Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Where has the year gone?

A year ago today I was waiting to be discharged from the hospital to go home to be with my family, full of FIVE kids. I think I was mostly grateful to be home, probably a little overwhelmed, completely grateful to be unpregnant, and anxious to see how life as a mom of five kids was going to be. How fast this year has gone! Out of necessity I got my feet under me (although I have had a lot of stumbling this past year) and we've survived. Yay us!

I know I kinda talked about this already, but I am so grateful for Briggs. Just today I was talking to my sister who was solo while our kids had preschool and I thought, "mmm, that could have been me if we hadn't had Briggs last year" since Brock would have been our baby and he's now 3 1/2. But I would have not have it any other way. Briggs is such a light in my life and I'm glad I have a little buddy to pal around with. I notice a lot more of the milestones (like getting to the "pull every book off the shelves" stage) than I did with Brock (who I thought was my last.) I definitely recognize he's our baby and treat him as such. He makes me laugh with the way he plays coy and when he tries to wrestle with his brothers. He is a mover and a shaker . . . likes to be on the go and doesn't sit still.

So, here's a recap of my little man:
1 month
Briggs ate all the time, which left me sore and sleepless. He wasn't very good at the bottle and I spent a small fortune trying to find one he'd be adept at drinking from. Briggs slept better swaddled, but with his arms out around his face.
2 month
Briggs began sleeping long stints in the night earlier than any of my other kids (gratefully.) He found his hands this month, and that pacified him since he did not appreciate the binky. We took him to Montana with us and he was a champ on the trip as much as he was every day while being carted around while I ran my errands. The only time he gets overly cranky was at bedtime and if he had gone too long without a poopy diaper (which was becoming an issue.) When he's not cranky he gives us plenty of smiles.
3 month
Poor Briggs had to travel to Utah 3 times in 3 weeks for trips that the family took and he was awesome. I'd pump milk for him while I was driving (yes, I know, not safe) and Mackenzie would feed him a bottle. He would not drink formula, but I was still having issues with nursing Briggs. I would have stopped in month 3, but Briggs had tears this month and that was too sad to not continue with the boob torture. My niece, Brooklyn, started her love affair with "Baby Briggs" when we did our Provo trip with the kids this month. Briggs really put on some weight this month.
4 month
By this month Briggs had officially became my best baby sleeper. He'd sleep for 8 hours straight, have a little bottle and go back down for another couple hours. Even better was he'd put himself to sleep once he found his fists. Briggs would sit up propped up, but ended up with bubbles and drool all over himself when he was vertical. He's definitely ticklish and loves it when Caylee sits by him in the car because she makes him smile so much. He started to babble a lot more, like he'd discovered his voice.

