Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Arizona 2011

We recently got the opportunity to go to Arizona for a mini vacation. It was so nice to get away for a little while. We really didn't do much. If haven't heard, Arizona is stupid hot. It was way to hot to do much. All my energy leaked out of me with all the sweat. Crazy stupid hot!! How do people move and live in Arizona?!? Crazy! Anyway, we didn't go to Arizona for the weather. We went there to visit Chad's dad who was doing a convention there that week. Mimi and Pop Pop hadn't had the chance to meet Reece, and besides, we just love any excuse we can come up with to be able to see them again.

So off to Arizona we went. As with the last trip to Arizona, the best part of the drive out there and back. One of these days, we are going to have to camp somewhere along that stretch of high way. It really is awesome. We also got the chance to visit the Hover Dam. Unfortunately, we didn't get any pictures of that.

You can see how hot it was there in Lauren and Evan's faces. I am sure that if we visited Arizona in October or December, we might just love it. But in July, it is just to hot. We did get a chance to visit with Doug and Debbie, which was kind of the whole point of going out there in the first place. We are grateful to them. Without them, we would have never gone to Purto Rico, Catalina, Philadelphia, New Orleans, San Antonio, and so many other places, including Arizona. We love them. They were working while we were there, so we didn't get to spend the whole time with them, but we were able to go swimming with them one night and eat dinner with them an other.

Pop Pop meeting Reece for the first time. It was love at first sight.

In the end, whether your in super hot Arizona or some other place, it is always nice to get away from the real world, to take a pause on all your troubles and stresses, and just be. And no matter where I am at, as long as I have my family around me, then I am in Heaven.

Lauren's First day of First Grade

It happened once again. Where did the summer go? Where did my little girl go? I couldn't help but think just how mature Lauren is looking lately. I thought that this year, I wouldn't get all emotional because it is something that I have already been through last year. But I totally got all misty eyed watching her walk in all confident and excited. She is getting so big and I am completely in awe of her on a daily basis. I love my little girl who is rapidly becoming not so little anymore.

Here is Lauren looking oh so chic in her "Back to School" outfit.

I feel so lucky that we live in walking distance from Lauren's school. I am not sure how I would handle putting Lauren on a bus and watching that bus drive away every morning. This is a much better arrangement for me, anyway.

Lauren in front of her school. She won't let me do her hair anymore. She is all about the head band. I might get to talk her into letting me do her hair once in a while, and I think she lets me because she loves me, not because she wants her hair done all fancy.

Lining up with her class. This year, all her friends ended up in other classes. I am not worried though. Lauren has never had any trouble making friends. And it doesn't seem to bother her either. She loves school. Loves it!

I feel so blessed to be able to be a witness of Lauren's life. To watch her navigated all the peaks and valleys of childhood is such a gift to me. I am filled to the brim with bittersweet wonder and I can't help but remember a night not so long ago when I tucked in a two year old version of this amazing little girl of mine. That two year old incantation adamantly declared that she would always love and wear princess dresses everywhere. Now her collection of princess dresses hang in a dark corner of her closet. Every now and then, I catch glimpses of that same two year old princess. She has never left, she has just added layers of personality on top of previous layers. I hope she always hangs on to that little girl princess and I hope she never stops adding layers of beauty on top of layers of beauty to build the young women she will one day become. I love you my little Lauren, and I am so proud of all you are becoming.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

In the leafy Tree tops

If you are wondering what our kids have been doing all summer long, you need not look any further then the North/East corner of our back yard. When we first moved into our house, it was just the two of us, no kids. But one of the reasons we loved the house so much is that we could totally picture raising a family inside of these walls. One of the very first things Chad wanted to do was build a tree house in one of the big trees that we have. Eight years and three kids later, he did it. And the kids love it. They spend as much time as they can up in that tree house. I have urgent care on speed dial, I am just waiting for one of both of them to come tumbling out and breaking their arms. But over protective mother's fears aside, it has been such a fun thing for them to have this summer.

