Thursday, June 30, 2011

Boy or girl? Wouldn't you like to know?

So, today was the big day! I woke up enormously excited and anxious for my ultra sound. I even got to leave all the kids behind at a friend's house and made it to the ultra sound office in forty minutes (including the time it took to figure out I had the wrong address and had gone in the completely wrong direction, and the time to pull over at a gas station to buy a liter of water I suddenly recalled I was supposed to already have drank that morning to prep for the ultrasound).

Upon my arrival at the office, the receptionist informed me that I did not indeed have an appointment because my insurance refused to cover this visit. She said she had tried to call me on my cell but had some sort of phone error (which must have been on her end because I've successfully received many incoming calls today). Then she told me to just reschedule for another four weeks out and hope that the insurance issues worked themselves out by then.

I'm generally a nice-ish person, but I was not feeling very nice at this moment. What I had gone through physically this morning to get there was only a part of it. When you are (under the influence of pregnancy hormones and) anticipating something so whole-heartedly, you feel as though even when that moment of revelation arrives, you could not possibly wait another moment for it. Let alone another MONTH.

I excused myself into the hallway to cry. I was thankfully able to get a hold of Kyle who, being the kind and wise husband that he is, encouraged me to just pay for it out-of-pocket and be seen today. (He just didn't want to deal with the emotional monster I would be for the next month if I didn't get to see my baby TODAY. Wise man.)

Well, they still discouraged me from being seen today, but I'm a fighter so finally, at approximately the time that my bladder of 32 oz of water was about to burst, Jessica called me in.

Jessica is a nice person (she did let me pee after she captured the necessary images), although not nearly as interested in celebrating my baby as I wanted her to be (read: not very talkative. I had to pry every piece of information out of her.) The first obstacle, though, was the layout of the room. Tell me if this makes sense: the screen is completely oriented away from the patient so there I lay in silence, belly covered in goo, while Jessica examines this and that and I (not so) patiently wonder if I'll EVER get a look at my child.

At least fifteen minutes later, she consents to give me a glimpse. Even after she's angled the screen as far as it will turn toward me, I still have to contort my body and use both my hands to pry my head into a position that affords a mediocre, sideways view of the screen.

Well, we had a good long go at it, long enough that both my arms had fallen asleep and the crick in my neck was making me cranky. Ultimately the one I have to blame for my greatest disappointment is my own unborn fetus! There it lay, all comfortably snuggled up with legs pressed together and ankles crossed.

So, clearly a girl, right!?

I knew this could happen, of course, but I was still in a daze of disbelief when I walked out of that office after an hour-long ordeal and knew nothing new of my child. I even remembered to ask if everything looked healthy and normal, and she couldn't even answer that! "Oh, your doctor will look at the pictures and let you know." When I see her in a month! Oh well, if the baby had an extra arm or something, I probably would've noticed myself.

Well, I had planned to dedicate this afternoon to shopping for baby girl accessories, so I'm just gonna go ahead and do that now anyway. Erik had a dream last night that he's having a baby sister, so I'm going to stick with that. Should've just stuck with his intuition in the first place-- cheaper than an ultrasound, at least.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Thoughts on baby

In a few short weeks I will be halfway through with this pregnancy! I am extremely grateful to be over the worst of it. That third trimester is nothing cool and comfortable, but I'll take it over the vomit-trocity of the first trimester any day.

I have so many thoughts and feelings about expecting a baby (and will have more on Thursday after my gender-revealing ultrasound!). My feelings have already evolved so much since the beginning, but thankfully I recorded some of those earliest thoughts in a journal entry, parts of which I will paste below. This entry was drafted before the onset of my World War Food so I was all sunshine and lollipops about being preggie. Now that I'm feeling mostly better, many of those happy sentiments are returning, so posting about them feels genuine again.

You'd think this ordeal would be nothing special on my fourth go at it, but not so. I was more anxious and excited to take a pregnancy test this time than ever before, more devastated when the results were initially negative, and more elated when I fished the pee stick out of the trash minutes later and discovered the very faint-colored and happy truth.

