Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Holidays Are Over!

Well, we woke up to a wonderful surprise this morning. It's been storming (rain) ever since yesterday morning but throughout the night it turned into snow and everything in Bagdad is covered! I love it. Except for the fact that I'm supposed to drive to my last doctor appointment today and Prescott's weather is much worse. Hopefully I can still go.

Our Christmas was very laid back and quiet. It was really nice and we had a good time with our boys, but it did feel slightly empty without the Meyers and the Coltharps. The Meyers were originally going to come and then couldn't, so we sure missed them. But It was still great starting the traditions we love with our little guys and seeing their excitement.

Christmas Eve we went to Prescott and had dinner at Golden Corral, and decided to make it a yearly tradition. I guess you can call it our "Christmas dinner," except we weren't going to have a Christmas dinner anyway. Instead, we just got a lot of fun snack foods (shrimp, jalapeno poppers, lit'l smokies, etc.) and had them out all day on Christmas day. The older couple at the table next to us was very friendly and was chatting it up with our boys the whole time and when we got to talking to him we found out he was a retired Pastor who was trying to spread the word that night about Christ and the real reason for the season. He even gave us something similar to what we, as Mormons, call a pass-along card. It definitely added to the Christmas spirit.

Then we headed over to the Courthouse, where all the trees were decorated in lights, and walked around the grounds. There's a HUGE, ancient pine tree in the front that was all decked out in flashing lights and had speakers in the branches playing Christmas music, so Sam and Josh (along with a bunch of other tiny kids) had a blast running around and dancing beneath it. I'm still kicking myself that I didn't bring the camera.

When we got home that night we let them open one present (their new pajamas, of course), we put out milk and a frosted sugar cookie for Santa, sent the kids to bed, and then Santa came and left his spoils.

The boys on Christmas Eve in their new PJ's.

Their many gifts...

When the boys woke up that next morning, Sam was SO excited to run out and find so many presents. We got his reaction on video, so click HERE if you want to see it. And don't mind my voice...I woke up that morning with a nasty cold, which at the time I thought was just allergies...until by the middle of the day I felt like someone threw a brick at my face. Anyway, They loved opening their presents, but Josh, being the age he is, started losing interest very quickly and needed a little help getting going. He kept getting distracted by the goodies and the orange in his stocking and I think was more interested in wanting to eat those most of the time. But Sam's excitement was contagious and Josh caught most of it.

Starting the journey...

Their Toy Story toys. Sam swears they come to life when we aren't around and gets excited when going to bed at night because he knows they're alive in his toy drawer.

T-ball set from Grandma and Grandpa Coltharp. Hopefully we can get Sam ready for when he starts in the Spring!

Opening their Hotwheels.

Wearing the hats from the Stewarts! They also gave us a little tool set with a drill and a saw, and as soon as Sam opened the first thing from them, he screamed, "Uncle Brand's hats!"

Sam opening his Hotwheels track from Grandma and Grandpa Coltharp, and Josh after opening a CD from Grandma and Grandpa Meyers.

Opening the Home Depot workbench...and Josh getting distracted once again by his treats...

They loved their gifts from Santa and both sets of Grandparents. And thanks to some hand-me-down toys that Sam and Josh loved every time they went to the Stewart's house (yes, I wrapped them because I'm cheap, okay), they had quite the load of gifts. HERE is another video of them opening their Hotwheels cars (one of their favorite gifts and the things they play with more religiously than anything else). The fighting over those had started almost immediately that morning, and continues just as bad today. They each got their own ten pack, but that doesn't stop Sam from thinking he deserves to play with ALL of them. I'm still working on how to get him to share with his brother, since it seems to be his biggest challenge.

Playing with their Hotwheels as soon as opening presents was over. I think Josh was just excited to have his very own, finally.

But the thing that Sam got the most excited about, the thing that he's been asking Santa for for the last three months, was his remote control car (truck). So, of course, we saved that one for last. HERE is the priceless video of him opening it.

The aftermath, and Dave putting the batteries in Sam's RC truck.

Josh on the slide from Grandma and Grandpa Meyers. He LOVES this thing and spent most of that day on it. And of course, just as I predicted, they love rolling their cars down it...and fighting over it.

Then, after all the presents were opened, we went over to the Sipes's house for breakfast pizza (DELICIOUS) and the boys had fun playing with Clint and Douglas's new toys. Thanks, Tara, for the food! Then the rest of the day was pretty lazy for us, and pretty exciting for the boys as they spent it playing with all their toys. I also cleaned their room really good earlier that week and packed away some old toys, threw some away, and put all the rest in their room. So our family room is toy-free! Woo-hoo! It's very nice. That way we could put their new toys in their room. Yes, they do bring them out in the family room a lot, especially the Hotwheels--and the slide from Grandma and Grandpa Meyers is currently out there--but other than that, the mess stays in their room.

Sam's cool Hotwheels track that attaches to tables.

Josh playing with the Toy Story toys and eating his Christmas orange (and half of Sam's).

Also, ONE WEEK from today is my induction! Crazy! I have mostly everything ready, except for the last few things that need to go in Dave and I's overnight bag, the boys's overnight bag, and in the emergency roadside kit for the car (in case I go into labor before the induction and don't make it to the hospital). I also have to say thanks to some amazing friends who were so willing to volunteer to take the kiddos for us when we have the baby--Tara and Lydia, you guys are lifesavers and we'd be SOL without you!

And I just have to mention that I'm looking out the window right now and there's a blizzard...IN BAGDAD!! :)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas!

...I really am. Not the soggy, wet, rainy one we've been having all week. But that comes with the territory I guess. A lot to update on! First of all, I want to apologize to everyone for not doing a Christmas card this year. I usually love doing them, but these last couple of months have been sort of crazy and I just didn't have enough time or motivation. So, to everyone out there...MERRY CHRISTMAS! And thanks to everyone who has sent us cards/pictures/newsletters. I absolutely love getting them.

We are getting really excited for Christmas in our house! Anytime we talk about it, Sam gets so giddy he nearly loses his breath! I love it! Christmas just isn't the same when you're an adult, but having little kids who look forward to it brings back some of the same feelings I felt when I was little. I absolutely LOVE that they (mostly Sam) are getting into it. The anticipation of Santa and presents... I just love it. I have had more fun with getting their gifts and wrapping them this year than ever before. It's the first year Sam has actually asked for things and has had an understanding of the holiday and Santa, so it's the first year we will be doing the whole Santa thing.

We are extremely bummed/sad/disappointed that the Meyers will not be with us this year like we thought, but we are going to do our best to replicate the holiday we usually spend with all our family and enjoy it as the tiny family we will be this year, all on our own. We are going to have a little Christmas Eve thing and let the boys open one present (their PJ's of course) and then when they're in bed, "Santa" will come and leave all their presents under the tree.

And I've been talking about the excitement of Santa and presents, but of course we have not forgotten what the season is all about. On Christmas Eve we will be doing a "lesson" about the birth of the Savior and I'm sure, along with all Sam has been learning at church, he will love it.

Speaking of Sam and church, Sam will be starting Sunbeams in two weeks! I cannot believe my BABY will be in Primary! Crazy! He has been going for half the time the past couple of weeks so he can ease into it and the Sunbeams teacher has told us he is one of the most reverent in the class. It doesn't surprise me. Our little Sam has always been so grown-up and seems way too old for nursery now. Josh will miss his brother in there, but he's so independent now I'm sure he will be just fine.

