Friday, October 13, 2017

Welcome Baby #11, Gideon Maxwell!

Gideon Maxwell

born on Tuesday, 10/10, at 11:03 a.m.  

Seven pounds, twelve ounces, and 19.5 inches of perfection.

If anyone needs me, here's what I'll be doing for the next three months!  I don't want to miss a single moment.  :)

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

One a Day: August 2017

Senior pictures with my neice

I fell down the stairs, landed hard on a twisted foot and got a huge baseball-size bruise.  I couldn't walk the first day, hobbled the second, but by the end of a week, I felt great again.  Such a blessing, because I thought I might have broken it! 

Day One of Family Vacation:  Exploring the City of Rocks National Monument in Idaho.

Day 2:  Floating the Boise River (Benji and I went to the zoo instead)

Day 3:  The oldest five and my husband floated the Payette River.  The younger ones wished they could have gone, but the rafting tour we chose was for twelve and up.

Day 4:  McCall, Idaho.  We stayed in a little cabin near the lake and rented a jet ski for the afternoon.

Day 5:  Canoeing

Day 6:  Day hike

Beautiful Payette Lake

Heading home

Harmony wanted a picture with her eyes all dilated; we took her to an eye doctor to check on her occasional lazy eye.  He says it is not anything to worry about.

First Day of School for our High School students

First Day for the elementary (Kindergarten started two weeks later)

First Day for the Middle Schoolers

Provo MTC tour

Playing dolls with his sister Cami

Leading the music for Family Home Evening

We drove to Idaho for the total eclipse.  Stunning experience.

Best friends

These three accompanied my husband on nearly all his runs this summer.  Here they are, gearing up for his 20-miler!

A feast prepared for Lillian's last day at home.

Moving into the dorms

Best friends!

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Life at 38.5*

* weeks, that is.  In years, I'm solidly 39 and will be 40 in a month.  But it's the weeks right now that count, as I finish up my very last week of pregnancy -- probably the last week ever in my life I'll be pregnant.  I'm feeling very much done and I'm counting down the days until my induction next week.  My belly is cutting into my ribs on the right side, I'm not sleeping fabulously, and I feel huge and awkward.
36 weeks

On the other hand, I'm ridiculously healthy and so is the pregnancy.  I had a week or so of horrible sciatic nerve pain a while back, but it has gone away.  I feel richly blessed that I've been able to carry eleven children to term with nothing other than minor things to complain about.  I have healthy pregnancies, quick labors, and sweet babies and I have been thanking God in my prayers for all three.  I hope everything continues to go well.

* If I were to rank pregnancies for difficulty, the twins one would be right up at at the top.  This one would be about average.  I know some women have found that aging has made it harder and harder for them, but for me, I haven't found that to be the case.  Part of that, I'm sure, is because I have kept up my physical health in the last decade.  I've lost weight, taken up running and have always tried to have fitness goals.  2017 will be my first year since 2011 that I have NOT run a half marathon.  However, I did put in a lot more training time for the triathlon I ran in April at 13 weeks than I have for some of my half marathons.  And though I stopped running around 20 weeks, stopped swimming in June, and stopped cycling around the same time, I have kept up with a lot of walking and I've kept up a regular weights routine that I'm sure is part of the reason I'm doing so well right now.  My weights routine takes about 70 minutes and includes doing a group of the strength machines at the gym, followed by 100 lunges, 100 squats with 30 or 20 lb weights, some free weight exercises for shoulders, biceps and triceps, some abs, and a couple of wall sits.  I have tried to do it about once a week and I know it's helping.

* I thought about waiting to go into labor on my own just to see if or when it happens, but then I remembered all the reasons I like getting induced, not the least of which is the peace of mind in knowing that I won't end up having a baby in the elevator at the hospital, which actually happened to a friend of mine.  My labors go very quickly, even with induction.  I only push through a few contractions, and labor progresses very quickly -- I often go from a 4 to fully dilated within ten minutes.  Before Benji was born, I compiled all my birth stats and stories into this blog post.  I just added Benji's stats.  Four of my six inductions have lasted between 2.5 and 3 hours.  The twins' birth took 5.5 hours and Katie's, which was done more slowly since I didn't want an epidural, was 6 hours.  I'm hopeful that 3 hour-ish trend continues.  It makes bouncing back a lot easier.

* In other news, my oldest daughter has moved out.  She's got a great group of roommates at BYU and a challenging and exciting course load (she's heading in the direction of math and Economics, hoping to do monetary policy work someday).  We didn't see a lot of her last year because she was always busy, so in some ways, it hasn't been that hard to have her gone.  Still, when we wake up in the morning to gather for scriptures or set the table for our meals, or count to make sure we're all accounted for before we start family home evening, we miss her.  We are blessed that she lives close enough to come over for Sunday dinner, though.  Last week, she even came over Saturday night to make sure we didn't forget our General Conference tradition of having butterscotch rolls Sunday morning.  I'm sure it will be a lot harder in a year, when she is planning on serving a mission for our Church.  It's so weird to be starting the process of getting things in order for that to happen.  We've already talked to the dentist and scheduled her wisdom teeth to come out, and her paperwork can be submitted in December or January.

