Sunday, December 30, 2012

Christmas Memories: 2012 Edition

Our Davydd as Baby Jesus and our Dierdre as Mary

I still have to be careful about the amount of pictures I add here, until I decide to actually PAY for more storage (Yeah, I know I'm uber-cheap!), but I want to record some of the fun things we did this year! (Most of which I forgot to take pictures of anyway!)

  • We taped candy canes to several bank ATMs and handed them out at various shopping centers, just to say "Merry Christmas" and hopefully brighten someone's day. The best experience with this was when one of the kids handed a candy cane to a tiny little boy (he couldn't have been more than three years old), whose dad had just told him he didn't have money to buy him any candy from the vending machines. The expression on the little guy's face was priceless! 
  • We not only went to the Christmas lights at the temple visitor's center, but we also met Russell's boss and his wife there. They are not members of our church, but are faithful members of the Catholic church, and it was so great to listen to a combined Catholic and LDS choir with them, as well as seeing the lights all around the temple grounds and some of the other things at the visitor's center. They asked several questions about the temple itself and the work that goes on there. It was so fun to share with them and see things through their eyes. I never want to forget how good it felt to share my love of temple work!
  • On another night, we made up a big batch of hot chocolate and took it around to bell ringers at a few different stores. Even though it's not SUPER cold here in Arizona, it was still a bit chilly for bell ringers to stand out in for long, and it felt good to give them a warm treat.
  • We got to go see my sweet Southern Granny at her nursing home the Sunday before Christmas. I feel bad that I don't go see her very often, but it can be a bit painful for me. Granny and I used to be so close, and she doesn't remember me at all-- she has even stopped recognizing that she knows me. But we were able to introduce her to Davydd, and she adored holding all the kids and hugging them. She kept saying "I love you!" over and over to each of them, and in her classic Granny fashion kept asking me if I would give the baby to her-- just as she has always done with each of the others. That was sweet music for me to hear. It was good to be reminded that she's the same Granny, the same person I have loved all my life, even if her memory is gone.

Granny meeting Davydd
  • One day, we left some wrapped cookies with a note for our grumpy mailman in our mail box, and it was AWESOME to see him smile when he took them out of the box! (We were sure to watch him stealthfully!) 
  • Money was REALLY tight this year, so we got the kids a few things at the dollar store, Russell got the older boys some inexpensive leatherman-type tools, I sewed presents for everyone else, and the kids all made each other gifts. They drew names, as is our tradition, and I was so impressed with the gifts they came up with! We had homemade bows and arrows, jewelry, playdough, dollhouses, and more. (Thank you, Pinterest, for all the great ideas!!!) It was a humbling experience, but it was also very, very SWEET.
  • One other thing that happened this year, was that an unknown, kind family chose to give us a present every night for the twelve nights before Christmas. The kids had a ball with it, and Russell and I looked forward to every day's new gift, as well! It was also a bit humbling, but it gave me great memories of the times we did that for other families with my mom on several Christmases during my growing-up years.

All in all, we had a warm and wonderful Christmas season, and wish everyone a very Happy New Year!!!

Love, Mama Rachel

Monday, December 17, 2012

Times and Seasons

Sixteen Years Ago (With my family)

I've been all kinds of contemplative lately. It feels like our family is standing at the threshold of so many changes coming all too quickly.

See those babies in the photo above? The baby girl turns 19 years old just two days after Christmas this year. And she has decided to put in her mission papers.

Morganne at age 18

And the fuzzy-haired little boy can send in his mission papers at the end of March 2013.

Brennan at age 17


Yes, I am getting all kinds of emotional that I am "losing" my babies, one by one, starting NOW.

Where has the time gone? I could have sworn that the picture above was taken yesterday-- wasn't it?


But I AM thankful that my babies are growing up to be such wonderful people. They amaze me! They are making really great choices, and are doing the things I've tried to raise them to do.

Now, if I can just get my brain in line to figure out how to be a mother of adults and babies at the same time...

Love, Mama Rachel

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Davydd's Birth Story

They kept two IV's in me until just before I left the hospital, so they wouldn't have to stick me again...

 Things I want to remember:

  • The hours of praying through the night that baby's heartbeat would stay good so there would be no C-section needed.
  • The divine intervention that kept me in pain in just the right spots to help move baby's head into the right place. (Even though I was frustrated beyond belief that I was still in pain WITH an epidural.)
  • The sweet spirits I felt enter the room right when I thought I would burst with worry and overwhelm due to the oxygen I was on and the hyperventilating I was doing in an attempt to get baby all the oxygen he needed.
  • The 9 attempts at getting my IV in that left me bruised and  nervous-- and the sweet nurse who was so upset about it saying "This is all you're going to remember, when all you wanted was a nice home birth!"
  • The calm and kind nurse-midwife who was willing to wait patiently for our boys arrival-- more patiently than I was willing to wait through most of the experience!
  • My midwife, Sue, who showed up JUST when I needed her to put cool cloths on my forehead and give me words of encouragement. (I don't know how I would have survived the nurse change right as things got hairy!)
  • How I pushed for less than 10 minutes, determined to get baby out and in my arms at last!
  • How scary it was afterward to realize how LITTLE ambiotic fluid my poor little guy was trying to swim in!
  • How bad I felt when I realized that I was birthing without pain, but that my little one had to do a lot of work on his own WITHOUT pain relief.
  • How I felt EVERYTHING while pushing-- the epidural blocked nothing.
  • The lesson I learned about facing fears with faith. The Lord's plans are ALWAYS better than our own! If only I had trusted Him...
And now for some pictures:

Me on oxygen-- trying to stay positive!

First Davydd picture, covered in green vernix-- poor guy!

Meeting the whole family!

Alls well that ends well.

Love, Mama Rachel

Slacking Off

I need to apologize-- I have been sooo neglectful of my blogs! But I always need to readjust after a new baby arrives, and now it's the Christmas season, and I have reached my quota of free picture space on Blogger (Hey, I've been blogging since 2006, ya know...) so that stopped me from updating, and... and...

Yeah, excuses, excuses!

So until I can delete some pictures (gasp!) or somehow figure out stupid Picasa (grumble-grumble), I won't be posting many updates.

I DO think I'll finally publish the draft of my birth story, however, even though it's not very thorough. Who wants to read too many details of a traumatic experience, anyway? Right?


Love you all!!!

Mama Rachel