then I slap myself, take a deep breath, and go back to life.

Someday feels so far away!

Okay, my baby fit is now over. I'll move on.

But I think I'll partake of a little something in my sugar-free chocolate stash first.

(Thanks for joining me in my little pity party. If you come back, I promise not to whine again for a long time. At least not here... )

~Whiny Me

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Pregnancy Journal: Almost 12 Weeks

Tiny Grayse Dawn: Baby #9

Last night I was pondering on the very real possibility that this is my last pregnancy, last birth, last baby. And I thought about how my eldest daughter is eighteen and may have marriage in the not-too-distant future.

So I asked myself these questions:

  • "What would my daughters want to know about pregnancy, birth, and babies?"
  • "What can I share with them to make their pregnancies and births easier?"
  • "What little things can I share about my pregnancies that will give my girls a better idea of what to expect?"
My mind immediately turned to this blog. I write here for our families who are far away, but also as a personal journal and family record that I hope to pass on to my children and future generations. What better place to keep a record of all the little intricacies of my entire natal experience?

Today's Cravings

As of this day, I am eleven weeks and six days pregnant. My nausea is beginning to calm down a bit, and I've moved into almost constant heartburn.

With each pregnancy I usually have a consistent food craving. The last four little girls, it has been spicy Mexican all the way, and I've got that going on now, as well. 

But I've also had a constant craving for HOMEMADE macaroni and cheese this pregnancy. (None of that boxed yicky stuff. Bleh!) Sunday, I found a recipe on Pinterest and my husband coaxed me into doing something about my craving. It was really good and reminded me of the lovely homemade mac and cheese we used to be served in elementary school, back in the days when the lunch ladies were the little grandmas in the neighborhood who came over and cooked us lunches from scratch. 

Little Things

When I'm pregnant and the weather warms up, I always get swollen elephant ankles. Here in the desert, it gets hot pretty quickly, and the temperature keeps going up, up, up! This week, we've had weather in the eighties. Spring has arrived in the desert! So far, my ankles have not swollen much, which I'm grateful for! I know this summer, they'll expand and my skin will itch like crazy. But I can handle it-- been there done that almost a dozen times! 

When I get past the first ten weeks or so, my belly immediately just starts to pop out. I think it's just because my body says to itself, "Oh, yeah. It's this again! Time to show the world what's coming." It could also just be the fact that this body has not repaired the old stomach muscles in over a decade. Why bother when they'll just get stretched out again? Oh, and stretch marks? Uh, I'll keep those details to myself. I just want my daughters to know that they'll most likely have them-- and that they're no big deal. I've never been a bikini kind of girl, anyway. (And they aren't, either!)

The best, best, BEST way I've found to stay healthy and happy while pregnant is to follow Dr. Brewer's pregnancy diet. He originally designed it to prevent pre-eclampsia, but it has been a real blessing for me in my healthy pregnancies for over a decade. 

I also try to drink at least one cup of a pregnancy herbal tea every day. Red raspberry leaf tea works, too, but I prefer the taste and all the extra good ingredients in the Pregnancy Tea blend. (I use the Traditional Medicinals brand.) I do take a prenatal vitamin, but I get those at a health food store. The brands I have found at Wal-Mart and other retail places are icky; their taste and smell make me nauseous.

Water is very important to drink during pregnancy-- and I'm still pretty lousy at it. I don't like to drink a lot of water, so I have to force it down, on most occasions. And that translates to never enough. *sigh* I'm going to try to do better this pregnancy!

Birth History

For history's sake, I want to record a little bit about each of my baby's pregnancies and births. I hope I remember everything. I'm sure it's not as accurate as it should be-- I do have a few to remember! Be forewarned: the birth stories below are a complete retelling of the entire experiences. If you don't really want to know all the details, I don't recommend you read them! ;-)

Morganne: Born at 38 weeks. Hospital birth with an OB. No drugs or epidural. My water was broken and I was induced with pitocin. I tried to start my labor by taking castor oil. YUCK! I will never do that again! She weighed 6 pounds, 4 ounces.

Brennan: Born at 42 and 1/2 weeks. Hospital birth with a nurse-midwife. No epidural, some painkiller in pill form that didn't help labor pains, but made baby born groggy and grumpy. I walked for days, and took blue kohosh for weeks trying to get my labor started. (There was huge pressure for me to go into labor since our families were coming for the baby blessing before school started. I think that anxiety kept baby inside.) My water was broken, and eventually pitocin was administered. He weighed 8 pounds, 2 ounces.

Lliam: Born at 41 1/2 weeks. Hospital birth with an OB. I had my first epidural and scheduled induction. Easy birth, about 5 hours of labor. He weighed 8 pounds, 2 1/2 ounces.

