Thursday, June 17, 2010

Family Update

This summer has been such a busy time. In fact, this whole year has been. It's hard to believe we are getting near the end of June.

The fact that I am still very tired most days is not helping me with keeping up with my daily chores. Thankfully, the morning sickness is all but gone. Now it only strikes if I don't eat soon after getting up in the morning, or if I don't eat at least every two hours. But this tiredness - it seems I just can't get enough sleep.

I sleep at least eight hours at night, and take a nap for an hour or two every afternoon. When I am not pregnant, I usually only get between 6 or 7 hours of sleep in any 24 hour period, so this extra sleep time this pregnancy has been majorly cutting into my "me" time. Usually, after I get done with my chores at night around 10 or so, I have an hour or two to myself to blog, sew, read, or work on a craft. But now, I can barely drag myself to finish my chores, drop into bed tired and wake up with the kids the next morning. Normally, I like to get up at least an hour before them to give myself a head start.

Well, this too shall pass. Yesterday was my first prenatal appointment. This is my fifth planned home birth, so I had put off the first appointment until the nausea was gone and I felt like myself again.

I had the same midwife for the last two babies we had in Arizona (the others were born in other states), but it did not work out to have her again with this baby. She is is a joint partnership with another midwife now that I just personally don't care that much for (although I have no doubt she is extremely skilled). The personal aspect, even when I can't put my finger on it, cannot be ignored in a home birth. The two of us just weren't "compatible". Unfortunately, my old midwife had an agreement with this new partner that all their joint clients had to be cared for by both of them interchangeably, which I can understand from a business point of view. It's the only way a midwife could ever reliably have some personal time off. Sadly, this arrangement did not work for me however, so I spent a couple of weeks at the very beginning of the pregnancy finding a new midwife. Thankfully, I wasn't feeling sick at the time yet, and there are lots of great options to chose from here in Arizona as far as midwives go. I am very happy with the new midwife I found, although I won't be sharing her name on here. She has already received some negative feedback regarding me when someone (I don't know who) found out I was seeing her and anonymously contacted her and told her to check out my blog because she might not want to have me as a client after she saw it. People can be so sweet! :) Apparently, especially in the "tolerant" home birth community. I have seen some strange birds there myself, but my goal has never been to personally persecute or harass them.

Anyhow, the prenatal went well. My uterus was measuring pretty large for how far along I am, but I am sure on my dates. At the beginning of my pregnancy I was totally convinced that this was going to be twins, because all my symptoms were much earlier and more pronounced. In fact, I was so sure that I went in for an early ultrasound, something I reserve for urgent matters and emergencies. It revealed only one baby, so I felt reassured that it was in fact only one (and still do!). But I can't deny that I am having a lot of weird symptoms this time around (aside from dreaming about twins repeatedly): the voracious appetite, the extra nausea and fatigue, the early movement I felt, and my uterus that is measuring several weeks farther along than I am. Maybe this is just a really big and hungry boy!

I heard the baby's heartbeat, and all other checkups went well. My midwife gave me two boxes of pregnancy tea for free, the exact brand I love drinking daily with every pregnancy, so that was a special blessing. My husband had stayed home because the girls were napping at the time of my appointment, and two of the three boys also stayed home with him. My husband is the biggest home birth advocate. In fact, he regularly pitches the benefits of home birth to complete strangers he meets on his business trips. Ladies, how would you like to get stuck on a plane next to a guy who lectures you for a 2 or 3 hour flight on the dangers of hospital birth, and the benefits of home birth, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, etc? I'd like to be a fly on the wall sometime. :) All that notwithstanding, he does not like coming along to prenatal appointments. He finds them painfully boring. As in, women getting together to chat and hang out, and he feels totally misplaced in the middle of it all. I can live with that, because I don't particularly want to bring all five kids along anyway. I do hope he comes along next time just so he can meet the midwife in person.

The other kids are all doing well. We are in full summer swing, which means the kids are lazy but I have to keep them somewhat busy/working because it is simply too hot to be outdoors between 10 and 4. The four oldest go swimming in our pool pretty much every afternoon, while Becky can only go if me or my husband have time to go in the pool with her, which is maybe once a week or so. We are continuing with light school work through the summer, and also going on lots of field trips in places that are either air-conditioned, or in cooler climates.

One Saturday recently, we went up north to Payson and the Mogollon Rim. Arizona is not only home to the Grand Canyon, but many other canyons, gorges, and topographical wonders. The Mogollon Rim is like a tectonic rift, with one side of it in the 4000-5000 ft elevation range, and the rim as high as 7000 ft. It's like half a Grand Canyon, all grown over in pine forest. On the way there, we first stopped at the oldest fish hatchery in Arizona.

The kids were too penny-wise to spend their quarters on fish food when they could just pick it off the ground for free under the machine.

There was a creek right there where we stopped to play in the water, have some picnic lunch, and hike along the creek for a bit.

The boys in front of the Rim. It's hard to see in the photo how steep the drop-off is because I would not let them get any closer to the edge. The rocks are made of limestone, which can break away quite easily. It's probably several hundred feet high at his spot, in one straight drop. I didn't even let the girls get out of the car here because I was afraid they'd run, trip over a boulder, and go flying over the edge.

