Monday, December 31, 2012


My parents are serving a mission in Jacksonville, Florida so we decided a quick trip to visit them would be awesome during the holidays.  Map quest put the trip at 12 hrs 12 minutes from doorstep to doorstep, and although that wasn't what we were looking forward to, we decided it beat the costly alternative.

We left a couple days after Christmas and started our six state tour down south.  Our children traveled awesome!  Matt and I seriously don't think they could have done better.  Maybe we should clarify ... we knew Wes, Kate and Sophie would be able to handle it.  Joshua was the big question mark.  But we made the trip down in 14 1/2 hrs, and the trip back in 13 1/2.  He did great and we timed our stops according to when his crankiness before nap time would be.

We didn't prepare like we should have for the historical and site-seeing part of the trip.  And now in hind-site  we're kicking ourselves for it, but I guess that means we'll have to swing back down again sometime, although not in time for my parents to still be there. 

Joshua started to really have a hard time in Georgia and we were trying to find a park to run around and play for a while, but the GPS took us to a non-existent park in the middle of what looked like the bayou from Princess and the Frog. 
My parents later told us that the stuff growing on the trees is called Florida Moss or Spanish Moss.

My parents live in a cute little 2 bedroom apartment and were so nice to let our family overtake their place for 4 days.  

The first full day we were there we went to Amelia Island and Fernadina Beach.  Our kids could have stayed there a couple of hours looking at all of the seashells.  

Then we went on to St. Augustine, America's oldest city.  I can't remember exactly, but the trolley guide lady said that it was established something like 55 years before Plymouth Rock, and 40 years before Jamestown.  It's a tourist trap and so awesomely beautiful with it's palm trees, Spanish architecture and fun, walkable streets, shops and historic places.

Here's Wes standing before the oldest school house in the U.S.

 When it got dark we got on the Holly Jolly Trolley, and outfitted with our 3D glasses that make the lights look like stars/snowflakes, we toured through the city again.  It was so beautiful.

On Sunday we went to my parent's ward and were able to meet many of the people they've talked so much about over this last year.

Sunday afternoon we decided to take a drive around nearby historical Kingsley Plantation.  It turned out that the gates closed at 5 p.m. and so the only shots we got were from the outside of the gates.  But the drive into the area was awesome and I kept thinking we'd happen upon an alligator because of the tropical/bayou feeling of it all.  I'm sure my parents thought I was a little dramatic about the whole thing, but it was awesome to see such different foliage than Maryland's.
 Here's a shot from just outside the gates.  The white half-structure on the left and the building on the right were the living quarters of the slaves.  My parents said they've been white washed or something, in the renovation process because they weren't that white when they went there before.
 On the way back from the plantation I had to take a picture of this house on 6-foot cinder block stilts because it's right alongside one of the gigantic rivers there.
I wish we would have gotten pictures of all the states welcome signs as we were driving.  But we were just plowing through and hoping to make it before there were too many meltdowns, but with the five new states we visited, Wes, Kate and Sophie's state number is up to 24, and Joshua's at 11.  

It was awesome to spend some time with my parents and to have our children be with them while on their mission.  I can't believe I never got a full-on picture of them, we were too busy looking at everything else. 

We love you Grandma and Grandpa!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Getting some air

Our little monkey is about to move up to a bed ... mainIy out of necessity and safety.  He figured out how to cIimb out of his crib a few weeks ago, and is making regular practice of it now.  Good thing Matt's winter break is aImost here and making bed frames for Kate and Sophie so Joshua can have one of their's, is on the Iist; moved up in priority, actuaIIy, due to our Iittle Air Jordan.

(If there's some way I couId have Matt construct a computer keyboard with aII keys that actuaIIy worked consistenIy, that wouId take priority too:).)

Sunday, December 9, 2012

And then they were 7!

(I didn't mean for this to be such a lengthy flashback, but it is:))

I just realized I haven't documented a momentous occasion we had a couple of weeks ago.

 Wesley Jack and Miss Kate turned 7! 

Now where did that time go?  It seems like just a couple of years ago Matt and I went to an Aggie Basketball game, went home to bed, woke up to go to the bathroom (me, not Matt;)), and whamo, Wesley's sack broke with an ensuing gush of fluid.  Then the crazy mix of feelings: giddiness, panic (since it was November and they weren't due until January, although that sounds worse than it really was (5 weeks premature)), and the overwhelming feeling of can we really be parents?