Bonny: Born on her due date. Hospital birth with a nurse-midwife. When I was about 32 weeks pregnant, I started having painful, constant labor pains. They turned out to be false labor. But they continued to the end of the pregnancy. I lost my original caregiver at 36 weeks, because she had to close her private practice  for money issues, and had to get a new nurse-midwife. I spent the last few weeks in constant labor that died at the end of the day. I begged to be induced on her due-date. I was given a cervical suppository, and went into labor quickly after receiving an epidural, without pitocin. She weighed 7 pounds, 4 ounces.

Gavin: Born at 39 weeks. Hospital birth with an OB. We needed to move to another state for my husband's new job the week of this baby's due date, so we decided I should be induced a week early. Even though I was promised that a cervical suppository would be used instead of pitocin, the doctor ignored our wishes, and I was pumped full of pitocin. The baby's heartbeat went way up, and a C-Section was mentioned. (I had already received an epidural.) We asked instead for the pitocin to be turned off and then turned back on once the baby's heartbeat went down. It worked and he was born after a few hours.  My wonderful mother-in-law, a newly licensed nurse, was there for the birth, and even helped suction him out. He was born with a strange rash, that was looked at by a pediatrician and specialized dermatologist. Their only guess was chicken pox (in an unexposed newborn???). I think it had something to do with all the pitocin in my system. We'll never know for sure, and the rash was gone by his original due date. He weighed 7 pounds, 7 ounces.

Dierdre: Born two days after her due date, one day after Thanksgiving. Hospital birth with an OB. We insisted on the cervical suppository and refused all pitocin. (My husband threatened to leave the hospital if the doctor ignored our wishes. My hero!) I went into labor quickly, once I got an epidural, and had an easy birth. She weighed 7 pounds, 6 ounces, and was a big surprise for me, because I was sure she was a boy! (But Pa Williams knew that she was a girl all along!)

Ronan: Born at almost 41 weeks. My first home birth. With all my other births, I was convinced that I could never go into labor on my own, which was confirmed by all my previous caregivers, given my birth history. But when the Spirit told my husband and I to home birth this baby on our own, we responded with all the faith we could muster. (Which didn't seem like much, some days!) At the time of his birth, my mom was visiting to help with the kids, our car had broken down, and my oldest son was baptized the day before. At the last minute, our beloved across-the-street neighbor, who was very sensitive to the Spirit, gave us the name and number of her sister, a retired midwife who agreed to delivery our baby at no charge. I labored on my own through the night while hubby slept, woke the next morning, called the midwife, and delivered the baby around 7:30am. It was a HUGE victory for me! He weighed 7 pounds, 8 ounces. His birth story is here

MacKenna: Born at 40 weeks. My second home birth, and first water birth-- which was AMAZING-- midwife assisted. I loved my midwife and her assistant. The entire labor lasted only about 8 hours, and I went grocery shopping in the middle of the day, even though I was really progressing in my labor. (That was pretty funny!) She weighed 8 pounds, 1 ounce. Her birth story is here

Grayse: Born at 40 weeks. A midwife-assisted, home and water birth. For reasons I don't yet understand I cried and grieved through the entire third trimester of her pregnancy. I felt sure that something was wrong, and I had no idea what. I felt lead to my new midwife, and she felt called to be my midwife, as well. She was LDS and in my ward, living only a block or two away from us. She and I both prayed, studied, and I believe she fasted, for guidance and help for this baby and birth. 

One night, a few weeks before the birth, my husband arose just after we'd gone to bed, with the strong impression that the baby needed a priesthood blessing immediately. He placed his hands on my belly and gave us a powerful, urgent blessing. We went to bed with peace and the pregnancy continued on. A few days after my due date, I went into labor. 

After she was born, perfectly healthy and beautiful, the midwife and her assistant were very occupied with the placenta delivery. This puzzled me, and I kept asking if the baby was okay. (She didn't cry at all.) They assured me she was fine, but found that there was something wrong with the placenta. It looked as if part of it had pulled away from the uterine wall and had died. We all looked at each other in amazement, knowing that we were part of a pretty big miracle. We may never know what exactly went on, and why we needed to exercise so much faith throughout my prenatal care, but we all received a witness that our faith, prayers, and trust in the Lord had been desperately needed to get our baby here, safe and sound. She weighed 9 pounds, 2 ounces.

Avalon: Born at 41 weeks. Hospital birth with an OB. (To learn more about why I made the decision to go back to the hospital for her birth, see this post. It was the right thing to do, because the Lord knew what I needed for that birth.)  I was induced with a cervical suppository and had an epidural. Due to a cervical lip, and the fact that I could not squat or move because of the epidural, I was measuring at 8cm for hours! Finally, my doctor came in and assisted me in getting the baby out. She weighed 9 pounds, 5 ounces.

