Man alive, I feel like all I do one this blog lately is updates. But with my poor "pregnant brain", I am seriously forgetting more than normal, and writing things down helps me remember (so hopefully one day I can come back here and document the little moments better.), so bear with me. :)
Some of the things that have been going on around here lately are:
-Kolton had his 6th birthday on March 23rd. Crazy I know. I can't believe I have a 6-year-old! And being in kindergarten this year, I couldn't quite squeak by without a "friend party", so we kept things simple and away from home (no mess to clean up that way) and headed over to Jungle Jim's. Everyone had so much fun we ended up calling their mommies and staying longer! It was fun and simple, but still exhausting to this preggo mommy and overworking daddy, so we postponed his birthday traditions until life slowed down a little and we could really enjoy them (yes, they are still postponed. But this year, on his birthday, he changed his tradition from flying kites to bowling, so it threw us off a little.). Although it's hard watching my kids grow older WAY TOO FAST, I have enjoyed each stage so much that it's been okay. Kindergarten with Kolton has been so much fun and I have had a blast learning the ropes with him at school. Kolton is such a smart, fun little boy that it has made the whole experience that much more fun! We love our Kolton!
-Jonah was finally tested for his development (the suggestion to do so has been made a few times since his 1-year appointment, but our pediatrician is pretty relaxed and laid back, and he kind of left it up to us to decide what to do.). He's been slow to hit milestones (we really just think he's a bit of a late bloomer), which has been okay, but the past little while his lack of speech has been driving everyone crazy - including him. Boy oh boy that kid can scream! First, we really tried for a few months to teach him to point, to try to get him to spit some kind of sound out, and taught him some sign language. He picked up on the signs right away and has continued to do so, but he still wouldn't verbalize anything, not to mention he's done many things differently than my other two boys. He doesn't seem all that interested in certain things that most toddlers I've been around are totally excited about. (I'd be worried about the autism spectrum a little if he wasn't so social, but thankfully, he's very social and doesn't seem to have any delays there.) Wes and I finally decided at our five-facet review that it was time to test him and just make sure everything was okay. He tested in the 4th percentile on speech (both talking and understanding), and the tester commented on how he walks on his toes a lot. Apparently, sometimes that can be a sign of some sensory issues, which they've been keeping an eye on since then, and in the past month or so of testing, they have decided to send out an occupational therapist to see what he thinks. We were told that sometimes kids with a little sensitivity in that area can be picky eaters (oh yes he is!) and slow talkers because they are to busy trying to process the environment they are in (bright lights, they way the floor looks, the texture of food, etc.). It will be interesting to see how it unfolds. Wes and I are grateful for such a great team helping us take care of Jonah and excited to watch him blossom as these people who are experts i their field will be able to help guide us to things that make him tick. He's such a sweet little boy and we are glad we made the decision to be proactive about it before the baby comes so we don't rock his world too much. He's already grown leaps and bounds since we started really focusing on signing (although still no new words vocally), so we are excited to see him blossom as this starts and we are all able to work as a knowledgeable team to help him grow and discover.
-I have been worried about my poor horse as my hip problems this pregnancy have pretty much put riding to a stop. The last time we got him out to work him on the ground (which was also tough to do because due to the walking difficulty, I need to bring Wes with me and it's hard to pin that busy man down sometimes!), he was pretty hot and we ended up just letting him out to wander around in the pasture for a couple hours. We tried to get out there a couple times a week after that, but the mud from the winter was just a little too difficult to deal with for both us and him (He got so excited and started running in the pasture the first time and he totally biffed it when he slid on a patch of deeper mud. Thankfully, his ego was bruised more than anything else.). So, it became one of those things I let simmer in the back of my brain for awhile. But it started getting to me a little more with all the time passing by that he wasn't working. How boring to be sitting around all day - I would hate that! So I said a little prayer and just asked that I would know what to do. I didn't want to even think about letting him go, but started wondering if we would be able to find room for him after baby, or if we needed to find him a new home. But I love Rocky and I feel that his presence has been a very healing, spirit-feeding thing for me, something so special and important to my well-being. (I still visit him often and think about him every day while I'm unable to do much with him.) My answer came pretty quickly when a few hours later I received a text from the stable manager that some other person's horse just passed away (she was 29, I think), and she had fallen in love with Rocky (I know my opinion is biased, but he's a pretty easy guy to fall in love with....he's such a sweetheart. He's my big ol' teddy bear). She was wondering if she could work him and ride him while I couldn't and was willing to do so for free. I told her to have this lady call me. Although it sounded great, I had a few reservations. How would she treat him? What if he got hurt? Was he going to be hauled to an indoor arena? Would this help or hurt? But I decided to give her the benefit of the double because I trust my stable manager, Debbie, and she said she'd trust this lady with her horse. Candace gave me a call a few days later and explained that she missed her horse, but was also a little relive when she passed. This horse had been a show horse and had kept her in the show circuit. That was fun, but getting to be too high pressure and not something she wanted to do. But it had also been a source of supplementary income for their family and she had been trying to think of a way to earn money with horses rather than going back to work. While visiting Rocky one day, she had the idea that she could work him and continue his training for me for free in exchange for being able to teach some riding lessons on him at the stable arena when the weather gets nice. She offered to help continue teaching me about horsemanship and also give us free riding lessons. She said she'd let me know how things were going and if it wasn't going to work out. I felt really good about it, so I decided to go for it. Why not? Sounded like a win-win to me. Candace, the horse trainer, would get what she wanted, and so would I. I'd have someone to ride him, care for him, love on him, teach him, while I couldn't. Then I'd have a good mentor and friend to help me with him. And Rocky isn't a high strung horse by any means, but he does have lots of energy and I love the idea of him getting used more. And being a lesson horse would mean he'd have lots more training in the realm of children, which is something we were working on (he loves kids and is great with them, but when we ride him he looks for every little movement that might have been us asking him to run, so we've been hesitant to out our little ones on him too much yet.). So far, things have been going fabulous and Candace has done a great job. We love Rocky and feel so grateful that he has a new buddy to watch out for him and help him continue on the learning path we had put him on.
