Zarah is Five Months!

Dear Zarah-
Happy five month birthday. You are so fun and are growing like a little weed. What was it even like without you in our family and lives? I cannot remember.

You are a sweet baby, still very easy, content and happy. You know exactly what you want and always tell us all about it. You only cry when you're hungry, tired, wet or bored.

You have recently discovered your feet and how to control them. This comes in handy because you hate socks and now easily get them off by rubbing and rubbing the bottoms of your feet together.

You also have recently figured out how to roll over. You can go from back to stomach and back to your back but you usually get stuck on your stomach and cry for help. Soon you will be mobile and I will need to baby proof or we are in trouble.

You love to sleep in your swing(but in order to get asleep need one of your parents in the recliner next to you to keep your bink in your mouth and sometimes rub your face) and are often just waking up when I come home from work. I love how you smile and laugh as I come in and get really sad if I walk away to put my school stuff up.

Even though you sleep well in your swing, I often just want to hold you while you sleep. In fact, as I write this you are snoring in my arms. What a sweet noise that is.

You still love to be with us and always cry if left alone in a room, even if only for a few seconds. You drool and drool when we eat dinner and must sit with us in your bumbo on the table. You are my favorite centerpiece! You will be ready for food very soon!

You are a happy baby and laugh a lot. Especially when your brother is laying in the bath being silly. You both make the other laugh more and more.

You were a pumpkin on Halloween(and Sully from Monsters’ Inc for Trunk or Treat the Saturday before) and loved having “cousin” Rey join you on a blanket(She was also a pumpkin.  Your brothers said:  Two babies, two pumpkins!) as we got your brother ready in his Olaf costume. You were a good sport as we traveled around town visiting with friends. You even took a good nap all bundled up in your car seat(your brother too) as daddy and I ate sandwiches for dinner in the car.

Your hair is my favorite right now because after a bath I can make it into a Mohawk with lotion and it sticks for a whole week. You are already a pretty trendy girl!

You love to make noises. Your newest is to blow raspberries at your daddy. You love to talk to him especially when he's just come back from work for dinner or is just leaving for work. You also talk and skreech. It's fun to see you wanting to interact!

I sure do love you sweet Zarah Sue. I am so lucky to be your Mom!

Love you,


Zarah is 4 months!!!

Dear Zarah-
Where have the last four months gone? You came at the beginning of summer and it's now fall. Mommy has been back to work for two months already. I thought time flew fast with your brother but it seems to be even faster with you!

You are beautiful. People tell me this all the time but I have always known it. As I write this, you are laying in my arms asleep. Your little face is so cute and your soft snores calming. Sometimes you smile and laugh while asleep like this and I often wonder what you are dreaming about. I know it just isn't about your short time here, something whispers to me in times like this that you came from a heavenly place and we were together long before these moments. I'm so glad we are together again!

You are a wonderful addition to our family. You love all of us. You laugh at your brother and are often interested in whatever he is doing and he truly adores you. He stares at you when he sits next to you and the following picture took about 20 tries to get!
See how he stares:
You love daddy and mommy too and get very offended whenever we walk away from you. You love your swing during the day with daddy but always want me to hold you while sleeping when I'm home. 

You are rarely sad and almost always smile when we talk to you. You are just so sweet and calm. The only things that bug you are wet diapers and cold milk. 

You have started to play with toys and grab things. You also can now be in your Bumbo at dinner. 
You are definitely the best center piece anybody could ask for. You already are excited about real food and drool and drool as you stare at whatever we are eating!

I love you so much baby girl. I must now go stare at your face because what they say is true "babies don't keep!"


Zarah is Three Months

Dear Zarah-
Well. I blinked and three months have gone by. As I write this, you are peacefully snoring at the foot of my bed in a Boo outfit from the Monsters Inc. movie. Man, you are adorable. 

You have grown so much. Not sure how much you weigh(you have your two month appointment tomorrow...I guess we are behind in both letters and getting you to your pediatrician appointments.) You are a great eater, even if you still are getting used to having to eat from a bottle now that mommy is back to work. 

You are thankfully one chill baby. You hardly ever cry. In the middle of the night, you only grunt to get me up to feed you. I think the only times you really cry hard are when I've let you wait too long to eat, your bum is dirty or wet and if you miss your parents. 

You are silly too. You have a fun little personality. You are always smiling and already laughing on purpose. You make noises to get attention and are trying but really hard to blow raspberries. You love to be held but are okay in your swing and car seat. 

You think your big brother is hilarious even though sometimes he startles you because he thinks it's hilarious!

