Saturday, February 25, 2012

Hello! We are still here. With five kids, a husband, and a full time job there just isn't much time to blog anymore.
Heath has been busy with basketball season. His girls team will probably make it to state so he is preparing for that. He is also busy training college students studying to become Athletic Trainers. I think he gets a lot of satisfaction from being an educator for these students and I know he is able to present information and techniques in a way they can understand when the material becomes difficult. Not bragging (kind of am), but Heath is the example the Arkansas State Athletic Training program shares with their students. They talk about him and his success and skills in the classroom, and basically tell the students to try to be like him! I take particular pride in the fact that they use his resume to teach the students how to write a resume. I wrote Heath's resume and have always been a resource for my students who are writing resumes. It is nice to be a part of helping my students job search and ultimately become successful.
Kalyn is doing well in first grade. She has been on the sick side this spring with various colds and a case of strep throat. She is a sweet girl and finally talked me into letting her ride the bus home from school. I have been anti-bus riding since having kids because I didn't have a great experience with that while I was in school. I finally caved because the kids that ride her bus are only kindergarten through second grade and she has several friends who also ride that bus. She has had a blast - and it is good for me to release some control. I don't like to give up my protective mothering instincts, but I also don't want to hold my kids back because of my own anxiety issues.
Keali is as artistic as ever. She is growing so tall and has quite a sense of humor. I often find her playing with Kynan and Kaci. She is so gentle and good with them - I wonder if she will lean towards education as a career? She still makes that awful noise. Remember how I used to call her a Banshee? It hasn't gotten better and has grown with her. When she gets upset she makes a sound that makes me want to rip my ears off. I don't know why she does it or how to make her stop, so suggestions are welcome!
Kynan is growing into the cutest little boy ever! And he knows it. He is a huge flirt, just like his Daddy, and melts my heart when he tells me he loves me. He, of the twins, is so polite and uses good manners most of the time. He says please and thank you and has recently started using your welcome. I love that blonde headed boy!
Kaci is still the sweetest little monster. She can be so mean to her brother and then give out the most beautiful smile. Her moods are extreme and change suddenly. We've been having problems again with her lungs (remember she has lung disease) and have been trying to get it under control with this crazy weather we've been having here. Freezing temperatures one day and almost 70 degrees the next. It is so annoying. Kaci's favorite thing to say is, "Mommy! What you doing?" The way she says it is so exagerated it makes me laugh every time.
Kynli will be four months old tomorrow. I can't believe she is that old! She is a precious little baby and has stayed small longer than any of our other children. This girl is just the light of my life. I've had the blessing of being able to nurse with her and I feel closer to her because of this than I did with my other babies. She started sleeping through the night about 8 weeks old, but since I had surgery she is back to waking up a couple times a night. I've done my share of whining about that, but recently was reminded I'm so blessed to have a healthy baby.
In early January I had a tummy tuck and liposuction to fix some things that exercise hasn't successfully adressed. My recovery was rough for a while, but I'm pleased with the results. There is some talk of going back and re-vising some of the work, but I'm not sure I am willing to go through the pain/discomfort again. It wouldn't be as bad this time, but still. I need to do some forgetting first!
As a result of the surgery, I've had to begin buying a whole new wardrobe - something that I hate because I hate shopping. I have to admit though that shopping is a lot more fun when clothes fit properly! I've had a good time with it.
I'm still an Area Coordinator for the Department of Residence Life at Arkansas State University, but I'm interviewing for some other positions. My current position requires me to live in an on-campus apartment and with five kids we have outgrown it. Professionally it is also time for me to move around to further my career so I'm looking into various opportunities.
Thursday morning I found out my supervisor was backing out of a placement exchange (remember I've gone to those the past three years searching for graduate students to work for me), so I got about 3 hours notice that I would be going in her place. It was crazy to pack and prepare for a four day trip - especially since I nurse Kynli. I miss my precious kids and hubby so much! I am having fun though and enjoying myself. I can't wait to get home and hold Kynli though!
Life is life. Busy. We are taking it day by day. People ask how I do it all. The answer is that I'm good at creating the illusion that I have it together! Life is busy. Five kids is a crazy number of kids! I made these choices though so I also choose to make it work. I'm happy with my life.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Tomorrow is Kynan and Kaci's 2nd birthday! It's hard to believe it has been two years since that day. They are both so big now, you would never guess they were so tiny when they were born. I can barely lift them! To be fair though, I am nine months pregnant and they weigh more than 30 lbs each.
Kaci is having to get straps for her legs. I don't know if that is what they are called, but basically, she is going to have to wear a belt with straps that wrap around each leg and clip on to her shoes. Her legs turn inwards naturally, and we've tried fixing it with therapy, but it just isn't working. It is a left over from being squished inside for so long. She is going to HATE this. She can't stand us putting a long sleeve shirt on her. I don't want to think about how she will respond to us wrapping straps around her legs. Should be fun times for all.
Kynli is due for her c-section November 1st. Just 13 days away. I wish she would come a bit sooner though. I don't feel I'm as big as I've been with other pregnancies, but I am definetly ready to not be pregnant any more. If I'm going to be losing sleep, I'd rather it was because of an infant than 'just because I can't sleep.' Annoying.
Kalyn and Keali are getting excited about Kynli's arrival. Kynan really doesn't care, and Kaci, while she knows something named Kynli is in my stomach, well...we are just worried she will try to kill the baby when she gets here. She is very possessive and gets violently jealous. Not a good combination. We are doing all we can to prepare her. Hopefully she will surprise us all and be the best big sister ever.
We are having our own home version of Cupcake Wars this weekend. It is Heath and Keali vs. Kalyn and me. I don't know about our opponents, but Kalyn and I have been planning out our cupcake (we are only doing round 1 to Kalyn's disappointment...I refuse to make 1000 cupcakes) for a couple of weeks. I think we finally have a plan formulated. Now to execute properly and to keep the competition from snooping...