5 month
Sleeping got better this month when he started going to bed with the other kids and he still slept through the night. He tried really hard to roll over and by the end of the month he finally did it. He would push himself around while on his back and rubbed a gnarly bald spot in the back of his head. I'll find him turned and licking the leather on the couch if we leave him to his own amusement. This month, too, I noticed when we get in the car in the morning Briggs was REALLY vocal, like over the chaos in the car I could hear him babbling. We took Briggs to Swiss Days with us and I was grateful for all the help from everyone so I could enjoy the trip. When Briggs gets really excited he bangs his fists on his sides and I had to stop him so he wouldn't bruise himself.
6 month
I tried rice cereal with Briggs this month. He literally shuttered. Briggs really liked sucking on his blanket tags and likes coughing to get people's attention. When he'd get really tired he'd shake his head from side to side. I started taking Briggs to the gym and he did really well why he was there. He also started reaching out more and playing with the toys that were placed in front of him or grabbing my hair.
7 month
Briggs started eating baby food, but he's not cooperating much with formula, STILL! Briggs started cutting teeth at the end of this month and I kept taking him into the Dr. because I knew he was sick, but nope. He wasn't. With the extra saliva, Briggs has started spitting/making raspberries. He likes: playing in the jumperoo, the activity center, biting the brim of Tyler's caps, and scooting (backwards while on his tummy and forwards while on his back). As the 5th kid, Briggs has learned that screaming gets a quicker reaction than gentle fussing.
8 month
Baby food is helping to supplement the nursing and I'm finally to the pump and dump stage of nursing. Briggs discovered straws, open mouth kisses, a big boy carseat, two teeth, Duck Creek, and the "Polar Express" train ride. This month Briggs had his first real fever. He was pretty miserable and his sleeping suffered, which meant so did ours :) One Sunday Briggs went to give Brock and open-mouth kiss and right at his face, Briggs spit all over Brock's face.
9 month
Yes, weening was hard and traumatic, but I was O-V-E-R it and it wasn't worth the infections and . . . blech. OVER it! In my mind I only nursed for a few months with Briggs, but I guess it's longer. We put Briggs on soy formula to help with his regularity, and who knows if it helps or not, but he seems to be more regular. This month Briggs has began to push himself up on all fours and making the loud raspberries spitting sound for long periods of time (like for 30 min. straight during church.) He says, "dadadadada" and prefers to be off our laps and in the same room with the other kids. He also got a couple more teeth this month.
10 month
Briggs is loving the baby food. Textures make him gag. While he likes a good nap or two a day in his bed, he's also been a great cat-napper. Now that Briggs is crawling, he's finding all sorts of goodies on the floor. He really likes to reach up and touch things and and try to catch up to where the other kids are. In Relief Society we have quite the cadre of little babies crawling all over sharing/taking toys. It's sweet. Probably my favorite thing is watching Briggs kiss the mirror in our bathroom as he watches his reflection. He's bunked his head a good number of times doing that. A couple more bottom teeth this month. And can you tell I don't like to sit still?
11 month
This month Briggs has begun to wave "bye-bye" and point at his nose, well, usually it's at his ears, but we give him credit for the general area. Briggs does not like strangers talking to him and he rarely will smile for people outside of our family. Because his bright blue eyes, people stop and talk to him all the time and he just stares at them. He's getting two more teeth on the top this month and he's started throwing tantrums when we take away something he's playing with (especially remotes or cell phones.) He likes to crawl into the pantry and into the kids' playhouse that's in the living room. He loves playing peek-a-boo and sleeping on his tummy, but NOT loud noises. When Tyler gets home he'll say "DA!" but that's the only thing he seems to say.
12 month
Briggs still likes to get around, but more than usual he likes to make a mess. He pulls out all the plastic-ware lids and the books off my shelf. We moved him from his sisters' room to the boys' room this month and he's got another cold (which we since found out is an ear infection and respiratory virus . . . he was not-so-well at his well check.) This month he has developed a good dose of stranger anxiety, but seems to do okay (so far) at the gym. He has been a good stroller-er which is handy for all Brevin's t-ball games. He gets excited when Tyler gets home from work and seems to recognize his brothers and sisters by name. He's doing better with food textures and he really likes pizza.

It's been a year of joy and happiness with this baby boy. We're blessed to have him in the family. Happy birthday, Briggs!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

When the Nightengale Sings

There is a bird that lives near my house that sings at night. I don't really know what kind of bird it is, but when I am up late at night I hear it chirp, chirp, chirping and I really like it. Since it's been so nice the past few nights, our windows have been open and since I have had the joy of being up late laundering, I have really appreciated the company. Me and the nightengale (or some species like unto it.)

Tonight I went with some girlfriends to see 17 Again. I enjoy Zac Efron. Apparantly more when he's playing the part of a high schooler than when he plays the part of a grown man in a high schooler's body. It kinda made me nervous when the high schooler was trying to make out with the mom or the daughter was growling at him. I dunno if I just spoiled the whole movie, but overall I enjoyed it and the funny sidekick friend made the show.