Backpedal a bit ... I vividly remember how heavy and stretched I felt as I walked to the car after the game, and how I supported my belly with my arms and hands as I walked.  I also vividly remember walking with Matt around the entire outside of the hospital when we realized the front door wasn't open and we'd have to go in through the emergency room doors, all the while I was leaking more and more fluid - sorry if that's too much information, but it is still very fresh in my memory:).  I remember the bite in the air .. it was a really cold night, and I was the first of many other women who came in that night, which the nurses said happens when temperature and other meteorological statistics plummet.  I also remember sending Matt home during the night so he could get some sleep, since I wasn't going anywhere and wasn't feeling any contractions they said I was having.  We only lived 6 blocks from the hospital and so it's not like he was far away - that way we were both able to get some sleep before the big entry into the world the following afternoon.

I also remember the disappointment I felt when I learned my doctor wasn't on call that weekend.  He had been with us through five years of childlessness.  But when the morning came, a Sunday, I thought of the perfect plan.  I was serving in Young Women's at the time at church and my doctor's wife was serving with me too.  So Matt called her to let her know that I wouldn't be at church because we were having our babies.  Twenty minutes later my doctor walked in, huge grin and all.  He said he wouldn't miss that day for the world.  He said that some of his most spiritual experiences were while delivering babies, so missing part of church was okay by him.  How awesome was that?!

After many hours of nothing, the show had to be prodded, so I was hooked up to a pit drip, wheeled into the operating room (in case they needed to perform an emergency c-section, which they didn't), and we soon had a beautiful baby boy born.

I'll pause here for a moment to describe what I remember.  When Wes was delivered they weighed him almost immediately and Matt announced that he was 6 lbs.  I was amazed! That's pretty big for being so early.  When the doctor's briefly let me hold Wes, I remember  how beautiful he was.  He had a perfectly round head, and beautiful skin color and beautiful features.

Soon after Wesley was delivered I remember my doctor's demeanor changed.  He got right down to business and said, "we've got to get the other baby out quickly, so I'm going in after her." or something along those lines.  I remember him adjusting his gloves and then putting his hand so far inside me that it was really uncomfortable, even with the epidural blocking the pain.  Kate was still very high.

My doctor pulled her out, legs first and I remember seeing her limp little body flop around.  I don't remember any panic or fear.  I've wondered about that, but I think part of me was still in shock or la-la land about
the whole ordeal, and part of me knew that she was going to be okay.  Matt says the assisting doctor told him our little girl needed help breathing and could he be given permission to do all he could to help her.  Of course, Matt said, and they whisked her off.  Matt was able to go see her shortly thereafter in the NICU, but I didn't see her for a couple of hours.

When I saw Kate my feelings were very different than those I felt when I saw Wesley.  She looked so much thinner than he did.  Her head was so much smaller than his that I worried.  Her birth weight was 5 lbs. 4 oz., but she was a half an inch longer than Wes.  The combination of the two just made her look so thin.  But still, 5 lbs. 4 oz. is a fantastic weight for a preemie.  She had the same coloring as Wes, but other than that there were no other similarities.  She just needed more time to grow.

Kate was on a ventilator over night, but then after receiving medicine for her lungs, was able to go to an oxygen tube in her nose.

After 10 days in the NICU we brought them home, just in time for Christmas.

Wow, what an awesome 7 years it has been.  Wes and Kate are not alike at all and we love it!  They are so different in demeanor and looks, that I don't think of them as twins any more.  Here's a short list of what they are at this age:

Wes:  Very particular about everything; detail oriented; responsible; likes to be right.

Kate:  Loves everyone in the world; is very kind; doesn't like schedules/restrictions.

Matt's often said the reason we couldn't have children for those first few years is because Wes and Kate needed to come together.  We LOVE them so much!  Our home wouldn't be the same without them.  They are not shy at all and so full of life, which means our house is pretty raucous (boisterously disorderly) most of the time:).

(I need to scan in some pictures of them as babies since I don't have them on this computer)

Friday, December 7, 2012

Gallery Debut

So much paperwork comes home from school that sometimes I glance at something and its contents may not completely register until later.  That's what happened with a letter sent home about some work Kate had done in art class.  I looked for the same letter in Wes' folder but there wasn't one, but still I didn't think much of it.

When Matt came home from work he said, "do we need to go to this?", so I looked at the paper again. 

Your child's artwork was chosen to be displayed at the Ward Museum's 'Life on the Eastern Shore' exhibit.  Or something close to that.  Then it stated the date of the reception and how long the exhibit would run.  So we packed up everyone tonight to see what it was all about.

There was a gallery displaying several art projects and pictures from area schools, grades K-12.  And sure enough, Kate's Blue Heron was among them.

It was such a fun event and I'm so glad we actually went.  There were treats, wreath making with wood wreaths and cloth acorns, cool art displays since it is a museum about water fowl ... mostly carvings that were really beautiful; it was just an enjoyable, spur of the moment evening.