Sunday, September 18, 2011

What is wrong with my computer?  It just took minutes to pull this up.  Yuck.  Thought I would post some pictures.  We’ve been very bad about taking photos lately.  Most of what we take is with our phones, so if the picture quality isn’t the best, you know why.

This is Kalyn and Keali at the beginning of June following their basketball camp.  They both did much better this year than last.

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Keali just chilling out on the couch with the twins.

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In August, Heath’s Mom was watching the twins.  A couple days later, this showed up in the local newspaper.  My baby girl, sans-clothing.  Julia swears she tried to put a swimming suit on but Kaci wouldn’t let her.  My response was, she is only 22 months old!  Oh well, she is a cutie.  I just hope she doesn’t get used to posing half nude in public.014

This was the first day of school for Kalyn and Keali.  I think they look very cute!019

Keali wasn’t too excited about going back to school, but she put on a brave face.

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Kalyn was excited, but nervous about 1st grade.  025

This was my birthday in August.  As usual, I had to work on my birthday, so while I was out for the day, Heath and the girls made me two cakes and got some beautiful roses for me.086

Kynan is just a cutie pie.  What would I do without his cheese?

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Kaci can be super precious when she wants to be.  Mostly she is just mean, but this was a good moment.  Sorry it’s a bath pic.097

We continue to be busy juggling our lives every day.  Football season is in full force now so I’m a single parent most nights of the week.  Kalyn sometimes will step up and really help me out, but she is also feeling a bit of pressure I think being the oldest.  She tries so hard, but occasionally will say “I’m only a kid” or “I only have two hands” when I ask her to help me out.  Sorry baby.  Wish I could do it all myself (not really) and pamper you for life, but you gotta learn sometime.  She is good at watching the twins and sometimes will even help clean up (on her own terms, of course).

Keali continues to make the worlds most annoying sound every day.  Really.  I would remove her voicebox if it wouldn’t be considered abuse.  I don’t know what it is, but she makes this sound and I just want to chop off my ears and start hitting things.  We are working on that.

Kynan has started speaking more in the past week.  It’s fun when I realize I know what he is saying.  His favorite thing to say right now is, “Where Daddy go?”  Not that Daddy is always leaving, but when he goes into a different room, it can be quite traumatic…?

Kaci has gotten even more obsessed with shoes.  Not that she loves picking out shoes, but something is VERY wrong if somebody isn’t wearing their shoes.  “Oh NO!” she cries every time she sees bare feet.  If your shoes are anywhere in sight or in her reach, she will retrieve them and assist you in putting them on properly.  It’s really cute, but dramatic.