Anyway, because my Coke Zero will now keep me up for awhile until I force myself to bed in 15 minutes, I thought I'd actually post. It's better than washing more blankets and outerware from our fun camping trip to Coral Pink with my sister and her in-law family. (More on that to come one day . . . or I'll just link you to her blog when she does up her whamdy-dandy post that she does every year. Which reminds me. I need to send her pics. ANYWAY)

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately. A lot of pondering. I will concede that it's one of the blessings of going to the gym, more thinking time. I have had some particularly interesting conversations lately, celebrated a very personal Easter this year, have re-thought about our church's General Conference this spring more than I normally do, and I have been thinking about my family and my friends a lot. Somehow, all these things bring me back to myself and where I am in my life. I think it's interesting to reflect on how my expectations of where I would be today are completely different than where I really am. This happens consistently in my life. I'll project about my future and then once arriving there, I'll look back and see how truly off I apparantly was. I used to think it was annoying and preturbing to have a plan (or, in my family we call it, a vision) and then have something totally "screw" it up and voila! I'm in the middle of someone else's plan . . . not the one I had scripted so well a while before.

In one week Briggs will turn one year old. I canNOT believe how quickly the time has passed and how much his little presence has changed my life. It's not really a secret that Briggs' pregnancy wasn't planned. In fact, regretably, I made it very clear in the beginning weeks of my 5th pregnancy that I was irritated/frustrated/saddened/overwhelmed by the whole "debaucle." And I say "regretably" because I can recognize all those emotions were stemming from me being all bent out of shape that "my vision" of moving to the next stage; of getting back to teaching in a couple of years; of non-baby life was not going to work out. It wasn't until I almost lost Briggs with a placental hematoma that I was humbled enough to remember that as much as I have "my vision" it's really more about HIS plan. And it was God's plan to send me one more precious little boy. It was a gift that I didn't know I needed. In fact, I was ready to return the gift at first . . . maybe exchange it for a present that I thought I would be better, like Tyler getting another raise or something more shallow and immediate. I'm pretty sure I shared this before, but my mom gave me a quote when I found out I was expecting from Richard G. Scott that talks about how sacrificing our desires and genuinely meaning 'thy will be done' brings a power and blessing to us that is beyond ourselves. That has been so abundantly clear to me the past year. Granted, being pregnant is a pretty easy thing to throw your hands up in the air and say, "well, whatever, thy will be done, apparantly!!!" but I do know that when I sincerely began to believe that, I did feel my life was blessed. I do know that all the things I worried about by bringing one more spirit into our family are small in comparison of the knowledge that I will have an eternity of blessings by being Briggs' mother. I do know that my worrying about being able to be stretched too far in my capacities because, thankfully, my capacity has increased (only through my Heavenly Father's help, I guarantee!) I do know that all the logistics I worried about (money, baby supplies sold-off in my 'we're-so-done-having-babies-stage', 1:5 ratio, etc.) have some how just seemed to "work out." I also know that this past year has gone so amazingly fast and as much as I try to envision what the next years will entail for us, I might as well just practice a little more trust that HIS plan for me is way better than any vision I can come up with.

So I think that's why I think Briggs is my best boyfriend (I know, Erin, you hate that phrase.) I have learned so much in this experience of being his mom. Of course, I love everything from kissing the crook of his neck to picking his boogers (whatever . . . every mom knows that satisfaction) and all the tickles and laughs and new discoveries in between. All my kids have taught me such valuable lessons; I need to be more appreciative of them and it's nights like tonight, while I listen to the nightengale sing, that I am able to really think about them and be grateful.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I am such a loser!!!

So, thanks for all the voting the last post. I realized, after I asked and then haven't blogged for two days since, that it probably looked like I was just prostituting for comments. But I wasn't, really, and I appreciate the feedback. I have some blogs a-comin', so hang tight. I got some business to discuss, first.
Tonight was the finale of my version of The Biggest Loser. Of the 37 participants 12 were brave enough to actually show up, and 11 of those weighed in.
Here's the skinny Mindy (/ie)s:

And my biggest competition, Annie:

Don't let Annie's darling looks and young face (seriously! doesn't she look about 15 in this picture? and how cute is her baby? it's like a mini Annie!!) fool you. She is hard core. I need to give Annie a huge shout out because she did her work 100% au natural (if you think spitting in a cup and wearing garbage bags to sweat it out is natural . . . she's married to a wrestler!) and if anyone motivated me it was Annie. Ever since Annie moved into my ward I have been impressed with her, but I had no idea how committed and competitive she could be until she gave me a good dose of trash-talking and jokes in the hallways at the church. I knew there was a serious undertone in what she was saying because she was looking good each week when we'd size each other up in the hallways. To really push me to do a smidge better than Annie was realizing a few weeks ago that we started within a pound of each other and at that point we had lost the exact same amount of weight. It was game on!