And since this is considered our "Christmas card," I'll give updates on everyone. Josh is still our little runt of a fighter and loves to rough-house. Sam doesn't always appreciate it, but Daddy sure loves it. Hopefully he doesn't try to rough up Luke too much. Between him and the cat, I'm a little worried. But Josh is also very lovable and loves giving hugs and kisses, and loves his fuzzy stuffed elephant he sleeps with every night. One of my favorite things to see is him cuddling and hugging it, just like Sam does with all his "buddies" (his little stuffed animals he carries with him everywhere and sleeps with).

Josh is still extremely slow on his speech. Actually, he has hit a wall and isn't really progressing at all. He says things like "uh-oh" and "ouch," and makes sounds, but he will not say a single word voluntarily, never calls anything by name, and when he does "talk," it's just pointing and a low grunting that all sounds the same. He will only repeat a word you want him to say about 20% of the time, and when he does, most of the time it doesn't even sound like the word. Mostly when you urge him to say even the simplest word, he just does his Joshie grunt.

Last time I talked about this I mentioned one of our concerns was the possibility of fluid in his ears, which is a common thing for little kids who aren't talking. They put tubes in their ears and--wa-la--they start talking. But Josh had his last evaluation two days ago with the Arizona Early Intervention Program to determine the level of his need and they did the hearing test and it came back that Josh hears beautifully, with no interference. So once they get scoring back from their tests, we will determine what he needs done, if any at all. They told me that even without the results, they're pretty sure from their observances that he will need some sort of speech therapy, because it's very clear that he wants to communicate and talk, but can't properly. And by this age, he should be showing some sort of progress. As I mentioned before, he is scoring very high in every other area, which we are happy about, but just needs some help in communication. So we will be finding out the results to that in the next couple days and let everyone know!

The pregnancy is...still going. Physically, I am VERY ready for it to be over. I'm huge and stretched beyond my bounds, can barely move, and have constant feet/hands in my ribs. But in every other way I feel so unprepared. I have absolutely nothing ready that needs to be ready and have SO much to get done in the next two weeks before I deliver. It's actually quite overwhelming, especially because our family has been hit with the wretched flu and it's been making its rounds to each of us, therefore halting my progress on accomplishing anything around the house. There is so much to do, I don't even know where to start. So until I have everything accomplished that needs to be done, I will in no way feel ready to have this baby. So during the next two weeks I will be doing all I can so that when it's time for Luke to come, it's as stress-free as possible!

And yes, I did say two weeks (two weeks from tomorrow, actually). After much contemplation and prayer, we have decided to follow the doctor's urging and get induced. At my appointment yesterday we scheduled it for Thursday, January 6. That's only five days before my due date, and I had both Sam and Josh five days before my due date, so I wanted to do it a couple days before that, just to be safe, but that was the soonest that week that either of my OBs will be available to deliver.

We had a lengthy conversation with my doctor yesterday about the procedure and how it works, and that helped ease my fears a little, since all I had to go on before was other people's opinions, but I am still nervous. Just because every woman is different and every labor is different, and I have no idea how it will go for me or what to expect. I'm hoping that since I'll be at the point I was at when I had my other children, when they break my water my body will be so ready that labor will start immediately...and happen normally and move at a quick pace.

But that's just my prayers. I have no idea what will happen and I do know that anything is possible and I need to be prepared for anything...even a higher amount of pain that could lead me to getting an epidural, which every fiber of my being is turned off to (just going from past experience).

Also, I need to be prepared for the fact that because it's scheduled five days before, I could very likely go into labor on my own before that...which would be GREAT and ideal...IF I could get to the birthing center in time.

For any of you who don't know why I was thinking about induction in the first place, it's because of how far we live from the birthing center/hospital. The hospital used to be about an hour and fifteen minutes away, but since I've had Josh the birthing center moved and now it's almost a two hour drive. When I went into labor with Josh it went very quickly and I made it to the hospital just in time. And those things coupled with the fact that with each baby your labors usually move more quickly, my doctor strongly urged it.

We went back and forth, and for a while I was so set on letting it all happen naturally and when it "wanted" to that I kept telling myself that "as long as I leave at the very first sign of labor, I'll be just fine." But I know women in my situation have said that before and weren't so lucky. So even though I didn't want to "force" labor to start when my body wasn't ready and didn't want to up the chance that I'd need medication, etc., more than anything I don't want to have my baby on the side of the road. So after weighing it out, we realized that the "risks" of induction are far more acceptable than the safety risks of not being able to make it to the birthing center in time.

So that's that. And yesterday we took a tour of the new birthing center and I am extremely impressed. I loved it. SO much better than the old hospital. I love that it's very family oriented and they promote baby staying with mom and dad all the time. They do EVERYTHING in the room with you and only take the baby out for the circumcision (if you want one). It's just one nice room you stay in the whole time (LDR all in one room) and there is even a bed for Dave to sleep on instead of the uncomfortable pull-out chair. I also love their attitude of breastfeeding and their belief that as soon as the baby is born, he needs to be placed skin-to-skin, etc. It's also very quiet and low-stress--quite a different feel from the hospital I gave birth to Josh at. So, all-in-all I'm trying to stay positive and think it will be a good experience!

That's all that's going on with us for now. I will post again after Christmas, most likely with pictures. :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Thanksgiving in Colorado

We spent this last week or so in Colorado and as usual, it went by way to quick. One minute we were anxiously driving there and the next we were grudgingly driving home. But it was so much fun and so good to spend time with family. It was very needed. The week was really busy and packed full of fun things, like going to the museum, but even the downtime and spending quality time with family at Grandma Culling's cemetery were memorable. We even took the kids to see Santa at the Streets of Southglenn (the picture above).

For Thanksgiving, Dad and Mom Coltharp, Mike and Heather Lee, and Jonah came to the Meyers and we had one giant dinner together. I have to say, personally, that I was a fan of that because I don't usually like going back and forth to two different dinners. But it was lots of fun and the food was fabulous!

We went Black Friday shopping, of course, that night and early the next morning, and though I felt it the day afterward, it was well worth it because we got EVERYTHING on our list. Now the kids' Christmas shopping is done, and even Dave and I got a little something we wanted. I've been wanting a Dyson for years and finally found a good enough deal on one (Yay! Death to our old Bissel!), and Dave, being inspired by his beautiful, talented younger sisters, decided he wanted to take up guitar. So he bought one, and he is determined to learn! He actually has to learn a Christmas song by the time the Meyers come for Christmas in a few weeks. He says he was guilted into it, but he likes having goals. :)

The next few weeks will be crazy busy for me. I have no idea, actually, how I will do all I have to do. I am due in less than 6 weeks (if it goes like the other two), so I have the next 3 weeks to get all the baby stuff ready (I have NOTHING done), then the Meyers will be here (CAN'T WAIT!!), then before I know it, I will be about to pop. Literally. I can't imagine how I will get any bigger than I already am.

Anyway, I was HORRIBLE at taking pictures when in Colorado (I think I took a total of two, and they were of my kids), but thanks to the efforts of other family members, we got some good ones. Here are a few. For more, you can visit my facebook page, where I have many more posted.

At the museum...

Sam LOVED the silly mirror.

Sam telling Santa that he wanted a remote control car for Christmas.

The best family picture we could get, thanks to the cold wind and Josh's crankiness. I know it looks a little awkward. I'm huge.

Mary, Jenni, and Dave playing their guitars (Dave learning).

Mom and Josh in the cemetery.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

True Fact: Life Isn't Fair

Other than a couple big things (which I blogged about earlier), nothing huge has been going on here. Just little things, like my kids' allergies being the end of me. For the last few weeks, their allergies have been acting up like CRAZY (mostly Sam) and it has been a huge struggle every single night for us. In the last three weeks/month it's safe to say I have not slept solidly through the night. On average, Sam is waking up about 3 to 4 times a night, sometimes more (last night between the both of them it was 6 times in 7 hours). Not only is climbing in and out of bed on a continual basis painful for me, but it's extremely exhausting. Most days I feel like I'm in a dream state, where I don't know what's real and what's not, because as soon as I start to drift back to sleep and slip into a peaceful state, I am woken again by screaming or legs kicking the wall. Let's just say Sam doesn't handle the annoying itchy feeling in his nose very well, accompanied with constant running.