*  I think I've said this a dozen times, but I love this stage of my life!  I love that I get to really savor and enjoy my little ones.  The crazy, irrational things they do don't phase me -- I've seen it all before! -- while the exhausting years of being a young mom with lots of little ones are behind me.  Dividing up the housework and meals among a whole army of teenagers and middle kids means no one has too much to do, including me.

*  Benji is adored, as always. He and Cami get along beautifully.  She has an innate sense for how to include him in all of her games, from gathering up dolls and carrying them around in a wagon to playing with the dishes and food in the pretend kitchen.  It's funny, because several of my older daughters try to "play" with Benji by taking over -- trying to show him how to do things and trying to direct him in the way they think he wants to play -- and he will have none of it and will scream in protest.  But that doesn't happen with Cami.  She is just perfect for him and they are great friends, despite their 3.5 year age gap.

* Cami is enjoying kindergarten in the afternoons, and I'm enjoying the time to get a nap while Benji sleeps.  Last week, he unexpectedly stopped napping, preferring instead to play in his crib for an hour (he loves to be put to bed with some trucks and other toys) and then get up.  I started to panic a bit, knowing how essential that naptime is going to be once this baby is born.  But this week, he's doing better with napping, thank goodness.

* My husband ran his second marathon two weeks ago, while my thirteen-year-old daughter Allison ran her first half marathon.  They both did awesome.  We had a lot going on that day and the marathon was over 90 minutes away, so the two of them planned to go alone.  Without telling them, I drove up with my five youngest that morning and met them at mile 7/20.  They were both happily surprised and the kids had so much fun cheering on all the runners.  Benji was especially cute, giving the runners high fives and then running off into the nearby fields.  We leapfrogged the course, cheering at every half mile or so, while Eliza hopped on her bike and rode beside her dad.

"Mom, what are you doing here?"

* I'm trying not to focus too much on the many tragedies going on in the world right now.  Harvey, Irma and Maria.  Earthquakes in Mexico.  The mass shooting in Las Vegas.  I pray for our world.

* General Conference was particularly poignant and meaningful for me this time, with so many messages that gave me just the uplift I needed.  I found myself saying to my kids after each talk, "I think that was my favorite so far!"  Some of those I especially enjoyed in the first two sessions were:

"Women who have repented change the course of history. I have a friend who was in a car accident when she was young, and from that, she became addicted to pain medication. Later on, her parents divorced. She became pregnant from a brief relationship, and her addictions continued. But one night, she looked at the chaos and mess of her life and thought, “Enough.” She cried out to the Savior Jesus Christ to help her. She said she learned that Jesus Christ was stronger than even her terrible circumstances and that she could rely on His strength as she walked the road of repentance.

Sister Linda K. Burton told the story of a stake Relief Society president who, working with others, collected quilts for people in need during the 1990s. “She and her daughter drove a truck filled with those quilts from London to Kosovo. On her journey home she received an unmistakable spiritual impression that sank deep into her heart. The impression was this: ‘What you have done is a very good thing. Now go home, walk across the street, and serve your neighbor!’”3
What good does it do to save the world if we neglect the needs of those closest to us and those whom we love the most? How much value is there in fixing the world if the people around us are falling apart and we don’t notice? Heavenly Father may have placed those who need us closest to us, knowing that we are best suited to meet their needs.

"Some of us question whether Heavenly Father can use us to make important contributions. But remember, He has always used ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things (see 1 Corinthians 1:27–28; D&C 35:13; 124:1). “[We] are agents,” and “the power is in [us]” to “bring to pass much righteousness” (D&C 58:27–28).3"
"The symbolism of the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper is beautiful to contemplate. The bread and water represent the flesh and blood of Him who is the Bread of Life and the Living Water,12 poignantly reminding us of the price He paid to redeem us. As the bread is broken, we remember the Savior’s torn flesh. Elder Dallin H. Oaks once observed that “because it is broken and torn, each piece of bread is unique, just as the individuals who partake of it are unique. We all have different sins to repent of. We all have different needs to be strengthened through the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ, whom we remember in this ordinance.”13 As we drink the water, we think of the blood He shed in Gethsemane and on the cross and its sanctifying power.14 Knowing that “no unclean thing can enter into his kingdom,” we resolve to be among “those who have washed their garments in [the Savior’s] blood, because of their faith, and the repentance of all their sins, and their faithfulness unto the end.”15 .  . .
 This suggests the need for a mighty striving on our part. We cannot be content to remain as we are but must be moving constantly toward “the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.”17 Like King Lamoni’s father in the Book of Mormon, we must be willing to give away all our sins18 and focus on what the Lord expects of us, individually and together."

* Fall has been stunning in our mountains.  A week ago, we had a very cold spell which left a lot of snow at the top of the mountains.  Joey, Sarah, and I drove up to get some photos of it.

* On Sunday, after a day of rain, we added Cami to our group and drove up for more photos.  There wasn't as much snow by then, but the colors are at their peak right now.  One of these is going on the wall for sure:


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