Here's Lindsey and Samantha (both who were teenagers when I met them and are now beautiful, wonderful women friends of mine . . . which is like calling them old and totally ruining their cool factor.) My mom is doing SOO well with her weight loss too and is reaching milestone after milestone! I'm really proud of her.

Dustin and Leah, my cousin and his wife, came the furthest and I'm so glad they did. Aren't they a gorgeous couple? And so fun! Leah has always been a teensy little thing (seriously, I would crush her if I ever accidentally sat on her!), but she was up for the competition and she shaved more than a tenth of her already tiny self right off. They're awesome!

This was my ghetto weight loss board. Everyone went with me into the bathroom and *some* opted for a strip down to their skivvies so they could get their official weight. I calculated the %s of everyone and then posted it next to their autograph. Mindie helped me pull off the tags to "reveal" the amount lost by each person. And you know what, any loss was good. The whole point was to get people motivated. I know a lot of people didn't want to weigh-in because they knew they wouldn't win, BUT as long as they didn't gain anything the past 4 months, then they're a success. Right? I wanted to do this competition because I was ready to commit to a change and make some permanent adjustments to my lifestyle. It worked for me.

Because I lost weight! In fact, I lost 30.7 pounds.

And when I figured the percentages on my bathroom floor, I realized that the HALF pound I lost more than what Annie had lost made a mere 2/10 of a difference in our weight losses. It was pretty much a bittersweet moment for me. You see, Annie and I had chatted on facebook on Monday night. And she told me where she was with her weight loss. And it was more than me. And I felt pretty defeated that night. But come yesterday morning I figured I had to give it my best effort and so I'd work as much as I can to see if I could at least bridge our gap. I'll give credit to last night's Zumba class, the 3 sessions in the steam room the past 24 hours, the fasting all day today, BUT most of all it was Annie's work that propelled me to really try to BEAT her! But when I did, I felt a little guilty! Like I had survivor's guilt or something.

Everyone was super great about the winning and the not winning. I'm grateful for that, and I fully plan on properly thanking Annie for her hard-fought battle. I doubt it makes her feel any better knowing that she helped me so much, but I've got to give credit where it's due.

Thanks again for all those who played. I really did have a good time, and I can't believe how quickly 4 and a half months go by. (Without this sounding like some awards' show speech or anything) I do want to give thanks to Tyler who's been super supportive while I've focused more on myself. My kids, who've been cooperative in going to the gym with me or eating "boring" foods. All my other family who has been quick to compliment me or take notice of my shrinking self (mostly they comment on my boobs shrinking/sagging, but hey! it's the price) and my friends who've been super patient and helpful at get togethers that involve food (like having healthy snacks OR patiently taking my lunch order with "adjustments" to keep it more healthy.)
I haven't really figured what I am going to do with my winnings. I'm trying to be practical without actually paying bills with it. Any ideas? Other than a new pair of jeans when I lose the last five pounds I want to lose, I haven't committed to anything. Thanks again, everyone!

Monday, April 13, 2009

A blog vote

I'm a little curious who is still reading my blog (since I post so freakishly infrequently.) Every week I get my sitemeter report and it looks like there's an average of 88 people who look at my blog on any given day. I'm betting some of you are getting sick of getting to my blog and thinking, "POST already!" I've never really though I cared too much who reads what I write, and heavens knows I lack an edit button on myself sometimes, so I've thought of several blogs I should/could/would write, but I'm not sure how to please my people. (Totally kidding! I'm not that into the numbers. Really . . . And now I protesteth too much, me thinks.) So, I'm also curious about what I should blog about. So here are your options. And yes, I'll take requests. Just login real quick (and I KNOW that means all you google readers have to go to my actual site) and tell me which topic.