I’m down to 7 full weeks left (6 for the c-section).  I think I still haven’t realized just how soon that is.  I know in my head it is just around the corner, but I have so much to do between now and Kynli’s arrival, it feels like months away still.  We did a fetal-fibronectin test on Friday to see if I am at risk for pre-term labor.  I’ve been having a lot of contractions and pressure, so just to rule it out, we did the test.  Thankfully it came back negative, giving us almost a guarantee that Kynli won’t show up for at least 2 more weeks.  For the time being, she is a very active little girl and enjoys poking her bony parts into me.  I’m ready to not be pregnant, but I admit I will miss being pregnant.  I’m usually miserable when pregnant, but I do really love feeling the baby move around and I know I’ll miss that.  No more babies though!  I am pretty sure I’m done!

Friday, September 9, 2011

On call.  Again.

I’m on call a lot lately – probably because I’ll be out the second half of the semester and unable to take call, but still.  It stinks.

Life continues to be full of super busy monotony.  Sounds weird, but that is what it is.  At work we are preparing to host the RA conference for our region.  It is the first weekend in October.  Less than a month away and still so much to do.  The committee I am advising is responsible for registration and hotel accommodations.  It didn’t sound that hard when I volunteered for it, but I also didn’t know I would be  9 months pregnant at the time of the conference!  Paperwork has started coming in and I’ve been hit with just how much goes into a project like this.  Just a month and it will be over.  That is what I have to keep telling myself!

Kynli has taken to being super active in the middle of the night.  Just like a baby.  I don’t mind so much, I do enjoy feeling her move around (my favorite part of pregnancy by far!), I just wish she calmed down a bit more when I attempt to rest.  She is a wiggly worm though.

Kynan and Kaci are going to FINALLY start physical therapy next week!  With the addition of PT, they will each be in therapy for 5 hours per week.  Luckily, we are able to have them go at the same time so it isn’t like we are having to (Heath actually) take them for 10 hours out of the week.  I hope we see results soon.  Their problem isn’t too pronounced though so it may just be a gradual improvement.  Their speech therapy and developmental therapy has yielded amazing results so far and they are getting more talkative (recognizable words) every day. 

Right now, Kaci’s cutest words are “Spongebob Squarepants.”  Kalyn has started watching Mighty Morphing Power Rangers (why did I ever like that show?) and I swear Kynan said, “Go Go Power Rangers.” this evening.  Very cute.  Kaci said  I Love You for the first time this week, though it sounds more like, “Ah Waaah Uuu.” Still.  We know what it means and it melts my heart when I hear it.

Kaci is a biter.  I picked up the twins from Heath’s parents a few days ago.  Kynan had a very pronounced bite mark on his forearm and on his back.  His BACK!  I hate to say this isn’t the first time he has been mistaken for a particularly tasty morsel, but I just don’t know what to do other than tell her to stop because it hurts.  This evening Kynan was crawling over Kaci on the couch and she just bent over and tried to sink her teeth into his side!  Any suggestions are welcome.  Kalyn and Keali never bit anyone so this is new for us.  Kynan used to bite, but that was just instinct I think.  He has stopped.

Kalyn’s school is doing a myriad of fundraisers.  Last week she told me they were selling “Pickles on the Playground” for 50 dollars.  I told her I was pretty sure it wasn’t 50 dollars, probably 50 cents, but she was insistent.  When I told her I wasn’t about to spend 50 dollars on anything, let alone a pickle, she stated, “But Momma, It is a PICKLE!”  If it isn’t the size of a house, I’m not buying it.  It was 50 cents by the way.

Keali is Keali.  She makes the most horrible sound I’ve ever heard when she is upset.  It makes me want to rip out her voicebox and tear my ears off my head.  I can’t stand it.  I’m working with her to get her to express frustration in a less annoying way, but so far I am losing.  She is very cute though and a bit of a monkey.  She is a performer when she doesn’t think anyone is looking, but gets very embarrassed when she is caught.  She is very funny.

Heath is at work tonight, and I’m about to go to bed.  First I have to swallow half a bottle of Mylanta, then I will be good to go.  Happy Weekend!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Hello!  Haven’t blogged lately.  Not really that much going on.  I finished training with my staff (thank goodness!) and we opened campus for all the students to come back.  Heath had football practice all through August and Kalyn and Keali began school again. 