I'm so glad I get to be your mommy and to watch you grow. It will be so fun to see you develop. I love you, Sweet Lady!  

Sleep well tonight and thanks for the peaceful calm that comes with those sweet little snores. 


Three Years

Dear Ellis-
Today you officially turn three. What a wonderful three years we have had together. It is hard to believe you are already three, but it also feels like I blinked my eyes and poof, you're three. It seems to have flown by, yet I cannot remember life without you. You are so much a part of me and who I am. Our family often revolves around you. 

You might be a little spoiled, but I don't think it is damaging you too badly. You had a great birthday party in Wisconsin a little over a week ago. You loved being the center of attention. Your birthday cake was made possible by my aunt Linda and cousin Shannon. They made it a custom Thomas the Train cake. It had five glow in the dark mini trains. It was so colorful and delicious. You loved it and told Papa you were eating his cake!!! Always a tease!

You played all afternoon with my cousin's son, Crane, who is only a few months older than you. You both play well together even if you sometimes fight. You played with my other cousin's daughter's dolls and stroller for much of the time. The rest of the time you were chasing each other and squealing outside. 

Grandma Sue has always spoiled you and she was the one who thought we should have the whole family over to celebrate your birthday and meet your new baby sister. It was a very fun day. 

You are always loved by everybody you meet. You are one of the friendliest kids I've ever met. You say hi to strangers. I always wonder if I should step in and have the stranger danger talk with you but I feel I also don't want to stop you from loving and respecting all the humans you meet. It is one of your characteristics that I often find myself wishing I'd be better at myself. As an adult, I am often more judgemental and shy. 

You have been loving our visit to Wisconsin. You have played so hard that you often are asleep by the time we get back to Grandma and Grandpa's house. You love your cousin Chloe and all of her cousins too. They all know you, which again surprises me because I barely can recall any of their names. You have been playing lots with their toys, which are often girls toys, but you haven't been ruined by society's expectation that you only should play with cars and balls. In so many ways you are not trapped in a box of expectation like us adults are. You are still excited about the small things we often take for granted. 

I laughed as you ran through the Salt Lake airport saying things to the other travelers like: "look another airplane!" and "I'm riding on airplane today!"  I like to watch how other people react to your enthusiasm and how most of them smiled and laughed as you quickly whizzed by them on your way to see more airplanes. I think we were all reminded that it actually is a pretty cool and amazing thing to be able to travel quickly around the world thanks to airplanes. 

I am very tired lately(parenting babies is hard work)and I often feel like I am bad at giving you all the attention you need, but you don't ever love me less. You always need a kiss on your skinned knees(you got a doozie while out to dinner the other night) and will always take a cuddle as you drift off to sleep. You are a sweet little boy and I love being your mom. 

May you always find awe in the small things and be looking for adventures daily(you said: "I want to go on adventure" every day that Andi and Grandma were with us visiting after baby sister was born!). You will always be my little Bugaboo. I always learn more about life and living through your little eyes than I am teaching you. I love you and hope this year is a great one for you. May we fill it with adventure and awe. 

Happy birthday, my sweet boy! I love you!!



Zarah's Birth Story

Wow.  It has been over a month since this little bundle of joy joined our family:
We sure do love our new addition.  She weighed in at 8 lbs 3 oz and was 19 and a half inches long.  She is doing so well and is growing so much.  I constantly am reminding myself to hold her a bit longer and stare at her face to remember exactly how it was in each moment.  It seems like she already has changed so much.

Well, here is the story.  I had planned on going all natural this time(just like I had with E-Man too), but I quickly was reminded that I am not always the one in control in life.  At my last appointment with my midwife group, they were a bit concerned about the fluid levels around baby Z.  So, I was instructed to go have an ultrasound on Memorial Day, which I did.  The numbers were lower but not quite in the worry category, so they sent me home and wanted to check again the next morning.

My mom flew in that night and we picked her up and then enjoyed wings at our favorite place with a few friends.  The next morning, Mom and I headed for the hospital.  I felt in limbo because, who knew what was going to happen?  I also kinda had an inkling that the numbers were going to continue to go lower.  With E, that happened as well.  What is up with my babies losing their liquid the last week?

So, the news was that baby Z was going to have to come via C-Section.  My favorite midwife, Claudia, was on call that day and she is just the sweetest. She gave me a hug and we discussed why this was the best option because we were most concerned with baby's wellness.  It wasn't my favorite news.  I had been ready for my natural birth.  Now, that is something that will never happen.  See, once you have two, you have to always have them.