Eryn: Born at 41 and 1/2 weeks. A midwife-assisted, home and water birth. I won't go into too many more details, as everything is pretty much in my post about her birth. (See below.) She weighed 7 pounds, 2 ounces. Her birth story is here.

Whew! Sorry for the long post! But I think I got all my children covered, birth-history-wise.

Hopefully I'll have more to report on this pregnancy after a midwife visit. I am looking forward to Baby Number Twelve! 

Saturday, March 10, 2012

More Performing Kids

I actually took several videos of the kids singing various songs from "Fiddler on the Roof," since everyone around here is constantly singing it. (One of the prices of directing a production!)

Don't worry, I won't post them all, but I did want to post another one that has more of the kids in it.

This is for the grandparents, y'all! :-)

We all love and miss you!!!

Thursday, March 08, 2012

"Do You Love Me?"

This is a video of two of our little girls performing "Do You Love Me?" from "Fiddler on the Roof." I think they do a pretty good job! :-)

(I promise they do finish the song up after the brief giggling fit at the beginning.)

Maybe we should have them perform for our preshow???

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

The Challenge: "Where I'm From"

Four year old me, performing a selection from "My Turn On Earth."

I had a lot of fun this morning with Cocoa's Wordfull Wednesday challenge over at Chocolate on My Cranium. Give it a try! I'd love to read yours, too!

Where I'm From

I am from fierce winds,
from cold, crisp air that sucked my breath away.
I am from tall weeds swaying in dusty earth.
(The bitter of milkweed
clinging to my fingertips.)
I am from the rose bush
the Grand Tree
who still stands waiting for my childish grasp.

I'm from peaches and boxed chocolate,
from Vicki and Ron.
I'm from the sing-alongs
and the told-you-sos,
From “Carry On!” and “Uncle Bud.”
I'm from “How Great Thou Art”
sung in crowds around a fire
and tales of those who paved the way.

I'm from mountain peaks and kudzu trails,
hot grits and orange rolls.
From the sweet milk Granny poured
on her cornflakes,
the thimble perched on Grandma's busy hand.

I miss the laughter of aunts
over dishes and quilts,
softball and soccer,
cousins and tents.

I am from those moments--
a dozen sweet orange buds now bursting
in their turn on the Family Tree.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

This and That

Lovely Morganne

Today is just a random update of some things we've had going on these last few weeks.

MONDAY, I finally got an ultrasound! I wish they'd given me some pictures to share, but they didn't. I'm happy to report that everything looks good, and I got a great view of our sweet little Peanut #12. What a relief and blessing. :)

Roses for everyone!

Valentine's Day!

The kids and Russell have been making the holidays special for the family. We've started new traditions without realizing it! Again this year, Daddy got a rose for each person-- and gave Mama a dozen all her own. It made us all feel very loved.

Daddy also again decided to treat everyone to home-grilled steaks and a yummy dinner, complete with mini cheesecakes. The girls dipped strawberries in chocolate to put on the top of each cheesecake. (Daddy even remembered to get some sugar-free chocolate for me, too! True love!)

Mini cheesecake topped with a chocolate-dipped strawberry

Homeschool Masked Ball

Brennan (16), friend Mark, and Lliam (15)

The Big Four had a great time at a Regency-themed masked ball with the homeschooled teens group. (The small masks were worn only briefly during the Regency dance they learned.) I pulled out the Shakespeare costumes, and had fun dressing everyone up. Morganne did Bonny's hair, and I did Morganne's.

The dresses are Georgian, not Regency, but they still look beautiful!

The dance didn't last as long as the kids hoped, but they saw MOST of their friends there! I am so grateful for wonderful parents who create such beautiful opportunities for our youth!

General Cuteness

All the kids keep us busy and moving, moving, moving! How can we resist such cute chaos?

All smiles! (Avalon, MacKenna, Grayse)

Dierdre is a good "Buddy" to her little "Buddy."

Sweet Eryn loves her blanket and her fingers

Gavin at family scripture study

Last Month...

There are a few important events that happened in January I never recorded, so here's a brief glimpse:

Ronan and Herbie!!!
 Ronan was so excited about the Pinewood Derby! He didn't win any races or awards, (Though I feel he should have won some kind of prize for making such a cute car!) but he was happy as a clam just to have his Very. Own. Car!

I love my Mama and Daddy!

And GRANNA AND PA CAME for a visit! We had loads of fun, and it seemed to end all too soon. :-(

Here are some more fun pictures with Funny Granna and Silly Pa:


The Guys

Granna with The Guys

Granna and Girls

Me with my cute parents

Welcome March, 2012!!!