I have tried EVERYTHING, too. The only option left is to get an air purifier for their room, which we are doing this week. I have taken some awesome suggestions from friends/family, but so far, nothing works. Not even medicine like Benedryl or Claritan. I just wish Arizona would start cooling down already. It's so frustrating. Because I'm sure as soon as it does, and there are less allergens in the air, that will help. Winter come, PLEASE...for the sake of my sleep and sanity!!!

And you would think that after a while, you'd get used to the constant interrupted sleep, but you don't. Trust me. Your body never adjusts to being depleted. I know it sounds completely dramatic, but I really don't know how much longer it can go on like this...especially when I'm already run down and starving for sleep as a pregnant mom. And I realized in two months, when Lucas comes, I will be up all night with him (hoping not, but just going off of the way both Sam and Josh were as newborns...) and then what? What if Sam and Josh (again, mainly Sam) aren't better by then? Do I just say "screw sleep" in general and stay awake all night? Because that's how it will be. I just PRAY, harder than I did with Josh and Sam, that Luke will be a good newborn, a good eater, and a good sleeper. Because I have yet to know what that feels like.

But even if he IS like Josh and wants to eat 3 times throughout the night, even that isn't as bad as how much I'm waking up now. Balance, please!

Anyway, enough of my complaining...on that subject. I apologize to everyone who ever talks to me lately, because I know it's probably all I do. I try to be positive, I really do. Sometimes I just feel like the horrible way I feel physically (not just with exhaustion, but all the other pregnancy pains and contractions), puts a blanket over everything else and it's almost impossible to see anything through it sometimes.

But speaking of positive things! (Wait, were we?) Tomorrow we start our 15 hour trek to Colorado!!! Yay! I can't even express how thrilled I am. Even the uncomfortable car ride is worth it. It's been almost a year since we've been there as a family (and since we've seen the Meyers gang) and it's way overdue. I am so excited to see family and for Josh to bond with the family he hardly knows. Arizona is too far away and we are both (Dave and I) looking forward to this break. Now, I just pray me and the kids have good health. Usually (actually, every time) when we travel, at least one of us is sick...usually the kids. Dave had the horrible stomach flu yesterday and I am HOPING me and the boys are in the clear.

Now...back to the negative. Sorry. Have to talk about it. But I'll try to make it sound as upbeat as possible. Here we go. I am so thrilled that our NEW van was the victim of a hit-and-run last weekend! There's nothing like a good, solid roadblock to put things into perspective! When I walked out of Walmart and into the parking lot and saw the back of my van bashed in, I wanted to jump up and down with glee! Even better, they still haven't found the woman who did it, and most likely, we will be paying our $500 deductible to get it fixed...out of our pocket! I'm so glad we could do that for this woman who almost ran down the witnesses as she sped away and has made it impossible for the cops to find her! Merry Christmas, criminal woman, from our wallet your mistake!

Okay, I can't fake it anymore. It really does suck. Especially around the holidays. The damage doesn't actually look that bad, but the handle hardly works and the whole tailgate will end up having to be replaced. Which of course will definitely be more than the deductible. I talked to the police yesterday and he had a couple more addresses to follow up on, but come to find out, the woman is also a main suspect in some other criminal investigation. Go figure. So either she sped away to avoid that, she was drunk, or she doesn't have insurance. We are betting at this point that it's all three. It's not looking so good. Would someone like that really have insurance?

After talking to the insurance company, they informed us they will do everything to get what they can out of her, but we have to think realistically. This is life and as we all know, life isn't fair. So after a good, peaceful night, when I finally felt sane with the world, I make the mistake of going to Walmart to buy Dave's Christmas present (legally parked, mind you), and now we have the fortunate blessing of forking out $500 to pay for something we didn't do. On our new vehicle.

*Deep breaths* Okay, I'm done complaining. I promise. I really am aware of all the many amazing blessings in our life, because I know we have COUNTLESS to be grateful for, but sometimes you just gotta vent about the not-so-great things in life, too.

Ending on a positive note. During stake conference last Sunday (which I heard not a single word of, by the way), Sam told me my hair was "beautiful, like Cinderella." :) I didn't even know he knew who Cinderella was. Nothing like the sweet words of a child to brighten your mood.

When One Life Ends, Another Begins

It's taken me a while to blog about this, but I just wanted to make a small tribute to my beautiful, cute, lovable (and sometimes ornery) Grandma, Barbara Culling. She passed away on the morning of November 6, with my mom and dad by her bedside. She's been on the verge ever since October 2006 when she had her first stroke, and had been in a nursing home for the last 4 years. We'd all been praying for her to go peacefully and that her suffering would end, so her passing was bittersweet. We're all very grateful that she isn't bogged down by her physical body anymore and feel this has been a blessing after 4 long years, but we all miss her!

Her viewing and burial were on November 10 and I wished so badly I could be there and experience the sweet spirit that others in my family did. But my thoughts were there that whole day, and I'm just grateful she had the privilege to meet my first two children, Sam and Josh.

The way I will always remember her is the active Grandma who loved dogs, hated having pictures taken of herself, and used to walk everywhere. Some of my fondest memories of her were the few times I got to fly out to California and visit her alone as a kid, spending a week with her at a time and meeting all her other cute, ornery friends at her apartment complex. Walking her little terrier, Bingo, then walking to the Iron Skillet or the 99-cent store. I love my Grandma so much!

But there's been a little blessing in the Coltharp family--another addition! On the morning of Monday, November 15, my sister, Cindi, gave birth to her daughter, Abigail Catherine Lindsay! Both she and Abbey are doing great and now at home trying to adjust to the new life-style. I wish I could see her so bad, but from the pictures and videos, she looks just like a little, cute, female version of her big brother, Aaron! She's so cute and I'm so excited for my sister that she gets to be the mom of a newborn again!

Next it's my turn. Gulp.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Zombies and Reptiles

This is my favorite picture from this weekend. Love my little reptiles. This was last night, heading out for trick-or-treating.

Saturday night we had the Halloween carnival for Bagdad and other than the fact that our kids were a tidbit cranky from being sick, it was lots of fun for them. Well, for Sam I should say. I'm not too sure how Josh felt about it. He was pretty enamored with all the costumes and people and just aimlessly wandered most of the time, in his own world. But I love that Sam is at the age where he can really start enjoying the games and things. He wanted to play every one of them and by the end was so tuckered out that he was begging to go home. And I was okay with that because I was already exhausted and hurting from the long day we had in Prescott. But anyway, it was awesome and I really appreciate Becky and all she did to throw it together, and everyone else who pitched in!

My kids slept in the next morning (Sunday/Halloween)...both of them. Which is seriously a miracle. Every once in a while, Josh sleeps in if Sam doesn't wake him up at 6am, but NEVER do they both sleep in...and until 8:45, mind you. MIRACLE. We never set our alarms for church on Sunday morning because we never have to...because our kids are usually up at the crack of dawn (or recently, before dawn). So when we heard Sam's first peep that morning and I turned to the alarm clock and saw the numbers "8:41," I sat straight up, in shock.