So, again, Mom and I ventured back home.  We had a few hours to prepare for getting to the hospital and finding a place for E to be while we had the baby and the first night.  It really worked out well to have my Mom here, because she was able to stay with E the first night and then Reuben joined them the other few nights I was at the hospital.

We had to be at the hospital at about 4:30 for all the prep.  Both our babies would be born at American Fork Hospital, just a few blocks away from the American Fork Temple where Reuben and I were married a few years before.

We checked in, got all the IVs ready and waited for go time.  The C-section was scheduled for 6:30 and time flew.  Before I knew it, Claudia was again with us.  And she wanted to talk.  It was 6:15, by the way.  She said something along these lines:  "Before we head in, Alice, did you know you are actually having some pretty regular contractions?"  I was not aware actually.  Nice, no?  "So, what do you think?  We actually could try to get you moving along and try a vaginal birth.  Should we check to see how progressed you are?"

My mind was in a thousand different places.  I could have the birth I had hoped for, but I had also been prepared all day to have a C-section.  So, we checked.  I was at about a one.  I looked at Claudia and thanked her for fighting for my cause.  If that number had been a five, I might have been more convinced to try it.  But a one?  I could be in labor for 18 hours and still end up with the emergency C.  It was 15 minutes before go time with surgery, too.  I was disappointed not to have experienced a natural birth, but things happen the way they do for a reason and in the moments that Claudia was talking about another option and checking my progress, I just didn't feel right about it all.  Who knows if it would have been horrible or not, but I chose what I chose.

Earlier, I had mentioned to Claudia that I wanted a different experience than I had had with E's delivery.  I hated my first C-Section, mainly because he was born and then I only got to kiss his face and didn't see him for a good hour after birth.  I wanted skin to skin contact ASAP.  Claudia told me that lots of things had changed since E was born and that I could have baby Z as quick as a little assessment.

At 6:51 p.m. on June 1st, Baby Z entered this world.  She was taken to the corner of the operating room and after a tense moment of not crying, there she was, screaming.  I was in tears and so excited to meet her. I had to keep telling myself that she would be with me soon and that Reub was with her because mama bear mode set in and I wanted my baby NOW!

Reub brought her to me a few minutes later and I was in heaven for the next several hours.  That baby did not leave me until about one in the morning when Reub got to wash her hair in the sink, in my room.  They even did the bath part with the nurse in my bed on a towel.  Things really had changed since E was born.  The hospital was very focused on making sure mom and baby had as much time skin to skin and together as possible.  They even encourage moms to have babies in their room and only babies being medically tested, or taken care of were in the nursery.

I was in the hospital from Wednesday June 1st through Sunday June 5th.

This may not have been the way I had planned for this birth, but I have a healthy little miracle at home with me now, and that is all that matters!


Zarah One Month Letter

Dear Zarah-
Hello wonderful daughter of mine.  This is the first letter I will write to you in your life and definitely not the last.  I promise to write a letter every month of your first year.  As I have proven with your brother, after that it is kinda random.

You are such a fun baby.  Before our eyes, you are growing and changing everyday.  This week you seem to be getting thicker.  Not sure that makes sense but it seems like you are getting wider.  You are also changing in your face.  As a friend said yesterday, "she is getting her own look."  She meant that you are looking less exactly like your brother, Ellis and more like your unique self.

I am knocking on wood as I say this but you are a good sleeper.  For the first couple weeks, we partied like rockstars from midnight to six in the morning, but now you are sleeping at least five hour stretches at a time during the night.  Thanks for that.  Your older brother never did that for me. He was only sleeping two hours at a time for a long time.  So, really thanks.

You are getting more and more interactive.  In the last week or so, you have started to smile.  You also will make a coughing noise whenever I do it to you.  You and I both find it very funny.

You love to bounce and cuddled.  You are learning to love your swing.  You still love Coldplay and lately Kelly Ripa's voice as Aunt Andi and I are watching that show in the morning.

Your brother adores you.  He loves to check in on you often throughout the day.  He gives you sweet kisses on the head and toes.  He finds it funny to have you kick his head while you lay on Mommy's bed.  He counts "1-2-3, Kick baby, kick!"  It will be so much fun to see how your relationship with him grows through the years.  I am hoping and guessing you will be the best of friends!

I love your sweet little face and am so excited to be your mommy.  We are going to have tons of adventures together.  May I always remember your little toes, your sweet little smile, and the peace I feel when we rock together.

Until next month, I will be enjoying our sweet moments.
Love you,



A Long Overdue Letter to Ellis.