Who knows, I might be writing a blog soon about the inept custmer service skills held by the urgent care workers while taking my kid in to get a cast put on. Or not. But either way, Lauren and Evan have their head in the clouds this summer, courtesy of a home made tree house.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Grandpa Sphar's Barn

Chad moved into his Grandpa's house when he was just a baby. He grew up on his Grandpa's farm. When he was in high school, he moved back into his Grandpa's house and lived there while he went to school. He has very fond memories of that place. Chad and I were married for a little over 6 months when his Grandpa died of bone cancer and the family had to sell his Grandpa's house and land. Every now and then, we would drive by that house just to see it. Chad loved that house.

Last week we were just relaxing in front of the TV when we got a phone call from Chad's brother Ryan. He asked Chad to guess where he was sitting. It turns out that Ryan was sitting on a swing hanging from the rafters of Grandpa Sphar's barn. The house is for sell and it is empty. Ryan and Chad's mom were driving by and when they saw the house was empty, they decided to take a walk around the property and go see the barn. So we packed up the kids and drove on over to see it too. Chad and Ryan had to spend an hour walking around. Almost every thought was prefaced with "Remember when..."

The next day, we went back there and took some pictures of that old barn, the house, and all those memories. If we had the money, we would buy that place that was so filled with good times and evoked such a feeling of peace for Chad and all his brothers and sisters.

Here is Lauren and Evan sitting on that swing hanging in the barn. Chad swung on that swing when he was a little boy.

Giggling inside the barn.

All three of my little gifts. Poor Reece looks so uncomfortable...but he survived.

I still am amazed that I have THREE little ones. I still feel like I am 21, and you shouldn't have a 6 year old when your just 21. I am still just figuring out this whole mommy gig. The game keeps changing on me.

I love my cute family. They are my greatest accomplishment and my biggest joy.

Me and Reece's Pieces. He is such a sweet sweet baby. He completely belongs in our family.

Lauren hanging out on a fence post. There are moments in the day where I look at her and think she is just so pretty. I am sure all moms feel that way about their babies. But Lauren's real beauty comes from with in. She has an amazingly big and thoughtful heart. I would like to take credit for it, but she just came to us that way. It is really us who are the lucky ones to be able to parent such sweet kids.

Me and the boys. I love their tender hearts. Who knew boys would be so soft and sensitive. They are so cuddly and lovable. I really treasure my little guys.

I love my family. We are standing in front of the back door to the barn.

Evan is standing in front of a tree that Chad's Grandpa planted when he first moved into the house. The same Grandpa that we named Evan after. And just like that tree, the generations that started with Grandpa Sphar has grown big healthy and strong.

It was fun to go back to a place that means so much to Chad. I am so glad that we got the opportunity to take some pictures and walk around. We might not ever get the chance again.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Every morning I wake up with the weight of the world swimming inside my chest. My arms and legs feel heavy and my stomach is under attack by a swarm of butterflies. The day that lays before me seems like a long hard road, and the thought of starting it is overwhelming. I feel shame and guilt as well because I have what everyone wants. I have a loving husband and three beautiful children who are happy and healthy. I thought that this time around, the nasty postpartum depression that always comes on the heels of having babies had past me by. But it was just a little late in coming. I know that I should be happy and spend my time drinking in the joy of my little newborn baby boy, but the heaviness that I am living with pulls me under sometimes. It really is hard for me because I am always such a happy positive person. I seriously can see the bright side in any given situation, and I have had some difficult times. And as difficult as this situation is, it is no different. I can still find one little bight spot, Reece. I would do it all again and a thousand times more just to hold that little guy in my arms. There is a reason that I have such a large age gap in between each of my kids, I don't like feeling this fog around me. I don't like feeling like I am walking through mud all day long. The one thing that saves me is my babies. It took me a long time to realize the first time that what I was experiencing and feeling was postpartum depression because I was (and am) so in love with the new life I held in my arms. Their little crys would always bring me back to this world. In fact it was for that reason alone that it took me until Lauren was 6 months old before I figured out what was wrong with me and to seek help. My wonderful doctor had told me that you didn't need to exhibit all the symptoms to have it, just the majority. I am telling my story because I hope that maybe it could help someone else. There is a surprisingly high percentage of moms who experience PPD. I am now taking some pills which I like to call my "happy pills" to help battle this ugly thing that has come into my life once again. The good news is, I know within a matter of months, I will be my happy optimistic self again. I have good days (like today) and I have bad days (like yesterday) and soon, one day, my good days will out number the bad like any other normal person out there. And that is when I will know that I am back. I hate to sound like some sort of public service announcement, but if you have ever felt these kinds of feeling after having a baby, don't wait to get help. Just talk to someone. It really does make life easier if you just attack this unwelcome invader so you are able to enjoy your children. There really is no shame in it, as shameful as you might feel. My kids deserve a happy mom, and that is something that I will fight for to give them. Because not only do they deserve a happy mom, but I deserve to be happy. And I will be again. I know it.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Better Late then never

