Monday, December 26, 2011

our favorite christmas gift

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. 

We sure did.  It was nice to finally relax and enjoy the holiday after being so busy rotating between working extra hard "catching up" and so ending time in bed with yucky morning sickness.  Toward the end with all the parties and everything last week, I made the decision to surrender to later bedtimes early on and put the boys on a later schedule, which ended up being sooo nice.  (The only thing is that I forgot that Mommy and Daddy can't do that and we ended up with some serious sleep deprivation that neither of us was expecting.  Good thing we've got some time this wee to relax and take some naps. :)  We had fun together as a family enjoying the season.

Our favorite thing we did do this year was go get an ultrasound on Christmas Eve to find out if our baby was a boy or girl.  I was a little hesitant because I loved being surprised my last pregnancy with Jonah, and I wanted to do it again.  But when Wes said it was his "only Christmas wish", I knew I had to give in and that it was far more important to him than it was to me.  I had made plans for it to be a surprise, but those plans got foiled by none other than Wes himself when he decided, to my horror, that he wanted me to have things my way and told me that he didn't want to find out the baby's gender anymore.  We had to have a few serious talks and finally the decision was made to go in and get the ultrasound on Christmas Eve and surprise our families with the news instead.  (Which was really fun!  More on that later.)

On Christmas Eve morning, Kolton padded into our room first (which is rare....he's my late sleeper) and climbed into bed with us for a snuggle.  He told us that he'd been thinking about what he wanted the baby to be and decided that instead of a boy (which is what he'd been insisting it had to be all along), he hoped it was a girl "so Mommy won't have to be the only girl anymore."  It was so sweet. 

We got everyone up and fed and ready, and took off for our little adventure.

Once we arrived, we headed in the room prepared and excited.  All of the boys cooperated most of the time - including Jonah - which was a bonus.  We fell in love with our little baby all over again as we saw its little fingers and toes and profile.  It's always so amazing to me how quickly everything grows and develops in such a short period of time.  It brings tears to my eyes almost every time I have an ultrasound, just to realize the incredible miracle of life taking place inside me.  I always feel washed over with awe,gratitude, and love.  This, of course, was no exception.

Finally, the part we had all been waiting for arrived.  We scanned "the giveaway area" to find that Wes and I were both so sure it was a boy that neither of us believed our eyes.....

Baby Stewart #4 is a little girl!

The doctor had to convince us both a little before we believe him, and we walked out of the studio quiet and stunned.  I still don't think it has hit either one of us completely.  It seems to be slowly sinking in instead.  But, we are all very excited and blessed to know that we will be able to have a daughter.

When we stopped by the copy shop on the way home to get some things for our surprise announcement, Wes endearingly wanted to buy and put as much pink stuff in with it as we could possibly fit, which I gladly obliged, of course.  ;)

Se here we are, baby #4 on the way, and grateful we have found out because we have nothing short of one outfit I bought last time to bring baby #3 in in case it was a girl.  I had decided to save it for the girl I'd hoped to have one day.  Now I am going to have to keep myself and hubby in check and we prepare and buy hairbows, pink outfits, dresses, and all kinds of girly things.  This little sweetie with be so lucky to have three doting and amazing big brothers looking out for her, and that makes me doubly happy.

So, there's our big news.  We are excited to be able to share it with everyone.  Now, I am headed to bed to fight off this nasty cold I woke up with on Christmas Eve.  The boys are excited to play with their presents, so I am hoping for a somewhat restful day.  (Cross your fingers for me.)  We hope that everyone had as lovely, fun, and magical a Christmas as we did.  We love you all and Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

i'm still here...

It has been a LONG time since I last blogged.  First, it was morning sickness.  Now, it's my darn computer again.  I am hoping it will be fixed in the next week or two (fingers crossed) so that I can begin catching up and continue documenting everything I want to remember from what is going on around here.

I thought I'd throw in a quick post to let you know I hadn't abandoned this blog and that I am planning on coming back soon.