So even though we wouldn't have nearly enough time to get us and the kids ready for church (9am), I have to admit it was nice to sleep in. REALLY nice. They were still coughing and had runny noses from being sick so I was leery about taking them to nursery anyway, and I felt like absolute garbage, so at that point we just decided to keep us home. Anyway, that day we watched the NBC comedy shows from last Thursday night on our DVR (Community, the Office, and Outsourced), which were the Halloween episodes, and Sam was SO into Community. It was about all the students at a Halloween party getting some virus and turning into "zombies." Needless to say, it was one of the best Community episodes ever.

But Sam was on the edge of his seat the whole time, yelling things like "Run!" and "Oh no!" and "Mom, did the zombies get them?? Are they zombies now??" When it was over he wearily said, "Mom, I don't like zombies at all." And ever since then he's leery of zombies everywhere.

...And of course one of the first houses we trick-or-treated at last night had some guy dressed like a zombie, popping out at kids on the porch. He had to pull off his mask at one point and assure Sam that he was just a normal guy, because Sam almost started crying. It was actually pretty hilarious. But after that, every single house we came to, I heard, "Are there zombies at this house?"

Other than the fear of zombies, trick-or-treating was a huge success and my kids (and myself) had so much fun. It was the first year Sam was REALLY into it, so I fed off of his enthusiasm. I love being a parent and living through my kids. :)

Anyway, it took Josh a while to catch on to the idea of it, but he eventually did and just loved filling his pumpkin pale with candy. At one house, there was a bowl on the porch with a sign that said, "Take two," and of course Josh freaked out when I pulled him away after two pieces because he wanted to empty the whole bowl into his bucket. But as soon as he realized we were getting candy at the next house, he was fine.

The trick-or-treaters started knocking on our door a little before 6 and after that, it was a constant stream until about 7:30. I was actually surprised. Out of everywhere we've lived, we've never had so many trick-or-treaters. And I think that that's because in most places, people just don't take their kids anymore, whether it's because of other parties or that things just aren't as safe anymore. So I absolutely love that Bagdad is still into it, because it reminded me of when I was a kid!

Anyway, the door wouldn't stop knocking and we decided we wanted to be here to hand out candy, so Dave and I split up. He stayed home and I took the kids by myself. I wanted him there so bad and with the way I was feeling, going alone with them was the last thing I wanted. But I also really wanted to see them trick-or-treat, more than Dave did. So my plan was just to go up one street and back, but when I got out there and got wrapped up in the "spirit" of it, I couldn't stop. There were some cool houses and I just had to take them up the hill, down this street, over this way and we ended up hitting the whole block by our house.

Josh was soooo incredibly slow, and so wrapped up in the crowds of kids in their costumes, that I was literally pulling him along the whole time. Either that or carrying him. Let's just say that wasn't fun for me to do going up the hills. Talk about constant contractions. It was worth it though. Anyway, it was a lot of fun. And by the time we got back to the house (about 7pm), Dave had a show on pause and said he had to have it on constant pause for the last hour because the door wouldn't stop knocking. Our huge bag of candy from Sam's Club didn't last very long, even with us being stingy and only giving one piece.

My kiddos were so cute, too. Josh's dragon costume (formerly Sam's) got so much attention, as usual. It's so adorable. Old Navy sure hit the mark with it.

Well, that's it for now! Here are some pics of the weekend.

My dinosaur fishing with his daddy at the carnival...

Enjoying his prize.

My cute little dragon. And I don't know why this picture turns sideways when I upload it! It did the same thing on Facebook...even though I have it saved on my computer right-side-up.

I tried all night to get a good picture of them together, but Josh was being far from cooperative.

Sam's cool flame that Mandy Schultz painted.

Waiting for their popcorn...

And this was after trick-or-treating last night, winding down with some candy in front of the TV. My two little blond heads.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Pumpkin Carving

We've had a pumpkin sitting here for over a week but haven't had time to sit down as a family and actually carve it. So, seeing how Halloween is two days away, we decided we HAD to make it a priority and do it last night or Sam would be utterly disappointed.

As expected, he was really grossed out by the "insides" and it took us a while to get him to stick his hand inside and clean out the seeds. He kept making faces and saying how gross it was. But we finally got him to do it (and we got it on here), and he was better with it than I thought he would be, seeing how he's my little scaredy-cat who hates being outside of his comfort zone and taking risks.

Josh loved it though. Of course he loved it. He's my child who loves making messes and getting dirty. We also got him on the same video sticking his hand in and smiling and gasping.

*Along with that video is another short one from Vegas last month of the boys at Circus Circus watching the juggler.

Tomorrow night is the community Halloween carnival and we are really excited to take the kids. Sam is SO excited to be a dinosaur. We will take lots of pictures.

Here are a couple pictures from last night. A lot more are posted on my facebook account if you want to see more.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A New Stage

We have hit a new level in our family life, as we will soon be a family of five (*GULP*). We are no longer a small sedan family. We are now officially a van family. And I feel so old because it was always the "old" people and my parents with the vans...and now it's us. I always swore I'd never own one either. But life happens. They are the most practical for people with ever growing kids and numbers, and instead of being "ashamed," I came to terms with it during the vehicle hunt the past couple of months. And I can honestly say now that I am excited to drive it around because it's the best vehicle I've ever owned. It's a 2009 Kia Sedona with only 17,000 miles on it and I LOVE it. After the hours and hours of research, it is the exact one I wanted that would fit in with our demands and our price all at the same time. Now we can really be ready for little Lucas James in January. I posted a pic of it (along with many other pics) on Facebook.

We've been keeping pretty busy lately. We've been out of town the last four weekends in a row (including when we van shopped) and this weekend, though we will be here, Dave will be keeping busy with the Health Fair at the community campus (since he is in charge of it). Then next weekend Dave is on call so we have to stay here; I can't even get away unless I want to take the kids with me somewhere alone (No thanks...not fond of doing that lately) because I can't leave them with him. The weekend after is Halloween and the Halloween community carnival, and I don't even know if we will be here for that; it all rests on the Stewarts' plans. Then the weekend after that Dave is on call again. Then a couple weekends later, it's COLORADO HERE WE COME!!

The last four weekends we've been gone have been spent with Tiffany and Brand Stewart and kids, and it was a real treat to be able to see them that frequently. One of the weekends (2 ago), we went to Vegas with them and had a blast--even while I was in lots of pain! We got to see Phantom, which I have wanted to do since I was a little girl, and had a blast. We love them and love spending time with them, our Arizona family, and wish the time between visits wasn't usually so long.

Josh and Sam in Vegas with their Krispy Kreme hats on:

Us and the Stewarts in front of the entrance to the Phantom Theater:

For Halloween, Sam has been adamant that he is a dinosaur, so I went to a few places, found nothing, and even ended up buying a tiger costume at Old Navy (last costume in his size there) because I was worried I wouldn't find anything anywhere else--even though Sam threw a fit because he did NOT want to be a tiger. So I finally made it to K-Mart (I always LOVE their Halloween selection) and found the PERFECT dinosaur costume for him. And now he asks every day if it's Halloween yet so he can wear it.

He also asks every day if it's Thanksgiving or Christmas because he knows we are going to Colorado for Thanksgiving and the Meyers are coming here for Christmas. :)

Grandpa Meyers was here for a day last week and Sam just loved having him here. So did Josh. I think I can truly, whole-heartedly say that Josh is finally over his attachment of me and fear of strangers. He now warms up to people really fast and loved giving Grandpa lots of hugs and smiles. He also talked to his "Auntie Jessica" on the phone today, where the only audible words were "Hi" and "Bye." But he thinks everyone can understand his mumbling. :)

Anyway, the night before Grandpa left, Sam told me, "You better not let Grandpa leave mom, or I will cry." So the next morning when he woke up and Grandpa was gone, he got teary-eyed and pouted his lip slightly and said, "I told you I would cry if you let him leave!" It broke my heart. He also said that when the Stewarts left our house a few days before that. He just hates not having his family around. Today he told me he wanted to see Grandpa again. Maybe someday we will know what it's like to live within a close driving distance to our families.