With me back at work and now a whopping THREE children to take care of, I am just a little behind on posting. So I am just going to pick a place to start and go from there.

A little over a week after Reece was born, my cute sister in law had her little boy, Lucas Dean Nicolay. He is just the cutest thing and looks just like a perfect blend of Kari and James. A lot was happening right around that time. My brother in law Ryan was just a couple of weeks from being deployed to Afghanistan and my other brother in law Billy, was visiting from Las Vegas. It is a rare occasion when all 6 of the siblings are in one place at one time. So even though little Lucas was only a week old and our little Reece was two weeks, we got together and celebrated the new babies, and Billy being in town, and to have a big farewell to Ryan. (which btw, he got news that he didn't have to go after all. which disappointed him but made the rest of the family super happy!!) Here's some pictures from that get together.

All the cousins, (except for D.J)
Kade, Sammie holding Reece, Jayden, Lauren, Rylee holding Lucas and Ella, Carson, Lincoln, and Evan. So many little boys!!

Sammie and Rylee holding Lucas and Reece. (Lucas is in the stripes while our little Reeces Pieces is in the green). Little newborn babies are just the sweetest and they bring out the tenderness in just about everyone who holds them.

We had dinner and entertainment while we were there. Kade sang to us in a twang reminiscent of Johny Cash. He sang us songs of Thomas the Train. It was so cute!

Accepting his applause:

It was just fun to hang out with family. I love Chad's family and all the love that they have and share generously.

Grandma Nancy playing with Evan and Ella.

Don't mess with Jayden when he hasn't had his nap! He'll bust a cap on you! (from his cap gun :) )

No, really. All Chad said was "Hi Jayden." I swear I heard Jayden reply "Are you talkin' ta me?"

"I don't see anyone else here..." We love Jayden!! He sure is a cute kid.

Our cute little Reeces pieces is so cute! I can't get enough of him! He makes the cutest facial expressions. I love this kid! And I love it when he stretches!

It was cute to watch all the little ones play. I remember when Chad and I first got married, there was only Sam, Rylee and DJ. And they were 6,4, and 2. Now there is a house full of children, mostly little boys, whenever we get together. Lots of noise and chaos. I love it!

And even though we love any excuss to get together with our family, we really are so happy that the main reason..Ryan deploying to Afghanistan...no longer exists. We love Ryan and we want him to be safe. Even if he is disappointed, we are all relieved.

It was so fun to see the newest little cousins side by side. Reece was born on May 11th and Lucas was born on May 20th. I love that I got to share this whole pregnancy experience with Kari. She is such a special person with so much capacity to love. She has always shown me that love and kindness. She is such a cute little mommy to her little guys, Lincoln and Lucas.

(just keep in mind when looking at this picture, I just had a baby..I am working on getting all tight and toned again..I will get there!! This was taken just weeks after Reece was born, so...that is my excuse.)
We thought it would be fun to take a picture with Traci and her little girl Ella who is 9 months old. It is crazy just how much bigger Ella is, and yet, they are so close in age.

It'll be fun to see these little ones grow. And we all know that these little babies grow so fast!! Reece already looks like a different little baby then he did just 2 weeks ago. And I know that as I am watching my little kiddos grow, I am going to have a whole village of a family out there watching and cheering us on as well.