Kalyn is in 1st grade and doing very well.  She came home after her first (and second also) week and exclaimed, “Well.  I survived my first (or second) week of school.”  I didn’t know it was such a battlefield, but life has changed a lot since I was that age, maybe it is?!

Keali is in her second year of pre-school, and while I really can’t stand her teacher, she is doing well.  She is very artistic which translates into LOTS of paper coming home.  Once again, I am cursed with the decision of what to keep and what to dismiss.  That’s a nice way of saying throw away.

The twins aren’t in any permenant program right now, but they do attend developmental and speech therapy twice a week.  They were supposed to have started physical therapy weeks ago, but we are having a hard time scheduling it around what Heath is doing (they go in the mornings since he is home then) and what the therapist has.  Truth be told, I’m getting a bit angry it is taking so long.

Actually I get angry about everything.  I’ve never made it a secret that I suffer from depression, and being pregnant makes it worse since I am not able to properly medicate.  In addition to that though, I also have generalized anxiety disorder and post traumatic stress disorder (stemming from the birth of the twins).  As we get closer to Kynli’s arrival, I am re-living a lot of different things and I am terrified.  I live every moment in fear that I am going to again have a premature baby, or worse. 

Kynli is moving really well and growing appropriately at this point, so the single artery cord is not anything to stress over at this point.  We are still keeping an eye on it though.  On top of all my emotional/psychological issues, I am STILL the only Area Coordinator since we have yet to re-hire for the position left vacant in June.  My supervisor has since early August taken over most of the responsibilities that I dealt with during the summer (those in addition to my own) so that has been quite a bit of help, but work isn’t running as smoothly as it has in the past, though it is getting better.

I’ve started seeing my psychologist again just to have non-medicinal therapy to get me through the next two months.  She says it is pretty much a miracle that I am functioning at all based on my background and the added stress of being the only AC, and an unplanned, high-risk pregnancy that causes me physical pain with every step (a left over from torn ligaments and tendons from when I was pregnant with the twins – it doesn’t hurt when I’m not pregnant) and having four kids at home with a husband who works at night.  I try to explain that Heath really is the one who keeps everyone alive, but she seems to think that I’m doing pretty well given all the circumstances.  I still don’t feel great about it.  I have a lot of guilt.  That’s funny kind of because though I feel tons of guilt, I have absolutely no interest in fixing what is causing the guilt.  I’m too tired.  Not always physically tired.  Emotionally mostly.  Yuck.

On the bright side, I have an amazing support system.  Heath basically took care of the kids single handedly all summer (and still does with the twins in the morning) and puts up with my moods most of the time.  He also has completed the bulk of the housework pretty much since I found out I was pregnant.  I have good friends who help out with housework and such when they can, but mostly provide great emotional support and they just let me talk (that’s a nice word for what I actually do) when I am stressed.  On top of my hubby and friends, Heath’s parents are big supporters, though I don’t know if they realize just how much they do that positively effects me and my family. 

Mom is coming up to visit next weekend.  At least, that is the plan.  Oh, and we got great news yesterday!  My brother in law Richie and his wife Debi are expecting their second child.  This means so much to them and I am happy for their blessing. 

In all, this pretty much sounds like I am miserable, and in part I am.  The normal part of my brain trys to rationalize everything out, but the abnormal Laughing out loud is a lot more powerful!  At least I still believe things will get better.  9 weeks and counting.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

We are having a baby girl!  At first (I’m not gonna lie), I was disappointed.  We already have three girls and I really wanted a brother for Kynan.  However in the two and a half weeks since we found out, I’m very happy we are having a girl.  My only hope at this point that she doesn’t end up looking like the other three.  I just would like to see a girl who looks different. 

We are going to name her Kynli.  We aren’t sure of a middle name yet.  Heath has one picked out but I really hate it.  I’ll have to figure something else out. 

So, in addition to figuring out she was a she, we also found out that she has a two vein cord.  A normal umbilical cord has two arteries and a vein.  Kynli’s only has one artery and one vein.  It doesn’t have to mean anything, but it is associated with various ‘anomalies.’  That’s a scary word.  My doctor scheduled another ultrasound for two weeks out so we could check again and verify (we did that yesterday and she does have the single artery cord) and cautioned us not to look it up on the internet.