It has been WAY too hot for October, in my opinion, but I know I have said that every year since we've been in Arizona. I miss the Fall SO bad this time of year and try to be reminiscent of it by buying pumpkin spice candles and things, but it's just not the same. Hopefully Halloween won't be hot because the kids' costumes are extremely warm and insulated.

The pregnancy is going...the same. Progressing just as expected. Contractions are more frequent. Pain is more intense. Belly is stretching beyond capacity. Luke is moving more and more, taking up more and more room. And I am loving him more and more, and can't wait to meet him! I want my baby!

With everything going on lately I haven't had much "me time," so I haven't written in a long time. I explain it a little more in my other blog, but basically I think I'm taking a break from the whole dream of being published right now. Not throwing it away, but putting it in a safe place for later. For more details you can check out my writing blog.

Anyway, that's about it for now!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Josh's Urology Report, etc.

WARNING: This post makes frequent mention of the male reproductive organ and the body part it's "housed" in. :)

Josh had his urology appointment in Phoenix this afternoon for his retractile testicles problem (for more info refer to the post about Josh a few more down). It went okay. We didn't really get anywhere new, but basically the urologist isn't concerned because they can feel them and know where they are and can get them down, so he wants us to keep an eye on them for the next six months and if there's no change, we will come back then and go from there.

The only thing they can do is surgery to bring them down and then they fix them permanently in the sack so that they can't "escape" back up. He said we could get it now if we want to, but (and he's also the surgeon) that he isn't really concerned at this point and if it were his own child, he wouldn't do the surgery yet. And as Josh's mom, I don't feel good about it now either. I want to do whatever is best for Joshua and I don't want to jump to any rash actions and cause more trauma to the testicles if he doesn't really need it. So I feel content about waiting.

Dave, however, doesn't know how he feels. He is a little more concerned because of his own history. He had the same problem when he was Josh's age and they kept waiting and waiting, until finally, at the age of three, they fully descended on their own. Then when he was sixteen he got testicular cancer and though they will never know the real cause of it, they said that issue could have been why.

But Dr. Chang (the urologist) said it is highly unlikely that a testicle can get cancer from a retractile problem, since it can spend some of the time in the sack. However, there is speculation out there that if it was a testicle that didn't descend at all for a long time, then because of the extra heat of being up inside the body for so long, cancer could probably form (though they really don't know). So since Josh's are just retractile and can come down, he feels it's highly unlikely. Also, he says they would never let it get to the point where Josh is still having this problem when he's three, like Dave did. He said by that age they should be spending all or most of their time down, and that they would never let it get that far with Josh.

He said they usually like to keep tabs on and check back with the kids that have retractile testicles about every six months to a year, so we decided to take his advice and watch it for the time being. We made an appointment for six months from now to come back and check it further.

Earlier in the appointment the NP said that usually if they haven't fully descended by this age (19 months), they probably won't on their own...but then the doctor says to wait. So I don't know what to think.

I don't really see how that much will change in six months, honestly, especially because over the last year nothing has changed and 98% of the time they are up. But he is the professional so we feel inclined just to kind of take his word for it and wait. And since the idea of jumping into surgery right now feels all wrong to me, I'm okay with that.

We are staying with the Stewarts over this weekend and Dave has a training all week this next week here in Phoenix so I decided to stay here with him, with the kids of course, and use it as a sort of "get away." Plus, I really don't like not having him home, and lately, with the way I've been feeling, being alone all week with the kids is the last thing I want. So we are staying in a suite at the Residence Inn all week and Dave won't have to come back to an empty hotel room every night after his training...and he's pretty happy about that (and no, he's not just saying that). :)

One thing we need to do before the baby is born is buy a new vehicle...which we decided will be a van because that just makes the most logical sense. We don't want to have to buy another vehicle for a long time, so we want one that we can have as we expand our family (yes, I said "expand our family"...even though the idea of baring anymore children after this makes me want to rip my hair out). We don't want to buy a new one because of the cost, but the used one we get we want to be newer, if possible. We really like the Siennas, but we know they can be a little pricey, so we need to start shopping around. I got some great websites and advice about car shopping from my all-knowing brother-in-law, Mike, so I will start there.

Another reason I want to make a jump on it is because we want to go to Colorado for Thanksgiving and spending 28+ hours in our tiny Saturn in my "condition" makes me...well...let's just say I'd rather sit alone in Bagdad while my family has fun in Colorado without me. And that's saying A LOT.

This pregnancy has been really difficult for me, and I thought after my last one it couldn't get worse. But I was SO wrong. I already had spine/lower back problems before I got pregnant and they warned me before I had kids that my pregnancies would be extremely difficult because of it, but I had no idea it would hurt this much and effect the way I feel this much. Every step I take is like torture. And with every step, everything down there--spine, tail bone, pelvis--shifts and grinds together, leaving me with a popping sensation at every movement. I can even hear it when I walk if it's quiet. :)

I also have another problem that's pretty miserable, and also embarrassing, but unfortunately it's a problem that a handful of women get, called varicose veins. And no, I don't mean in my legs. I won't go into detail. If you're really that curious, look it up or ask a doctor. :)

I had these problems when I was pregnant with Josh but they didn't surface until my third trimester, near the end. This time, however, the symptoms started showing when I hit my 19-20 week mark...and by now, 23 weeks, I feel worse than I did at week 39 with Josh. On top of looking and feeling huge, I feel like this baby should already be coming out of me...but in depressing reality, I actually have almost half my pregnancy to go. Ugh. And there's NOTHING they can do about these issues. Not even a chiropractor will help, except for temporary relief, because with one slight movement of me or the baby, or even the baby just growing, everything can be thrown out again. Icing myself is a good temporary relief too, but again it's temporary. As soon as I'm on my feet again, which is all the time, it's as though I never iced.

So if you see me waddling it's because every step is stiff and painful...not because I had an "accident." :)

And back to the car thing: just driving to Prescott (1.5 hours away) effects it so badly that for the whole next day I'm "feeling it" (along with numerous contractions...which hadn't started at this point with Josh either). We drove three hours to Phoenix today and right now pain shoots all throughout my back (and other areas) with every breath. Soooo...driving in our tiny, cramped, uncomfortable Saturn for hours and hours on end is something that I don't want to do.

It's also something my doctor doesn't recommend. Heck, my doctor recommends I keep my feet elevated most of the day, but I have two kids so that's impossible. Anyway, so if we can purchase a van by then, I would love it. That way, I'd have leg room to move my legs and feet when we are driving and I can shift positions by reclining, etc. So when we get back from Phoenix next week...the vehicle search begins!!

And now that I've complained, I have to plug that I really am grateful for this baby and this pregnancy. I really do have a lot to be grateful for. The baby is totally healthy so far, from what they can see, and besides the way I feel and the affect pregnancy has on my body, I have really great, smooth pregnancies. So I am definitely grateful for that, and grateful to be expanding our family with another beautiful baby boy. He is in constant movement inside of me, it seems, and I already love him so much. So, these sacrifices, minor in the grand scheme of things, are SO worth it. The pregnancy, and all the junk that goes along with it, is temporary!! (A constant reminder)

And that's all folks!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Kids Say the Darndest Things...