For dinner, we stopped at a nearby lake and enjoyed the rest of the yummy picnic we had packed. The picnic table was right at the edge of the forest, overlooking the lake. Behind where we were sitting, a pine forest was covering big rolling hills. The boys had fun going up the hill, and then running down full speed and stopping just in time before hitting the table. They kept doing this over and over. Suddenly, I noticed that John was not by the table with the other boys (they are always supposed to stay together), but I had just seen him literally a minute earlier. I asked my husband where he was, and he said he was up the hill playing. I couldn't see him though, and when I called, I got no answer. I wasn't alarmed because I had just seen him, and John likes to hide out right near me, out of sight, just to scare me. After I called a few more times and he didn't answer, I started getting nervous, and my husband reluctantly started up the hill, still thinking John was playing a prank. When he got to the top, he could hear a faint distant scream "Mommy! Mommy!" and saw John quite a ways off, RUNNING in the exact opposite direction. My husband started running after him, and several minutes went by before they both came into my view again. Apparently, John had followed a squirrel into the forest when he suddenly found himself out of our sight and disoriented. Instead of standing still and calling (we were close enough to have heard him), he started running in a panic in the opposite direction! I am so glad I noticed he was missing when I did, because it had only been a few moments and already he had got quite far. We again instructed him on what to do when lost (stay put!!!). When we go camping, I make each of the kids wear a whistle around their neck because it is so easy for something like this to happen. All's well that ends well!

A couple of weeks ago, the kids and I went to the Phoenix Children's Museum. It is free on the first Friday night of every month, and while I knew it would be busy I had no clue HOW busy. There were so many people, it was very hard to keep my eyes on all five kids scattering everywhere running and playing. It was unnerving. While we were there, a lady asked me if my name was Suzanna, and I told her it was. She said she recognized me from my blog, which she read. I thought that was so funny to be recognized in public. This is the second time that has happened here in town.

Back in early May, we had an unusual spell of mild spring weather, and I was miraculously not feeling sick for a couple of days, so the kids and I headed to a local u-pick peach orchard. They also had apricots, and we stocked up on both and made lots of yummy jelly and peach cobblers. Afterward, the kids enjoyed seeing the deer on the farm and having lunch in a play fort

My husband recently discovered his love for indoor kart racing, and has been a few times since. The place is just down the street from us so it's very convenient.

Solomon is continuing his piano lessons over the summer. He is getting so good at it, it's exciting but also hard to see him grow up. He can play several instruments fairly well now (for his age, that is): piano, organ, guitar, and harmonica. That last one is a lot harder to play that it may sound. He has some serious musical talent, he picks up new instruments and musical concepts immediately. My husband recently picked up another instrument: the trumpet. Oh joy! He has a knack for picking the loudest, most nerve-grinding instruments. Thankfully, he mostly practices at his office.

About a month ago, Solomon bought himself a hamster with cage and all other supplies from money he had saved up from his allowances. It's a boy; his name is "Frankie". He is a very cute little guy, and very good with the kids. Solomon has been good about taking care of him without my help (but not without my reminders).

Isaac has become an excellent reader. There was a time when he really struggled with the concept of stringing letters together, and that in the right order. He has an interesting way of thinking, and I'm certain in school he would have been labeled "dyslexic" and put in a special reading class, just furthering his belief that he was never going to learn to read. Instead, I kept at it with him every day, and suddenly, almost overnight, it "clicked" with him. Ever since then, there has been no stopping him. He reads for hours every day, and can retell the stories in the most vivid details. His spelling has also greatly improved as a result of this. It seems that these kids' brains are like thirsty little sponges, because they never seem to forget any little detail they ever read or hear about. They are always surprising me with funny facts they recall months and years later.

Isaac is a total outdoors type of guy. He is a very hard worker, and literally never complains about chores. He takes out the garbage, cares for our dog, tends to our vegetable gardens, and generally likes to do all the "manly" work. The heat doesn't phase him one bit, and he is not scared of anything. Which kind of worries me, especially when I think about him starting to drive one day. Isaac is very concerned about eating healthy, he will of his own accord turn down candies and treats that have bad ingredients in them. It's cute.

John is his usual weird and wonderful funny little self. He still likes to dress up pretty much every single day. He says the funniest things, I only wish I had time to write them all down. Like Isaac, he is always concerned about eating healthily. A day will not go by that he does not eat an apple (or two or three) because he once heard "an apple a day keeps the doctor away", and he does not want to have to see one. Between all of our kids, it's a struggle to always keep enough produce in the house, as they each probably get about 7-10 servings a day, especially this time of year. Sometimes, I have to insist they eat something "proper" so they won't ask me for food again an hour later. When I was exasperated after finding the fruit bowl empty again last week (shortly after having stocked it), John told me he likes to eat fruit because he doesn't want to get "early-onset type II diabetes". When he says things like that at the store, I get the weirdest looks from other shoppers... :)

Miriam is just the sweetest little angel. I can see how there will be a special bond between her (and other daughters) and me later in life. Girls are just such a blessing! She loves to cook with me, and generally stays by my side all day long. She loves holding my hand, kissing me all over, and telling me "You are the goodest mommy in the whole world!" Except, she can't pronounce a "g", so she says "doodest". She can't say "k" either, and substitutes it with a t or h, depending on the word (i.e. "tandy" for candy, but "Behi" for Becky). It's cute. My husband secretly hopes she will always have a bit of a speech impediment because he likes it so much. Her and Becky get along well most of the time, which is really all to Miriam's credit because Becky is in a stage where she is very possessive and demanding.