-Kettlebells have been my saving grace. If I miss more than a day of working out (I exercise with them 3-4 days a week), I literally have trouble walking and getting around, not to mention I have tons more pain to deal with. I can't go as high on the weights as I would like being pregnant and all, but it's felt good to keep in decent shape and know that it will pay off in the end. My body has been so different this time carrying a girl. All the pregnancy symptoms are different, and I feel much less attractive than normal (I'm not one of those cute little pregnant ladies, and this time I feel much bigger everywhere.). I have been careful about watching my gaining, and it's on track, but I feel chubby. I don't feel as if it looks like I'm on track. Everyone keeps telling me that it will come off fast, and I'm trying to believe it. I worked so hard to lose weight before I got pregnant, and I really don't want to go back to that ever again. So for now, I'm trying to focus on the fact that my body is growing a little person inside me and that merits some changes. I know it will all be worth it, and I keep hoping that it really will come off fast afterward because of how active I've been this time around. Not to mention, since I've felt so much worse, I know I'm going to feel like a million bucks once I have this baby, so exercising will be a joy and walking no longer painful. I am grateful kettlebells have kept me healthy and that I am getting around so well despite the challenges. The relaxation practices really help as well.
-Wes has become a yard rat with me, which has been great! He and Joe cut a tree down in our year a few weeks ago in a spot we want to extend out garden to next year. (This year we have to let everything die and rip the rest of it out in the fall.) He also pulled up some sod and made a fabulous spot for two 4'x8' raised bed gardens. He even moved a sprinkler and is planning to rig me some drip irrigation. I've been so grateful for his enthusiasm and help, and we have tagged teamed pretty well. It's going to be a fun little hobby for out family to share in. They boys have loved helping me in the past, and everyone loves to help eat the fresh fruits and veggies. We are planning on throwing a couple more boxes in for tomatoes and strawberries. Hopefully we find the time and have that yummy strawberry patch this year! Either way, we are excited to have such a great yard to garden in. One more reason we love where we live. We have absolutely LOVED having a bigger yard and it seems to have infinite possibilities. :)
-Wes and I got called to be scout leaders in our ward. Serendipitously, there is only one scout now, so it has been fun and not too overwhelming. His name is Dallin and he is actually our babysitter's little brother. He is a little sweetheart and we have had so much fun with him! We are excited to get him caught up on his Wolf award before he turns 9 in June. How amazing is this? We have Dallin until June (when baby comes), and then we have no scouts until the end of August. Then we only have one scout until we get a little group at the end of the year. What a great way for us to "ease in" to the program, and to have a built in maternity leave is just fantastic! We have loved getting involved in the scouting program and are excited to learn the ropes before our boys are cubs themselves.
-Micah has been thriving doing preschool with my mom and I. He's a smart little cookie and has learned so much and thoroughly enjoyed having school with both Abby and Hallie. I have enjoyed having special time with him each week, and also special time with my little sisters. They are sweet, delightful kiddos and I'm thankful to get this time with them.
-Kolton has become a budding musician. I have taught him a few duets on the piano, he has dabbled in violin off and on, and he's really sitting down on his own every day and plunking through songs and practicing anything I will teach him. I need to get him lessons or start teaching him myself while he's so interested. He blew my mom away the other day with his playing. It's kind of neat to see this particular interest develop. And my younger ones seem to be following his lead a little.
-I have been playing the Bloom game with a bunch of women from the Power of Moms board. It has been such a fun, positive experience. You should definitely check it out and get blooming yourself! ;) It's helped me a ton with my Word of the Year goals.
-We finally traded in our beloved Pilot for a minivan. We now drive a Sienna, and I must say I love it. I love the sliding doors, the roominess everywhere, the big trunk, and the DVD player. It is worth it's weight in gold for sure! I can't believe that in less than 2 months we will be toting 4 little kids around in it!
-I have also recently gotten hooked on the "Shopaholic" books. They are hilarious! If you are looking for a hilarious, easy read, these books are for you. They are fabulous!
-Easter week and all its traditions has been in full swing this week. (I will write more about it later.) Today we will dye our eggs, and do our traditional egg lesson, Jerusalem dinner, and resurrection rolls. I love Easter as much as Christmas and it's become even more fun as the kids get older and really start to learn and understand better what is going on.
-Wes has started a new jumping program for volleyball this year. Joe recently started one too, so they are constantly comparing notes and making protein shakes and doing all sorts of workouts. It's been fun to see Wes get fired up again and he has been so dedicated so far. I'm excited to see if he meets his goal of a 40'' vertical. Go Wes!
-The big boys have finally learned to pump on the swings, and Jonah has figured out how to open the back door. He will even go down our big slide all by himself (those gutsy Stewart genes). We have thoroughly enjoyed such a mild winter and beautiful spring! Thanks goodness for swingsets!
Well, that's all for now. I hope you all have a wonderful Easter!