Sam's Funnies:

"Dad, I'm a white guy." (Said loudly in the middle of the passing of the sacrament in church yesterday...when it was silent)

"We're home now Grandma, so I don't want you to talk to me anymore, bye." (He'd been talking to Grandma Coltharp on the phone while we were driving and when we pulled into our driveway, he interrupted their conversation with this)

"Mom, will you go in your room so you don't see me playing with the hose outside?" (Because he thinks I'm stupid...)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sam's First Testimony

Today there was hardly anyone at church due to Labor Day weekend, which meant testimony meeting was a little slow. During the awkward silence, when no one was getting up, Sam decided he wanted to bear his testimony (after seeing his friend, Daniel, do it). Basically, we learned our son is a natural speaker and has no problem getting up to speak in front of people, and to our surprise, as soon as he got to the microphone, he just started talking up a storm, bearing his testimony of goldfish and his brother going to time-out, etc. I can't remember it all because, frankly, I was a little embarrassed (anyone there probably knows that because my face was SO red!), but here's the gist of it:

Good morning everyone! (copying what Daniel said) My name is Sam! And I just ate goldfishies, but Daddy had to take brother to time out, and I read books...

Anyway, he went on and on, and the reason I was embarrassed is because we all know a testimony meeting isn't a talent show for our children and Dave was just letting him go on and on because he was laughing too hard to stop him. So amidst laughing and being the proudest mom for thinking I have the cutest kid alive, I was thinking "wrap it up!"

Then finally Dave leaned down and Sam finished with loving Jesus and Heavenly Father and his family. Anyway, it was just adorable and I was so proud of my son, who just seems to be a natural-born speaker. Hopefully that doesn't mean he will be a politician....

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Reunited and it feels so good...

I decided I was going to get back into the routine of blogging again like I used to, not just updating bits here and there with months in between. And I figured the first step is to redo my layout and update everything else on my page that hasn't been updated in a year! Yes, I know it's early for Halloween layouts, but I love Halloween and I love Fall and I didn't have the patience to wait! Besides, the black kitty on the layout looks like the new addition to our family, Bauer. I put a picture of her on this post (it's not great, but it's the best I got at this point), because I thought it was fitting with my new layout. :)

I have to admit that part of the reason I feel the desire to spend time on my blog today is that Dave took the boys to Prescott and left me alone for the first time in FOREVER (or it feels like forever...really it's just been many months). WOO HOO! I have to say that since I never get to be at home alone, I am loving the peace, quiet, and solitude. I got to take a shower and actually get ready afterward without kids getting into all the bathroom stuff and feeling rushed, I got to prepare my lesson for church tomorrow without ANY INTERRUPTIONS, and I get to sit here and play on the computer. I thought I'd use this alone time to write or work on my query letter, but I just didn't feel like it, which is surprising.

I realized too that in my blogging absence, I haven't posted anything about my pregnancy at all! So here's a rundown: I am 21 weeks along and we found out 2 weeks ago that we are having our THIRD BOY (Due 1/11/11)! And wow...I'm not going to lie; I was holding out for that girl that I know is out there somewhere, and I was definitely a little disappointed. It's hard to explain, because I wasn't sad about the boy, or depressed by any means...I was happy about it, but at the same time disappointed, if that makes any sense. But I am really excited to have another little guy because I love my boys so much, and though I will be even more out-numbered than now (4 against 1), I have to admit I love that. I actually will love being the only chic...for now. And I love that my boys can be the Three Amigos and be close. Another big plus is that we already have all the boy stuff (even though I was looking forward to buying all the girlie stuff...)! So, yes I know there is a girl out there and I will get her some day, but right now I am so excited to meet this little guy!

He moves like CRAZY. I swear, he never stops. He moves more than either Sam or Josh moved, and I thought Sam moved a lot! My pregnancy is going well, considering. I do have pretty horrible back issues that flare up at the end of my pregnancies and, unfortunately, already started flaring up halfway through with this one. I have many other issues of pain down there, and even experience contractions quite often already, too, but really, other than being stiff and miserable most of the time (I say most because I'm trying to be positive...hehe), it's going extremely well and I can only feel blessed. So far, everything is going the way it's supposed to and everything is at the right size and in the right place. I'm just excited to get this little guy out of me and start the addition to our family!

A thing I struggle with, especially lately for some reason (probably those darned pregnancy hormones) is self-esteem because of what pregnancy does to your body...and I feel like it's just torn me apart and left me with a distorted body and flabby...well...everything. But I've been really trying to place all the expectations of society and the media aside and accept that having a baby has actually made me more beautiful. I have given live to three of God's children and what is more beautiful than that?

I tell you that nothing is. I feel so privileged and special to be blessed with these wonderful spirits and to have been able to nurture them and bond with them, that I wouldn't trade the best body in the world for this. After all, this is why we are on this earth as women, right--to bear God's children. And what a blessing it is! I don't take it for granted at all...

Not even when I'm laying lifeless on the couch because I can't move as the kids trash the house around me. It's all about sacrifice, right? My kids better thank me some day for all I go through to bring them into the world... ;)

There have been a lot of things going on around us, a lot of unfortunate circumstances with friends, or health problems with friends and family that really have us looking at life differently, and it's hard not to get down. It's hard not to ever think, "I'm done having kids after this, because why would I want to bring children into this unforgiving world???" But unfortunately, this is life, and though I question with "why does this happen to this person" a lot, there is nothing we can do about it and we will never have all the answers. All we can do is get through this life like intended, prove ourselves and strive for faith--which at a lot of times feels non-existent, I admit.

But even in all these things happening around us and to us, and through all the wavering, I do love my Heavenly Father and this gospel, and am so appreciative to Him and our Savior. I don't get it sometimes, I don't have answers, but I do have to strive to have faith and know that He is at the helm--no matter how bleak. I am SO extremely blessed, and I pray I will never lose sight of that. I have the most wonderful husband and children I could have ever asked for, a family I never before thought I deserved. We are healthy and well (for the most part) and provided for in so many ways. I am grateful everyday for the blessings we have and how fortunate we really are.

And to anyone who I might have been cold to or offended at all, I am truly sorry. I'm not always the best kind of friend and don't always have the best things to say (or even know what to say in general sometimes), but I do love you all and you each have made an impact on my life that I will never forget.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

More on Josh

A quick update on Josh: A woman from Arizona Early Intervention program came by to do an assessment on Joshua. Not only did she ask me questions (she had a questionnaire she was filling out), but she also gave Josh certain toys to test different abilities and interacted with him. The results were that he is low in the communication area (as we expected), but average or high in every other area. Right off the bat, that isn't enough to enroll him in their evaluation/therapy program, because even his low communication score wasn't at its lowest. But based on the fact that he can't make a variety of vowel or consonant sounds (basically all he can do is "dada" type of sounds), she can put him in. It's a concern to her, but not a grave concern.

So my options were to get him going in the process, or to wait a few more months and see how he progresses. I felt best to wait at this point. She is going to send me some information on what I can be doing with him to help and a 22 month evaluation questionnaire, and in 3 months if I feel he hasn't made any progress at all, I will call her and they'll get the evaluation process going.

It is possible that with his speech and communication abilities being so low, he has a slow speech developmental issue, but it might be too early to tell. I'm not really that worried about it. He has a big brother who is bossy, overbearing, and extremely vocal, so in my opinion, he just might not feel the need to talk yet. So we will see. Hopefully in the next few months he shows signs of progression.

On the up side, he is very smart in other areas...smarter than I thought! I'm glad she came out here because it helped me realized how advanced he actually is. He understands a lot of what we are saying, but it's just hard to tell because he doesn't verbalize any of it. One of the toys he was playing with, she said he took the time to figure it out, and then understood it, and she said that in that sense, he's at a two-year-old level. Most 18-month-olds can't do it yet. Also, she showed him a book with sets of pictures and asked him to point to a certain thing (a ball, or a flower, etc.), and he got every one right! It surprised me, because I had NO idea he knew what all those things were! So I am very relieved to know that at least he is picking up on things and knowing what they are.