Becky is almost 20 months old, and starting to talk a lot herself. She is very mischievous, and likes to climb on top of things, like the kitchen counter, and get into cupboards far out of her reach. She is in a phase where she adores her Daddy more than anyone else in the world. Anytime he leaves the house, she is heart-broken. The second she hears his car pull in the driveway, she runs to the door shrieking "Daddy! Daddy!" and will not leave him alone while he is home. Of course, with such treatment, she can get whatever she wants from him! :)

The other day, I went to change Becky's diaper, and she was refusing to let me put a fresh diaper on her. She is too young (and I too busy) to let her run around without one and hope she makes it to the potty, so finally I put a cloth diaper on her because it gave her the idea that she was wearing "underwear" when she really wasn't. Oh my. I admire moms who cloth diaper toddlers. I mean, I don't mind with a baby that is 100% breastfed. But boy, I will NEVER convert to cloth on a toddler, especially one who gets tons of fiber in her diet because of above-mentioned preference for tons of fruits and vegetables. She filled the first diaper literally within minutes. It wasn't too messy, and I thought she was done. Put another cloth diaper on her. Not 30 minutes (and a snack of nectarines) later, she had a major blowout, and dumping it into the toilet was not even remotely an option. That was the last she saw of cloth diapers, her protests notwithstanding. She also got a rash from wearing the cloth even for the short time she did, because it did not immediately wick away the moisture from her nuclear waste the way that disposables do.

That's pretty much it. Nothing new or exciting, just the everyday madness. Tomorrow night, we are going to pick up another quarter of beef from the ranch where we get our beef and pork. It'll be just in time to have a nice slow-cooked beef roast for Father's Day on Sunday. The funny thing is, I thought last week was Father's Day, so I had already planned a big lunch for that day. It didn't dawn on me until a few days before that I was off by a week. I guess my husband is getting two special dinners in his honor this year.

BTW, if you are on Facebook, and you were on my friends list, you may have noticed that I deleted my account. Between emails, blogging, working on the computer, and Facebook, that just had to go as I am trying to eliminate using the computer during the daytime. It is just so easy to sit down for a minute and stay 30, while my work is piling up. I didn't want to keep Facebook and axe the blog. :) If you want to get in touch with me personally and don't have my email address, please leave me a comment on the blog with your email address and I will contact you (your comment will not be published).


  1. Miss you on FB, but I love reading your blog!

  2. Great pictures and fun to read up on you guys. Pastor A. looks older with his beard!!!;) I cant get oer the midwife thing! I just cant grasp how someone would be so cruel to "tip off" her about you. Like what did they think she would do? How awful, I am sorry. How did they know who you were going to in the 1st place. People are so mean and thoughtless sometimes. I am glad you are feeling better!!! THe fatigue will go soon. I am finally feeling more energy! We miss you guys too. I so wish we were close. If you want to take a trip to ID you know where you can stay!!!! :) Lord willing one day sooner than later we will all get together again. Maybe there will be 2 more new babies in the mix too!! Awe, fun!!! Tell eeryone(that letter is broke) hi from us and that we miss them.


  3. Aww, I'll miss you on facebook. Glad to hear you're feeling better! That thing with the midwife is pretty sad for whoever "tipped her off".
    You're kids are so lucky they get to have such great parents who do so much fun stuff with them! They are all so beautiful! I used to have a lisp when I was a kid and, thank God, it's gone... except for some words. I can not for the life of me say thesaurus. So tell your husband if Miriams speech gets better maybe she'll still slip up once in a while for him lol.

  4. John is one smart kid , the diabetes thing was so funny . I love how isaac turns down the candy to . I've been trying to get my kids to stop chewing gum , and the other day my 3 year old said mom can I have a piece of aspartame ? :)

  5. Haven't checked in for a was nor surpirsed to see you are pregnant again - congrats - I actually thought it was a small gap until I read that Becky is ammost 20 months already!! Where has the time gone?

    I do have a question, and I am not trying to stir up controversy or question your beliefs - I am asking with respect, and if you don't feel that it's appropriate to answer that's fine too.

    If you got to the stage where it would be medically inadvisable to have more children, would you take the decision to have your tubes tied or use contraception. I guess the root of the question is, as a Mum do you consider your first responsibiity to be ensuring your own health so you are around to look after your family, or would you continue with further pregnancies despite medical advice? Again, NO disrespect, just curiosity from a mum of 4.

  6. Hi, just found your blog and already love it. You have a beautiful family. Thought i'd just say 'hi' before i go read more!



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