This pregnancy has felt quite different from my others (I mean more than just the increase of severity in my physical symptoms). I do believe I appreciate and enjoy motherhood now more than ever. There is no question that divine intervention was in on the timing of this one. Ellie and Erik are both truly supportive and excited to welcome a new baby. Kyle is also on board (which is kind of a first for us--yay!). Yes, we are STILL poor students, but at least we have prospects of a career in our foreseeable future. I have finally forsaken all other hobbies and distractions-- I am Mom through and through, with nothing there to resent or regret. Plus, Charlie very much needs to be dethroned.

Our life circumstances leading up to the pregnancy were just ideal. They had to be in order to soften our hearts toward the idea. Actually, I'd been quite soft for several months. But anyway, for a few weeks there, it seemed like every single day went just swimmingly. Nothing too notable, just happy and lacking stress.
Charlie seemed to be behaving better, sleeping longer, talking more, acting cuter. (Not long after we got pregnant, Charlie started acting crazy again, but at least he was a peach when it mattered most.) The other kids also behaved well and ridiculously cutely. I made yummy meals and everyone ate them. We went out and enjoyed beautiful weather and did a lot as a family. Something cute or funny would happen and Kyle and I would meet each others’ eyes and exchange a knowing smile, basking in the mutual feeling of near-surreal happiness that our current situation frequently provided.

Now I mean it that our happiness was not determined by what was happening to us. We were just happy. However, some events certainly boosted our gratitude and comfort. For instance, Kyle’s interviews with Cox and eventually being hired for a summer internship, and Kyle waking up one morning being willing to have another baby.

Yes, in the middle of March, Kyle woke up one morning before any of the kids had stirred and woke me up gently by asking me if I really wanted to have a baby. Well, you know how coherent and friendly I am when I’m being woken up, but I managed to grunt in the affirmative. He simply replied, “well, maybe having another baby wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world,” after which the kids stormed into the room, Charlie started crying, and our day commenced, taking us in separate, busy directions until nightfall. I may not have looked awake, but I heard what he said loud and clear and could not stop thinking about it all day with a goofy grin plastered to my face.

Well, some people may call this t.m.i., but this is my story and I tell it like it is. So, I just happened to be approaching ovulation that very next day. Quel coincidence? I think not. See, this is how we knew deity was in on our plan. We both feel strongly that the child who is coming to us in December is supposed to be born to us at this time. Kyle was nowhere near considering having another baby, and then the day before I ovulate he just wakes up a changed man on this ever-weighty of decisions? No no, this baby is part of our God-given plan.

Julie Beck said (during some conference some time) that we don't have children with money, but with faith. I've always loved that statement and made it my motto when it comes to this particular decision. We also don't have children with spare time or lack of stress. We just have them with faith. Nothing else could adequately persuade us to have four children in our short marriage. We have absolute faith that our lives are being guided by a supreme creator and that we have a mission to complete on this earth, parenting these children being a great part of it.

(I have neglected to photograph my quickly-expanding waistline (no really, someone today commented that I look ready to pop! Aren't those comments supposed to be reserved for the final hours of pregnancy?), but I look more or less like this girl. Only much bigger. And not owning such a cute sweater dress (not that I'd wear it in Phoenix). And also no cute, mustardy couch in sight. But yeah, pretty close.)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Erik turned four on May 16

I don't even know how to talk about Erik with words. (speechlessness is a rarity with me, as you all well know.)

All I know is every time he says anything, my heart skips a beat. He waddles by me and I swoon. I must scoop him up into my arms and cradle him like a baby, or perish. Is this why he still sometimes acts like a baby?

Just kidding, just kidding! He acts like a four-year-old now. Sometimes, even a child of the mature age of five.