As far as the children's urologist (his testicles), he has an appointment with them down in Phoenix next weekend, so I will give updates on that then!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Josh Update

Josh had his 18-month checkup yesterday and here are some stats:

He is in the 50th percentile for height and only the 5th for weight...but he is healthy and eats and is doing really well, so she isn't concerned. He's just a tiny guy.

We are going to be waiting for a call from the Phoenix Children's Hospital Urologists to make an appointment to take him down there to look at his testicles (sorry if you're reading this when you're older and I'm totally embarrassing you, Josh) because they are "retractile" (haven't fully descended). Not looking forward to that, and praying everything is alright and it's an easy fix.
*I just have to add another side note about how much I LOVE living in Bagdad and being so far away from everything.

Also, we (well, mostly Dave) have been concerned for a while because Josh doesn't EVER talk. He still just makes baby noises and grunts and stuff. The only word he can say is "dada" and when I tell him to say "cheese," he will imitate the sound. But he can't (I haven't figured out if it's can't or won't yet) say anything else and if we get him to try, he just gets frustrated. He doesn't even do the sounds of animals ("What does a doggy say?" etc.). He just does a baby grunt that sounds the same for everything.

However, I can tell he understands me and picks up on all the things I am teaching him. And the doctor isn't worried about him being slow or having any mental disabilities or anything. He just might have a speech problem. Ugh.

And what we don't know at this point is if it's just his personality or if he really does have a problem. He is pretty laid back about things (100% opposite of his brother) and it could just be that he has no desire to do these things, but the dr. is still concerned. She said that by 18 months, babies should be able to say at least 10-20 words or recognizable animal sounds, etc. Josh does one. That's it.

And we only have Sam to compare him to, who learned at a remarkable rate and by 18 months was already counting to 10 and saying most of the alphabet and colors. Sam has always loved learning and would love to spend all his day having me teach him things, read, do math, or watching Your Baby Can Read! videos. And then we have Josh who has NO interest in anything intellectual. He'd rather be playing or torturing the cat than sitting in front of any learning videos, and when I try to read to him, he gets bored and tries to get off my lap.

So it could be his personality, but either way...that kind of worries us. A group called Arizona Early Intervention is going to be calling us to come out here and meet with Joshua. They are going to be doing little tests and stuff to see if he actually has a problem. If he does, he is going to need to see a speech therapist. Again, yay.

Either way, things will work out and we will get it taken care of. Of course as a parent, I'm naturally a little concerned. I just want the best for my kids and no one wants their kid to have problems. But I do know it'll work out, and other than the hassle it's going to be, I'm not TOO worried.

I'll keep everyone updated.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A New Hate For Scorpions

I never blog anymore, but I figured I should record this story. I think everyone knows about what happened to Joshua, but here are more details for anyone interested. Here's how our day went yesterday...

Josh and Sam had gotten into the food storage cabinet and were climbing around inside, taking stuff out, playing, etc. I know I should have stopped them right there, but they weren't hurting anything and I was busy (how many time do we think that as moms?). Then Sam had to go #2, so I went with him into the bathroom and before I could wipe him, Josh let out a cry of pain from the kitchen--the kind where you KNOW something is wrong.

So I ran in there and he was bawling and flexing his fingers and holding his hand and I immediately thought he got bit by something, but I looked around and didn't see any bugs, so I held him and comforted him for a few minutes. But nothing I did was calming him down (actually, he was crying harder with each minute) and not only was he flexing his hand and rubbing it, but now he was rubbing at his upper arm. That was when I decided he HAD to have gotten bitten by something. So after I checked the rest of his body, I moved around the packets of evaporated milk on the floor and there it was, hiding beneath--a small brown/clear scorpian (the smaller they are, the more concentrated the poison).

I immediately started panicking inside because I know nothing about scorpian stings, so I called Dave and he came home, but he wasn't too worried as he checked Josh out because he'd heard that scorpian stings were on the same level of a wasp sting (Guess he didn't know much either). While I called the doctor and ER (no one knew anything, by the way), Dave tried comforting him, but Josh only wanted me, so he stood in the middle of the floor, crying his head off and holding his hand while I felt like inflicting pain on myself for not being able to comfort him.

Anyway, Dave called a friend at work who is also an EMT in Bagdad and he said the last 3 kids in town that have gotten stung have had to be life-flighted out of by then we were a little more nervous (Okay, I was FREAKING out inside). Then to make it worse, he started shaking really bad and that was when we took him to the clinic.

Right as we walked into the clinic, Josh was now violently shaking (and still frantically crying). The life-line guys came in and while they called in the helicopter, they (along with the nurse and doctor at the clinic) put a line in him and gave him valume (spelling?) to calm him down (after taking FOREVER to get it in him). I sat there holding him, trying with everything in me not to cry, and failing miserably as my baby thrashed around in my arms. And nothing was working. On top of his convulsions, which they told us were normal and that he was just freaking out because of the pain, he was starting to have breathing problems--which they also told us was okay and normal. But how do I feel okay when he can hardly cry because he is wheezing and gasping for breath???

Anyway, way too long later, the helicopter arrived while I was at home with Sam gathering all our things so I could drive down to Phoenix (Dave flew in the helicopter with them; I couldn't because I am pregnant). Becuase of his small size and age (I think), they were directed to fly him to Phx Children's Hopital, rather than to the hospital in Prescott. During all this, I don't think I have ever been more scared for either of my children before. I was an absolute emotional mess, and no matter how many times I reitterated in my head their words that this was normal and that he'd be fine, I couldn't shake the doom inside and the fact that I wasn't with my baby during this time. So amidst my frantic packing and driving, I had uncontrolable tears and constant prayers that Heavenly Father wouldn't take my baby from me now. Usually I'm able to see the logic and convince myself of the reality that everything will be fine, even through my fear and love for my kids, but that was a foreign ability and I lacked whatever faith I needed that told me he was going to be fine.

Come to find out later, while I was prayng my guts out and freaking out on the drive, fruitlessly trying to convince myself that he was fine in the helicopter with Dave, he actually wasn't fine. They realized that the IV line they so messily "placed" in him at the clinic wasn't really in him at all (or in the right spot), so all the medication they gave him didn't even penetrate that whole time. ONE MORE reason I don't want to touch the clinic with a ten foot pole. So before they could take off, they had to properly place the line, which also took some time.

By this time, Joshua was convulsing pretty horribly, making even my calm-mannered, logical husband freak out. But a few minutes later, once in the air, he calmed down a little bit. He still convulsed though, even with the meds, becuase they explained that on someone as small as him, the scorpian poison attacks the muscular system, causing involuntary muscle spasms and making his eyes dart around. So even though he was calmer, his limbs were still in a spasm and his eyes all crazy.

They then got him to the hospital, where shortly after, the toxicologist told Dave they just so happen to have some new scorpian anti-venum that is still in testing stages and not approved by the FDA yet, but that if we don't give it to him, he could still be convulsing 24 hours from now, where as with the anti-venum, he could stop within 2 hours. So of course Dave signed off on it. And it just so happens they only had four vials of the anti-venum remaining--all of which Josh used, and it was JUST enough.

So by the time Josh had calmed down and the medication started to make a difference, he'd been having this reaction for over two hours (during which his heartrate was over 200). So he'd basically been having a siezure for two hours strait. The doctors were very concerned and classified his case as a class 4, which is the highest it can be. So needless to say, I wasn't worried for nothing. The bad feelings I was having the whole time were in fact legitimate, along with the horrible feeling Dave had the night before that something was going to happen.

