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.