Dear Ellis-
Hey!  I have not written you a letter in a long time and I have been thinking about writing lots. Maybe it has been less because mommy is burnt out on letter writing. Maybe it is because mommy is tired all the time and very pregnant. Whatever the reason, do know that I am still loving being your mom. Sure, you are now two and have lots of opinions and get frustrated and tantrum at times, but no matter what, no matter how tired and worn out I am, deep down I still love you so much. I cannot even describe how much I really love you because it just isn't something that is measurable. 
You will soon be a big brother. That sometimes seems weird and really makes me excited to see how you will react to our family growing. I worry that you will have a hard time and feel a bit jealous. Once when I was holding a friend's baby, you dropped all the fun you were having playing with the big brother of said baby and wanted me to hold you. That was interesting. Maybe it will be different when it is our baby. You always talk about her and you love to go through all the new clothes she has gotten from people. You even showed Papa every single thing and were so proud. I just know you are going to be a great big brother because you love all kids and want to be friends with every kid at the park. You always say "hello" and try to convince them to play with you. It really irritates mommy that kids often try to ignore you and have even been rude to you. What happened to all kids liking all other kids? I am already worrying about you going to school and how kids will treat you and that is a couple years away still!

You are so wonderful and fun. I am thankful every day that I get to play with you. Today we built some Play Doh airplanes like we often do and I had a blast watching you play. You are starting to build quite an imagination and are playing like you never have before. It's fun to watch you grow and change.  I also love to hear you say that the airplanes are going to Wisconsin to see Andi and Grandma. You sure do love them so much. We have been skype visiting with them more lately and that is so fun. We even spent Mother's Day with Andi out on her patio while she and Jeff enjoyed a spring night's fire. Special memories. 
You love puddles and bubbles. Many spring adventures lately have been to "your puddle" which is on the basketball court of our condos. The other day you even had to be barefoot to fully enjoy that puddle and to climb the big slide. How your feet aren't bothered by wood chips, I will never know.  Silly boy!
You also are still a lover of slides and parks. Just last night you made your very pregnant mommy walk and walk and walk all around one of your favorite parks. There were rocks to throw, ramps to climb, doors of school classrooms to be knocked on(you trick or treat at most doors these days), hills to climb and slides to go down. It is often hard to get you to leave but I was thankful last night that the bribery of chocolate balls(Sixlets) got you calmly in the car and buckled in your car seat. I also have a new trick where I set the time on my phone. You know when the ducks quack that it is time to go. You even say: "Ducks quack, time go!"  I also love hearing you say: "see you soon," "thank you so much," "yea, you did it," "come see you(to be held," and all the fun things you come up with. 
Lately, you sometimes get pretty mad in these situations or other times where you don't get exactly what you thought you would get! Daddy and I are learning how to best help you manage the anger that you seem to have inherited from mommy. You spend lots of time on time out in your crib but you do always eventually calm down and still need mommy to rock and cuddle you. Sometimes you get a spank in the bum and you will laugh, so I'm not sure that parenting method is going to ever work. 

Getting to know you better and finding new ways to help you is one of the toughest yet most rewarding things about this whole mommy gig. You are such a cool little guy and I love everyday I get to spend with you. No matter how tough it can be, I always at the end of the day am so grateful that I get to be your mom and tackle this whole life thing together. You're my little buddy and I love seeing you grow and learn. And how could I ever be sad to see this at the end of the day?
I love you sweet Ellis. Always remember that, no matter what. 



Birthday a bit Late!

I usually hate when people post things in hindsight, but my birthday was awesome and I never told you all about it.
The best part was having the day off to spend with my cute little family. Such a good relaxation.

We first bought a car. Soon the little Nissan just won't fit two car seats comfortably. We went with a Honda Pilot. It has lots of bells and whistles including my favorite the sunroof and Ellis' future favorite, a DVD
We then headed to lunch and I ate a delicious cheeseburger. Then it was off to the aquarium in salt lake. We all had a great time there. And Ellis didn't want to leave. And the coolest part was it being free because of a really nice family offering us to be their guests in their membership that day.
Crossing the rope bridge..
                                                                 I love the smiles on stingrays.
Funny turtle.
 We were there for the penguin feeding.

                                                                            Huge river fish.

A few friends also stopped by for ice cream and cake, later that evening. A perfect end to a perfect day!  Only one more year until I face 40!


A Few Haikus

I wrote many, many haikus during testing this week at school.  Here are a few of the best ones:

Zombie Testing
Standardized testing
Like a room full of zombies
But eating own brains.

The Zombie Walk
Zombies walk to school
Slowly, slowly, slow they go.
Too Late, school's over.