After dressing himself in an outfit of which he's particularly proud, "Do I look like a five-year-old, Mom?" And after finishing his bowl of cereal in record-breaking speed (meaning before the cereal becomes one with the milk), "Did I eat as fast as a five (or even six)-year-old?"

I always answer emphatically in the affirmative because, let's face it, the child is fishing for praise, but come on now! Don't get all five-ish on me yet-- you are still too irresistible to be four!

No one can quite say just why I am so enamored with this son of mine. He does have this endearing vulnerability to him-- mechanical speech, built-in love handles and all. I sure hope I outgrow this uncontrollable feeling for him before he's old enough to be embarrassed of it.

Until that day, let me just bask in the sweet and snuggly splendor that is my Ery-muffin. (What a terrible nickname for a boy, I know, but have you seen this kid's muffin-top, prominent even in the nude?)

He is such a reprieve from the rapscallionish nature of a certain other boy in our household. I always thought I was such an effective mother. I'd successfully trained a polite, calm, well-behaved, imaginative little boy. No, not a polite, calm girl--that is less impressive. A calm and well-behaved BOY.

Ah well, Charlie had to go and shatter that illusion for me. Turns out I had nothing to do with it. Erik was just born the sweetest muffin in the tin. He is not everything perfect and well-behaved (and emotionally stable), but then he walks up to me and tells me, "you look so pwetty, Mom" or when I ask him what he liked about his day he throws his arms around my neck and grins, "evewyfing." Or he spontaneously informs me that "I love you all the way to... (this next part in a robotic voice)... outer space and heaven." So he's not perfect but, well actually, yeah actually, he is.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


I have no less than ten drafts awaiting elaboration in my "edit posts" file. They each require elaboration, though! So since my entire family is peacefully slumbering at the moment and I wish to be doing the same, I will quickly share an update of my four favorite people.

1. Kyle gets up every morning before I've even begun my final rem cycle, changes Charlie's poo, and fetches the cereal boxes from atop the fridge so Ellie can prepare breakfast for the crew. Then he works hard at a job he LOVES for only eight hours a day and is home for dinner. Don't get used to it, Tiff! Too late!

2. Ellie gave our Family Home Evening lesson on Monday because she was quite enthused about this object lesson she had developed. It went like this: she gave a plate of apple slices to Charlie and Erik for their immediate consumption and promptly left the room. Moments later she returned, shaking her head, then solemnly breaking the news to us that, "You weren't ready when I came. I'm Jesus, and you're not ready." Then she had Kyle read the parable of the ten virgins and bore her testimony about preparing for the second coming. (by eating your apple slices faster?) It was such a good effort, though, and made perfect sense in her spongy little cranium.

3. I really wonder about Erik in the public school system. Yes, they teach you to read, write, do arithmetic, and interact socially, but are they equipped to support the inner workings of Erik's imagination? The simple task of writing his name often becomes a very involved process. Each letter assumes the appearance of a stranger life form than the last, each with an increasing number of unusual characteristics. I don't know how he'll do in the legibility department, but at least his letters have multiple personalities... Extra credit???

4. One of Charlie's numerous "adorable" habits as of late is the spontaneous stripping of his pants and diaper, a hurried exit from my presence, and soon a confession that he did indeed intentionally pee on the carpet. Clearly, he is aware of my disapproval and yet the frequency of "purposes" (it's not an accident!) increases. Today I checked on him in his time-out corner (yes, he spends a lot of time there for various infractions) and he immediately admitted that he was standing in a puddle of his own urine. What was puzzling was that his diaper was completely intact and DRY. Upon closer inspection, of course, I gained a greater appreciation for his dexterity-- the kid thought to pull his little hose out the side of his diaper and let it run down his leg. Ingenious. So, is it time to commence potty training? Or just to up the severity of his punishments?