Of course, when I got to a computer I began looking it up.  SCARY!!  All sorts of things from Trisomy 13 and 18 to renal defects and cardiologic defects.  Low birth weight is also a common side effect.   (Trisomy 13 is the super scary one.)  In the two weeks in between ultrasounds, I made peace with this fact.  The doctor has been very careful to look at all the organs and anything else that may indicate an “anomaly.”  So far, everything looks really good.  I’ve also had the quad screen already and it didn’t turn up any genetic problems.

We could have some additional testing done, but there is nothing we can change even if something were found and there is no point in worrying about something we can’t change.  Yes, it would be nice to be prepared should Kynli have some sort of problem/s, so we are going to keep a close eye on her and if anything should appear suspicious, we will do the testing.

Kalyn and Keali are excited about Kynli.  Kynan doesn’t seem to care (I doubt he or Kaci understands anything about Kynli) and Kaci points to my stomach and says “Sissy Kynli” (in baby speech, of course).  It’s really cute.

Kynan and Kaci have tested as being developmentally delayed, and are now in developmental and speech therapy.  They’ve only been going for a couple weeks, but I can tell a huge difference in their speech already…especially Kaci.  Neither one really likes to be dropped off to therapy, but neither one ever wants to leave either!  The people we take them to are really good and only work with children.  They have a variety of gyms and play rooms for the kids to work in.  Kalyn and Keali go into the gym as often as they can too, just to play in the ball pit!

My summer has gotten almost unbearably complicated now that GHD training has started.  The schedule this year is actually much better than last year, in that I get home around 5 pm almost every day and I don’t have quite as many weekends with active training session.  It is so exhausting being pregnant with four young children during training!  And this pregnancy has been so hard. 

Luckily for me, Heath has been able to pick up almost all of my slack this summer and when it hasn’t been him, it’s been his Mom, a babysitter, or my friend Patience.  I pretty much get home and want to go to sleep.  I immediately begin counting the minutes until I can get the kids to bed rather than cherishing those few hours I get to spend with them.  I’m trying to do better though and Heath is very supportive. 

The first three weeks of August are a little scary to think of because of RA/CA training (much more time consuming than GHD training) and two-a-days for Heath’s football team.  He will be working all day.  I will be working all day.  I think I have the first week worked out with a  babysitter, but the next two weeks will be much more difficult.  I can’t wait until August 29th!  That date used to be August 22, but my boss is going on vacation the Monday after we open campus for a week and since we don’t have anyone hired for the position I usually work closely with, it will just be me.  I’m sure I’ll survive though.  I may sleep for a month afterwards!

I get so tired thinking about adding another child to our brood.  I also get tired of the looks I get walking around the mall or in stores when people see me walking/waddling with four young kids and clearly pregnant again.  I don’t wear my wedding ring because it gets stuck on my finger and is uncomfortable.  I’m sure they think I’m of the lowest class of people, but I know the truth.  I would love for someone to say something to me though about it.

I’m making bread right now.  This is a task I attempt two or three times a year.  I was raised by one of the best bakers in the world (Mom) and I have never yet created a loaf of my own that came anywhere close to her bread!  I even use the same recipe, but it doesn’t matter.  I just can’t do it.  Much like my Mother-in-law’s breakfast gravy.  She has even walked me through it, her making a batch on one side of the stove and me on the other.  I do exactly what she does but it is never as good!  I’ve given up on the gravy.  I still try the bread though.  I’m trying a new recipe today (Honey White Bread from the Barefoot Contessa—I LOVE HER!).  I hope it is good.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The next day was better.  I didn’t really get anything accomplished, but I did do a lot. 

Last night was the girls’ next –to-last t-ball game.  They have both grown so much this season.  I’m not sure though if we are going to do this next year.  It’s a lot of hard work to get the kids there on time, and it’s really hard to sit in heat indexes of over 100 degrees to watch the games.  Oh well.  We will do what we do.

I have a doctors appointment this afternoon.  Doubt we will have a look at the gummy bear, but hopefully there will be an easy heartbeat to be found!