If Zombies Took Test
Zombies taking tests
With much different standards
Brains and flesh eating.

Zombie Baseball
Zombies play baseball
Hitting eyeballs with leg bones
No crack of bat; splat.

Zombie Billiards
Zombies shooting pool
Nine-ball would be nine eyeballs.
Sticks would be Femurs.


Viva Las Vegas!

We needed a vacation.  So we set sail to Vegas.  I learned that 2 year olds do not enjoy car rides, just sayin'.  The weekend could have been dubbed "The Lamentations of Ellis," but we still managed to have some fun.
View from our hotel room.  It was warm and sunny while there.
What Ellis and I did during the Gold Prospecter's Show.  Reub had a blast.  I walked a lot of steps.
We took Ellis to the Nevada Southern Railroad Museum in Boulder City, NV.  He liked it for the most part.  He loves trains, just not riding them.
Train Ride Pics.

Ellis finally calmed down after screaming most of the first half of the ride.  Poor kid was tired and hungry.

Ellis selfie from the road trip.

We squeezed lots of stuff in.  We did the gold show, the train, and Fremont street for just being there for the weekend.  It was an adventure and a good get away.  


Memories Drenched in Bacon Grease

I got the chance to go to a little writing group that is hosted by one of the women in my church. The group gathers together every month to share stories about their families for their family history. This month's subject was food so I concentrated on this little memory from my childhood:

Memories Drenched in Bacon Grease 
So many of my memories involve food. It seems like good food always is included in good times. But really it isn’t the food so much that is important but the people who gather together both to prepare and partake of the food.

My grandma Alice was an amazing cook. Yet again,I don't remember specifically what always ate, but I do remember her working away in her kitchen. She was always perched on a worn out orange stool.  I can still see all the brown scratches on the round seat and down the legs.  That stool had seen lots, probably even many of my Dad’s activities as a youngster.  Grandma’s glasses were often balancing on the tip of her nose, but I do also remember the shiny gold chain that was attached to both sides by a little plastic ring and how on occasion the glasses would hang round her neck secured by that old gold chain.  The kitchen was often a hot, muggy place, which made sense for her to always be wearing a house dress.  I remember one in particular that was gray and had pink flowers all over it. Her hair matched that shade of gray and was often slicked back with sweat as she slaved away over the stove.  

I can still hear the sizzle of the bacon in the pan and the eggs popping as she fried them.  My love of sunnyside up eggs started in that little farmhouse kitchen.  Toast would be jump from the toaster and the grandkids’ job would be to slather them in butter.  That crisp buttery toast was a perfect pair to the perfectly warmed yolks of those perfectly fried eggs. The special ingredient to any breakfast at Grandma’s house was a little hint of bacon from the grease she would use in the pan.  That bacon would sizzle and sizzle, grease popping. Not a drop of the grease would ever be wasted.  Grandma kept a large can next to the stove that she would gently pour the leftover grease into.  It would harden overnight and then be scooped again onto the egg pan.  Yum.

Breakfast was always special while visiting the farm.  But really it wasn’t the toast, eggs and bacon but  the woman who was behind that great meal that was important.  The woman who was a writer, a lover of poetry and nature, the woman who taught me so much and  even if the memories have faded just like the smells in that kitchen faded slowly each morning, I hold them dear, faded yet drenched in bacon grease.  Grease that keeps on giving just as these memories keep on giving me comfort and smiles for years to come.  

Unfortunately, I tried to read the story to the ladies from my phone and it wouldn't load from google docs. I had to improvise and it wasn't nearly as good. It was still fun to gather and share stories. These older ladies sure have seen lots of change in our work, even when it comes to food!!! What a fun little outing. 


Pics of the week.

I know you are missing us on Facebook. Funny thing is that I am not missing Facebook. Sure, it's fun to post and see what you all are up to, but I feel like I have more time for other things, like texting, and being more with Ellis. And I'm not missing the politics at negativity. 

Here is my week in pictures:
A photo I texted my sister earlier this week. 
Ellis entertaining us while waiting to get taxes done. 
From my Twitter feed.  Astronaut @StationCDRKelly on the international space station posts cool pics. 
Lots of deer by my school. 
He's so big, no?
Lunch with friends Saturday. 
Polar Express for the millionth time. 
Ellis is the master of the selfie. 
Reub is the master of Valentine's
This is what happens when E refuses to nap all afternoon. Sleeping at 6:30. 

Good week. Glad to have tomorrow off. No plans. Maybe a road trip. Maybe a nap. The possibilities are endless.