Here's a quick update on our family:
- I am almost 17 weeks pregnant!  (and yes, still sick.  Throwing up is a daily occurrence, but I do actually get out of bed and get dressed now.  New issue: BACK PAIN.  It's so bad sometimes I can barely walk.  I am thinking I'm out of shape from laying in bed for two months.  I'm hoping this will resolve soon.  Either way, over that awful morning sickness, I'll take it!) 
Wes requested as his "only and best Christmas wish" that we find out the gender of the baby.  Since I can't say "no" and didn't realize it was so important to him, I gave in and we will find out on Christmas Eve (given baby Stewart cooperates. ;)  We are all getting very excited and anxious to find out who is going to be joining out family.
-Kolton is out of school for Christmas break, but only after a fun-filled week of parties, programs, and all kinds of goodies.  To top it off, he brought home Barnaby Bear (more on that later) the weeks before and even got to be "Star of the Week" during the last week of school.  He had a blast and I have enjoyed every minute of having a kindergartner.  Now, I am eating up every minute I have with him while he's home.  It feels like he is growing up so fast!  He is such a fun kid...I'm so glad he's my little boy.
-Micah was having a lot of trouble at Preschool.  He started to act differently at home as well.  Wes and I got concerned and called the teacher.  She proceeded to tell us how sweet Micah is, but that he was not learning much and not good at writing.  She told us she thought he had a learning disability and recommended having him tested, which we did. (I will tell you more about it later.)  Although we liked the teacher, I just didn't feel comfortable with the preschool after that, and we quickly made the switch to......Miss Mary (my mom)!  Luckily for me, my mom decided to pull Hallie out of the same preschool, and we were left with trying to find a two-day-a-week morning class after school had started.  We found it to be daunting and the only schools that seemed to have openings were very expensive and we were always lacking that "this is the one" feeling about it.  My mom ran the idea of her teaching by me and I, of course, LOVED it.  I've always felt like my mom and Micah have a special bond, and this has only strengthened it.  He's such a "Grammy's boy".  Since starting my mom's school two months ago, Micah has mastered all his shapes and colors and his first 10 letters.  It's been so rewarding to watch him build his confidence back up and receive the reassurance that Micah is definitely one bright kid.  He has blossomed so much these past few months.  We are all so proud of him and love him so much!
- Jonah has almost all of his teeth and finally decided that walking was worth his time about a month or so ago.  Now, he is all over the house, and Wes is furiously working to continually babyproof our house.  He says only four words: "Mama, Dada, tickle, and shh!"  But he is a very vocal little guy and sometimes a little too good at getting his way by screaming and carrying on.  Not to mention he loves the sound of his voice!  But, we love it too (most of the time, except in the car and during meals), so it's all good.  He started nursery a few weeks ago and completely loves it.  Wes and I can't help spying on him, and he looks so cute and little in there with all the other kids.  One thing he has figured out to do recently is turning on his Glowworm all by himself.  He was so proud of himself.  He is getting so big and every day becoming more and more "kid" than "baby" so I am seizing every opportunity to snuggle and rock him and enjoy all of the "babyness" he has left.  Luckily, he still loves to be snuggled when he's tired, so we get a great opportunity a few times a day to do just that!  We love this boy and have so enjoyed getting to know his sweet and silly personality more as he grows bigger.