So, that's a snapshot of my four faves. They have their cute and not-so-cute moments, but every one of them has lovely, snuffaluffagus eyelashes. That makes up for a lot, especially when they're asleep.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Thunderbird deluxe

Well, you know how great I am not at bringing a camera to outings, and even not better at pulling it out when it's stowed along, but stealing photos from another's blog? Yes, I can do that. A tad outdated, but the following photos document some of the fun that was had with my T-bird girls in past months. Can I just say how much I love this club!? There are two-three events every week, including kids' activities (which I was in charge of last semester-- fun, but taxing), girls night outs, date nights, family field trips, potluck dinners, etc. I love to be over-scheduled, so thank you, T-bird ladies, for making that possible. Plus, everyone I've met at Thunderbird is among the coolest of humankind. Down-to-earth, friendly, wonderful people.

Ladies' bowling night out

Cerreta Chocolate Factory tour

Ladies' dont-have-to-cook-dinner night out

Ladies' game-night out

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


When Noelani told me she'd be able to get us all into Disneyland for free on the day of my choice, my head about imploded with excitement. The magic was ever alive in my young heart. I talked it up to the kids and just believed that, even sans Kyle, D-land would deliver as the "happiest place on earth."

Turns out it was the crappiest place on earth.

Okay, in truth, no crappier than any overcrowded, overpriced venue with no outlet for energetic toddlers. Still, expectations were high, remember? That was my first mistake. Within the first hour, those expectations were shattered and all of the kids had shared at least one emotional breakdown.

Basically, my high school bff Baha was the reason we got through that day, physically and emotionally. Rather than pout and whine about how awful it was to get my family into Disneyland for free, though, I will simply enumerate the circumstances under which I would consider ever getting in for free again in the future.

1. No children ill/screaming through the night/screaming through the day
2. No lines. Really, no lines. Not a one of us felt it worth spending the majority of the day waiting in lines for a few minutes of hyper-stimulation.
3. Help. More help. At least one additional helper.
4. OR leave Charlie behind.
5. OR wait until Charlie can be restrained for two minutes together without gracing the crowds with his signature banshee screams and violent attempts to be freed from the straight jacket that was the stroller, the ride seat belt, or my arms.

So, it will be a few years.

All in all, Noe and I aged quite a bit from the stress and exertion, but emerged triumphant in the end. (Only in the very end, though. We were about to leave when Ellie and I had an impromptu sob session, with different causes of distress. I refused to leave the so-called happiest place on earth in tears, so we squeezed in one extra ride so we could exit the park emotionally stable.)

You know, it's been over three months since the trip, and I remember feeling that it was horrific, and yet time has already abstracted those negative emotions. I even found myself trying to convince Kyle the other day that I'm ready to go back, so long as he comes with. He just shook his head in amazement. Is my memory truly that blurry? Must be like childbirth-- it wasn't THAT bad, right?

Well, we all look mostly happy in the pictures, at least. Even Charlie looks happy in the ones where he's escaping from me and running away.

Yes, Charlie is wearing pajama pants over his fleece-lined jeans. Can't win every battle.

Not surprisingly, Erik was the most content of all of us throughout the trip.

See, we did too meet Mickey Mouse!

Ha ha, the kids slept in their clothes and wore them again the next day.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

The rumors are true...

Just in case there's still a feeble audience out there, I am finally feeling stable enough to declare an official apology for my lack of posts concerning


Don't get me wrong-- there has been plenty of kid, food, and fun to be had. Rather than do anything about absolutely any of that, though, I have dedicated my days to the pursuit of


and growing one of these.

Whew! I sure miss any semblance of energy and enjoyment of food, but it's all good because by

this bad boy (or girl) of a fetal humanoid will be out of me! And in even better news, I'm 14 weeks along and darn well better start feeling better soon. But if not, that's all good too because I figure I'm still pretty ridiculously fortunate to be doing what I'm doing here.

Thankfully, BEFORE the onset of first trimester symptoms, I recorded a few of my feelings of elation concerning my pregnant state. That account will be coming in another post, along with an incomplete record of whatever I've photographed over the past three months.

And just in case I didn't come through in a very positive tone there, YES we are ecstatic to be having yet another one of our kind.