I'm just glad I didn't know how bad it really was during this time becuase if I did, I'm sure I would have been so beside myself that I wouldn't have been able to drive. I was already enough of a mess as it was...just for the fact that I couldn't be with my baby.

So anyway, by the time I got there, he had JUST started to relax, but he was sooo tired and out of it and lethargic from all the medication, that he was just laying in Dave's arms. But regardless, as soon as he saw me he started crying and trying to reach for me, which made my heart lurch outside of my chest.

So after a long day of holding him (I didn't get to go pee for about five hours becuase he wouldn't let me put him down and I didn't want to leave him), they admitted us becuase even though the anti-venum removed all the poison from his system, they wanted to watch us over night to see if he got any residual side effects. Plus, his breathing wasn't at the levels they wanted it to be at, which they say was just from the congestion/cold he'd had all week, but they still had to make sure.

So after a long day and night of getting moved three times (and many ups and downs), they finally removed his oxygen tubes and we got to settle...and finally saw little bits of Joshua slowly return. Especially when he ate a whole crustables sandwhich from the cafeteria and drank a bunch of water and juice (he was STARVING). When we finally got him to sleep that night, he was so tuckered out and drugged up that he slept like a rock all through the night and never even flinched when the monitors kept beeping or when all the nurses came in to check him and the kid next to him.

Different story for me though. Unfortunately Dave couldn't stay with me, so he stayed at Brand and Tiffany Stewart's house (where Sam was). I tried sleeping on that fold-out chair next to Josh's crib, but couldn't get a single wink in all night. So instead I watched my angel of a baby sleeping soundly and pondered everything. This was such a wake-up call to me and I couldn't stop thanking Heavenly Father over and over again for His intervention and that we were so blessed.

The doctors told us that if it wasn't for the anti-venum, he would have been intibated (spelling again?) in the ICU that night, without a doubt. So that just makes me even more grateful. It makes me overwhelmed with gratitude that we have such a loving Heavenly Father who answers our prayers and who sent us to the right hospital, with just enough anti-venum left for Josh (it doesn't hurt that because it was a trial, the drug that will someday be $1000 per vial was free). I can't even think of where he would be right now had he not had it, or had we been flown to Prescott instead...where they didn't have it.

How grateful I am for the power of prayer and that the Lord so obviously does love us and provides a way! I am SO grateful for all the prayers we recieved and for everyone who kept their prayers and thoughts on my baby Josh! This was one of the scariest things that's happened in my life and I'm sure anyone who's had to see their child in that kind of state can agree with me. But we have been blessed and I felt the power of all the prayers!

Anyway, it was a long, grueling day and night, but this morning he was even more himself and doing great. Other than droopy eyes and still being pretty lethargic, he was normal again. So after a less grueling, but still annoying, morning/day, he was finally discharged.

And Dave and I both felt it was best in many ways if I stay here in the valley with Josh so that we are close by just in case we see any other strange side effects or something else happens and we have to bring him back--rather than being in the middle of nowhere again. Plus, that way Dave can go home and thuroughly clean the whole house and spray (he wouldn't be able to with the kids there) before we come home. We are going to make damn sure (excuse my language) that we don't see anymore scorpians in our home.

So Josh, Sam, and I are at the Stewarts' tonight and will be until this weekend when Dave can come get us again. It sucks being stranded and not being able to go home (especially when I feel so awful from pregnancy/lack of sleep), but there is nowhere I feel more at home besides my own house than at the Stewarts, and this is definitely the best choice--regardless of how badly I miss my husband and wish he was here. It is so hard for us to be apart right now, especially because we all need/want each other. I am so grateful for the Stewarts and their hospitality throughout all of this. Sam has been in heaven becuase Brand is his idol and he is just excited that we will be staying the whole week with them.

Josh was so cute when we first got here, too. He was so excited just to be out of the hospital so as soon as we walked in and he saw his brother playing with the keyboard and dancing, he jumped down and tried dancing with him. He looked like a drunk baby and fell a few times because of the drugs still in his system, but it made me soooo happy to see him happy.

I am just SO grateful for my children and this experience made me realize how deeply I would do ANYTHING for them. I am going to do everything in my power to make sure this never happens again and I know I can't always protect them every second of every day, but I can't help but want to wrap them up and never let go of them.

Anyway, it's been a long day and a half, and I need to go to bed. But through it all, I am overwhelmed with just how blessed we've been! Goodnight all!

Oh, and along with all our thanks, thank you to Bishop Johnson for stopping by the hospital and helping Dave give Josh a blessing. We are so grateful for your willingness to help...and for the fact that you just so happened to be so close! Another answer to our prayers!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

He Is Risen!

Happy Easter everyone! So far, it's been a pretty great weekend. I am grateful for my DVR, because if it wasn't for that, I wouldn't have been able to watch conference much at all, but I've been able to watch every talk. Listening is another story. It's hard to pay complete attention when you have little ones begging for it constantly. But I have loved hearing conference this weekend. I love when Easter falls on conference weekend. The last time I remember this happening was when I was a kid and I have very fond memories of us all lounging in our pajamas and eating Easter candy while we watched conference. Actually, I think it was the same year mom decided to try all sugar-free candy. Needless to say, there was a lot of trips to the bathroom that weekend.

Anyway, this morning Sam was VERY excited to get his Easter toys and Easter candy from the Easter Bunny. We just got the boys a few little cheap toys and then had a mini Easter egg hunt in our backyard. Sam LOVED it and was getting so excited, but Josh wasn't too thrilled. He still doesn't like being on the grass, so he just stood there and sucked on an egg while Sam found them all. I have been trying to remind Sam all day what the real reason for Easter is, and that Jesus was resurrected on this day, but I think all that's going through his mind is money and candy.

Oh, we also had eggs filled with money. He loved that almost more than the candy I think. He loves putting money in his piggy bank.

Then between sessions, Dave and I went shooting with Wes and Mandy Schultz (great way to celebrate Easter, right??) while their daughter, Naomi, watched our kiddos. It was fun, but it just made me realize how much work I still need. Practice, practice, practice.

In about an hour we are going to have Easter dinner with the Schultz's, and if it wasn't for them, we'd be warming up leftovers for dinner tonight.

This last week we had the New Beginnings program in Young Womens and it went well, considering how little time we had to plan it. It was rusty in parts, but the girls really benefited from it, I feel, and that is the most important thing. I really love our girls and love my calling and as they were singing their musical number, I was just overcome with the spirit at how special they are and I realized how much love I have for them. It was so spiritually edifying for me and I'm grateful for serving in the YW program...even though 98% of the time I feel completely inadequate.

I am so grateful for my Savior and that he was resurrected for me and atoned for my sins! I love Him and I am grateful for this holiday that we have to think of Him and remember what He has done.

On Friday, to take advantage of Dave's day off, we spent a lot of the day in Jerome (about 30 mins. North of Prescott). It's an old mining town, so it's "haunted" (ooooooh), and it's such an old, cute, fun little town in the mountains. We ate at a little old place called the Haunted Hamburger and though it was crowded and we waited forever for our food, the food was great. It was a fun day, just for the fact that it was something different from the norm.

Josh is starting to talk now (kind of). He will say mama if I ask him, and dada, and perhaps the cutest is when he says "Hi." It's ADORABLE.

The boys with their Easter baskets, before the eggs.

Dave leading the kids in the direction of the eggs (he had just changed the oil in the car, hence the jumpsuit).

Josh in his permanent place on the lawn.

Staring to cry because he wanted to move...

Chewing on his Easter elephant.

Sam on our new ottoman/coffee table/chest.

Josh at the Haunted Hamburger.