-Wes is still at Walgreens through at least August.  He definitely enjoys the stores he's at now over Tooele because things run so much smoother and the commute is so much better.  He is starting to pine for the old independent pharmacy he used to work at though, and it will be interesting to see what happens come summer/fall when his contract is up.  There are so many pluses and minuses to each place, so I'm not sure what he'll do.  Either way, he continues to quietly shine wherever he is.  He doesn't even realize what a great leader he is because he's so humble it's not even on his mind.  But we've heard many things about what he can do to the numbers (how quickly prescriptions are filled, and how much money is made, and how many items are sold) from both Walgreens and Kirkpatrick.  Wes would probably not like me to brag too much about him on here, so I will leave it at that.  But, we are all so proud and grateful at what a good provider and person he is.  He continually amazes me and makes it so exciting to see what unfolds next in our lives.  I feel so blessed he has a secure job that he enjoys and that he has such a willing and responsible attitude.  I am one lucky gal!
- I am just trying to pick up the pieces of my life that I pretty much dropped when I got sick.  I have a lot of work to do, but since this has happened before, I know it always works out for the best and just try to enjoy as much as I can the present time.  Thanks to online shopping and letting go of a lot of things I normally do, I was able to manage Christmas okay, and we've even had a good amount of downtime together as a family, which has been a wonderful blessing.  It's always amazing to me that when you feel like you are at one of your personal lows, you truly just get EMBRACED with all these little tender mercies everywhere.  You get a chance to think about things and to be on the receiving end of love and kindness and service.  You get to think about gratitude and appreciation a lot.  I wasn't expecting nor hoping to get pregnant so soon, and I felt like I had to immediately sacrifice some lifelong dreams I'd had the opportunity of fulfilling.  Then I got sick on top of it and life has been really tough in a lot of ways.  But it's also been wonderful to be reminded over and over about all of the things I'm grateful for.  All of the beautiful, fulfilling things that I have in my life.  Even though I wasn't ready to be pregnant, I quickly fell in love with our baby and have enjoyed most of my pregnancy - even the bad times when you tell yourself you are grateful to feel so lousy because you know it means that the baby is growing strong and healthy.  It has been a thrill to share this pregnancy with two bigger boys who are truly interested in what is going on and "what piece of fruit or vegetable" our baby is like this week (it's a turnip or large onion right now).  It's always so incredible to me the spirit that enters the home when you bring home a newborn fresh from heaven.  This time around I have felt a piece of that heaven and the spirit with it now, long before I have had the chance to hold our newborn in my arms.  I feel so lucky to feel that.  It has given me a lot of strength and peace during this time that has been so difficult for everyone.  It's been amazing to know that at least we have had the spirit in our home guiding us through.
On a lighter note, I have been delving myself into trying to find maternity clothes I like and feel comfortable in (always a fun project, but even more fun when I get to shop with little boys haha!).  I have been knitting and crocheting more since it's easy to do that in bed.  I've started reading my hypnobirthing book and am gearing up for all the practice that's ahead of me.  I have gotten to ride Rocky (my horse) a little bit and it's been really soul-feeding and fun to build that bond with him and work together.  I've been starting to think about and want to exercise, but the one time I did do some yoga I got really sick, so I've shied away from trying again until the holidays are over (I am thinking swimming might feel wonderful on my back though....anyone tried it pregnant?).  I am actually excited to find out what we are having so I can be totally prepared and hopefully even make some special little hats and booties and maybe even a quilt for baby.  Nesting is definitely in full swing and it's a good thing, because after two months of a man taking care of the house, it needs a woman's touch, big time!  All the nooks and crannies need dusting, things need to be organized and thrown away, preparations made, budget needs catching up.  I am so thankful for that (mostly) joyful pregnant nesting instinct that makes me do things that are sometimes overwhelming.  It's been rewarding to work on things and see big improvements, and cute Wes has been so supportive and helpful hanging things, carrying things, etc.  Lots of changes going on around here!