Spring Break Shenanigans
Easter celebratin'
How Briggs is my best boyfriend
My thoughts on kids' sports
Observations I make while driving around Las Vegas
Memories of my childhood (specify era)
Weight loss/gym musings

Just lemme know and help me get past this blogger's slump. I got a case of the blumps.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Kudos for the "Good Mom" days

If I had to sum up my ratio of "good mom" days and "bad mom" days, I'd say the latter is probably ahead by a large margin. I hear a lot of whining most days, which I tell myself will one day STOP and turn into appreciation. (And you know one day means when they realize they do know how to scrub a toilet or play the violin or how to self-entertain and it feels good to them to have that "skills" that years before they had whined and boobed and cried about calling it "Soooo BOOOORRRRIIINNNNGG!") I get that kids are kids and they want to play. I'm sensitive to the fact that they would rather be entertained than to do any kind of work and that at some point in their life they won't really have too much of a choice; they'll have to work. BUT since we all suffer, at our house, from drop-it-wherever-you-want disease my kids and I spend a large amount of our time nursing that illness in the form of chores and practice and pitching in. Don't think I'm a slave driver or anything . . . cuz I'm pretty lazy too (where do you think they get it from) and I can appreciate a day spent lazing in front of the TV watching nothing by old Oprah shows.

This week, though, is Spring Break. It's kinda a love-hate relationship with me and time off from school because nothing predicts whining and boobing and crying like getting out of the routine of our normal weeks (summer break, track break, Christmas break, all the breaks generally end up with me wanting to breakdown.) SOOO yesterday, on Day #1, I asked the kids what all they'd like to do and they were quick with 3 or 4 answers each. I told them it was vacation for me, too, so some of the things they wanted to do were not things I would pick to do, but that I would respect their choices if they'd support mine. I also told them that before the fun would begin each day, their chores and music practices would need to be completed. It was just a matter of the facts. And that everything couldn't cost an arm and a leg. We need the arm and a leg. (They understand money when I explain it in appendages better, I guess.)

So, yesterday I got to go to lunch with some girlfriends and then I picked up a playdate for all of my kids. They played for a couple hours over here and then, after the missionaries came to dinner, we headed to the drive-in movie for a double feature.
{Sidenote about the drive-in movie. On Monday nights you pay $1.00 for kids. That's right, our entire family of 7 cost $15.50 to see 2 movies. I added up ticket prices at a normal theater and my guess would have been about $98.25 at a regular theater. PLUS you can bring whatever you want to eat without feeling all guilty for smuggling it past the usher in your super dooper diaper bag. AND when your kid has to pee you can send him up under the screen to let him water the weeds. AND when the kids or the adults are too tired to make it through the second feature, you can wrap him/her up in a blanket and they can have a mighty fine nap. I love it!}
So, we saw Monsters vs. Aliens and Race to Witch Mountain (both movies were on my kids' to do lists) as were playdates. Today, we packed up sandwiches and threw them in the bag with last night's movie snacks and headed to Exploration Park at Mountain's Edge. The weather was gorgeous and we took some friends with us, met my SIL, my sister and her friend and all their kids and had a good time while they ran around and came back to base table to check in. On our way home we stopped by McDonald's for ice cream cones (love $1.00 soft serve cone from McD's) and then the kids (save Briggs) were dropped off for a playdate at their friends' house. So, I've been cleaning, facebooking, and now blogging. Dinner's at my parents tonight (hogies while the kids play in the back yard) and for my part of spring break I will be sneaking off to Kohls and the gym once the kiddos are bathed and ready for bed. Nice, right!?

I'm just saying a little goes a long way for all of us and it really helps the kids when I remind them that we'll cross everything off their list before the end of the week. Still on the list:
Chuck E. Cheese
A trip to the Library
the new Hannah Montana movie
and a bike ride
Vegas strip exploration (fountains, gardens, touristy stuff we never do)
Yard work
Nothing like a "staycation" to feel like we'll be having a "good mom" week.