Well, I can tell this update is already too long for most people to read, so I am going to sign off wishing you all a very Merry Christmas.  I am so grateful for this time of year and all the magic and love and peace it entails.  I feel so very blessed to have a wonderful family and friends to share this special time with.  And most of all, I am grateful for the gospel and the knowledge of my Savior, Jesus Christ, and his love for me - and each one of us.  I lean on him heavily through each passing day and feel so blessed to know He is there and He is as real as you or me.  I appreciate so much His constant influence and guidance in my life, and the hope and perseverance that brings me.  I feel so glad that we get the opportunity during this holiday season to first remember all we have to be grateful for (Thanksgiving) and then remember how much love we give and receive every day, how many opportunities there are to serve others, forgive others, befriend others, and share our feelings and take time to make other people feel special and loved during Christmas.  Sharing in the love and excitement of the season is one of my favorite parts.  So is giving.  :) 

To each and all, I hope you have a fabulous holiday with all the people you love the most.  Hugs!

Friday, November 4, 2011

happy halloween 2011

Halloween was a bit of a blur this year due to morning sickness.  We had to oust pumpkin carving and procrastinate caramel apples, but all in all, we had a great year!

Micah was a knight on Halloween, but I had to throw in a picture of him in his Iron man costume because for the whole week leading up to Halloween, he lived in that thing.  Here he is at our ward's trunk-or-treat:

And here are Kolton and Nathan at the trunk-or-treat (big thanks to my family who came with me since Wes had to work):

Here is Micah - "Iron man-Spiderman" after all the face painting craziness of Halloween morning. All our kindergartners were SO excited for the Halloween parade at school. (Thanks also goes to my awesome mother-in-law who ran me through the logistics of painting Spiderman and even loaned me some supplies.)

His makeup is a little smeared due to some tears, but he didn't notice, so all was well.

Abby also hung out with us while we waited for the parade to begin.  Of course Teddy was there too!

Hallie, Daddy's girl as usual.  :)

Poor Jonah had a rough morning.  He pretty much got thrown food and ignored all morning since I was face painting everyone and my mom was getting everyone loaded up.  (Ignore the huge orange juice stain on his arm...he dumped his sippy cup out on the high chair and we just didn't have time to change the poor guy without missing the parade.)

Here is Spiderman Kolton:

And "Spiderman-knight" Nathan and "Dead-pilot-with-blood-dripping-off-his-mustache-and-fangs" Josh:

Please excuse the fact that some of these pictures are blurry.  I had to chase the kids who wouldn't stop for pictures.

Halloween night, we had a pumpkin-shaped pizza and salad.  We also made some caramel corn to take to my mom's to share.  Then we loaded up kids, treats, and costumes and headed to my parents' neighborhood for trick-or-treating.  Here is the best shot I could get of all the kids.  We had trick-or-treaters coming and going during pictures, so everyone was just a little distracted.  ;)  Aren't they all cute?

This was my very favorite costume this year.  Isn't Jonah the cutest teddy bear you've ever seen?!  I love those little feet!

Let's get a closer look...

And here's our Spiderman (sorry it's blurry):

And our knight:

Both boys insisted on getting their faces washed for the night.  They didn't want to wear their masks with paint underneath, I guess.
Let's get one last look at that darling teddy bear...

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Pumpkin Walk

This year, we had the privilege of attending our first "Pumpkin Walk". It's something our elementary school does every year around Halloween, and after attending I can see why it has become such a fun tradition!

Each class in the school decorates their pumpkins around a character value they want to develop.  They choose a theme and everyone decorates their own pumpkin.  They are then set up outside the school, one class after another, for anyone to come out and enjoy.  After the walk, the kids get to take their pumpkins home to keep.  It's a really cute idea!

I took lots of pictures.  Each class represented so much work and creativity to me that I had a hard time leaving anyone out!

I loved how some of the older classes had each child write a little bit about their goals/values for the upcoming year:

Isn't this so true?

I thought this was a "sweet" idea:

These kids make me laugh and I've never even met them!  Aren't their chef pumpkins hilarious?

Don't you just want to hug this little girl after reading that?  What a sweetheart!


This was one of my favorites because there was a little more variation between each pumpkin.  The kids really took that and ran with it.

This totally looks like something I would have done as a child.  All pink and pretty. 

I really got a kick out of this one.  She kind of reminds me of Miss Piggy.  :)

I loved the different perspective offered here:

This could melt the heart of any mother of boys.  So sweet.

Very mature and eloquent. This kid is going places!

And here is Kolton's class and pumpkin.  I loved the theme his teacher picked.  So perfect for kindergartners!  I loved seeing each "chocolate chip cookie".  So darling!

Here's my little "chocolate chip"!  (in the yellow towards the middle)

And my little brother, Nathan.  (in the orange on the bottom left)

And my other little brother, Josh. (smack dab in the middle with the Spiderman hat)

And their pumpkins:

My boys were so excited to see all the pumpkins.  Kolton was so proud of his pumpkin and couldn't wait to show us.

This is how Jonah looked pretty much the entire time.  (If anyone out there knows how to keep shoes and socks on a toddler, please tell me all your secrets!)

And after awhile, this is what he decided he thought of the pumpkin walk:
Oh well.

All in all, it was a really fun night.  A big thanks and pat on the back to the fun and creative minds behind it.  We can't wait until next year!


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