Wednesday, August 28

Summer summary

Let's catch up with what's happened over the last few months.

June started out with Ryan turning 3.  This kid is so full of personality and is hilarious, but I often feel he's under appreciated!  He talks a lot, and he often talks loudly and is sometimes hard to understand, but when you are willing to take the time to understand him you can catch some real gems that come out of his mouth. Also in June we set up the bunk beds, but he doesn't have any interest in sleeping in his "big boy" bed.  He did it for a few nights, but seems to prefer the containment of his crib, so he still sleeps there most nights.  He also has no interest in wearing underwear and being potty trained.  He likes being a little boy and doesn't want any of that to change.

The first week of June was also the last week of school for Alexis and Tyler.  Tyler "graduated" from kindergarten and all the kindergarten classes put on a really cute play showcasing some of the things they learned in class. Tyler loved kindergarten and made lots of friends, including his new best friend Gabe, who is sitting in front of him in this picture.  Alexis also made some great friends in 3rd grade, but she also had a REALLY tough year.  I think 8 is a hard age, but combined with a move and being in a classroom that was often very chaotic, she was often very emotional.  I was more than happy to get her out of school so we could have a summer to relax and distance ourselves from some tough situations and it was exactly what she needed.
During the second week of June we had a family reunion planned with Jeremy's family.  I debated about going since I would be 8 1/2 months pregnant and it was camping a few hours away from home, but I finally decided I could do.  I'm so glad I did because we had a lot of fun and I know I would have been lonely and bored if I just stayed home. I don't have any pictures of it because I forgot to take the camera!

I do have a picture of Ryan's face looking like this, though:
Two nights before the reunion I was driving home from picking Alexis up at a birthday party when Jeremy called to tell me he was on his way to the instacare with Ryan.  In the background I could hear Ryan crying hysterically, but Jeremy was very calm.  He didn't give me details but told me I could meet him there if I wanted to.  Of course I wanted to!  But when I was almost to the instacare he called and said they had to go to the ER instead because the instacare wouldn't treat Ryan.  At this point all I knew was that Ryan had fallen off his scooter and hurt his head and it was bleeding.  Fortunately Jeremy's brother lives right next to the hospital so I dropped Alexis off there, I knew she wouldn't do well with seeing Ryan upset, as well as seeing the blood.  After dropping her off I raced to the ER to see Ryan sitting on our neighbors lap (he had driven Jeremy there) while Jeremy was getting checked in.  The image of Ryan sitting there is one I wish I could erase but probably never will.  He was so incredibly upset, and had a giant bloody hole (yes, a HOLE!) on his forehead between his eyes.  It was so disgusting I could barely look at it.  Jeremy took a picture of it once I got Ryan calmed down, but I can't look at it even now, it's too upsetting to me.  Anyway, I took Ryan from our neighbor and they gave him a blessing, and then he calmed down quite a bit and even fell asleep on my shoulder.  But then they had to do a CT scan and had to put several layers of stitches in.  I wish they would have sedated him for the stitches because it was very traumatic.  They swaddled him in a blanket like you do with a baby, and had us hold his legs down while they numbed him and did the stitches.  He did pretty well at first, but I think he was really annoyed because their hands were right in his eyes while they were working, and at one point he tried to scratch his nose and when he realized he couldn't move his arms he got even more upset.  Finally they finished and we left the hospital and he was perfectly happy!  But I was super stressed about him for months following, even now I worry about him getting hurt.  When we took him back to get his stitches out, something that should have been easy, ended up being almost as traumatic.  His wound had scabbed over so they had to soak it for awhile, and then they tried taking the stitches out with the scab still in the way, and he was just as upset.  He clearly remembered the previous experience and wasn't happy to be there again.  Finally one of the male nurses completely sat on him to keep his arms to the side.  It was such an unpleasant experience that Tyler (I had taken the older two because I thought it would be quick and easy) started throwing up!  It was a pretty horrible day to say the least.

AND THEN!  Two weeks later, the night before I was due, Ryan fell off his scooter again and cut his forehead open AGAIN!  The first wound was actually caused because a neighbor kid hit him with his bike handle while Ryan was on his scooter.  This second time Ryan just fell off his scooter (which despite all this, he was actually really good at riding) and didn't catch himself so his head hit the cement and split, just by his eye.  I was on the other side of the house and I heard him crying and heard Alexis yell "Mom, Ryan fell", and I knew it wasn't going to be pretty.  I took off running (while 9 months pregnant) and saw blood all over his face and said, "You have got to be kidding me!" This time Jeremy wasn't home so I had Alexis call him, and I was able to stay relatively calm, mainly because I could tell the cut was MUCH smaller than last time.  So we cleaned him up a bit, gave him a Popsicle and decided to forgo the ER and just close it up ourselves.  Our kind neighbor who's a nurse came over and did it for us.  There was no way any of us could handle stitches again after the last time, and it's really healing up well.  And the best news is he hasn't done anything like it since! (Probably because I made Alexis throw his scooter in the trash immediately after he fell the second time.)

Moving on to more pleasant topics.

Jeremy's birthday fell on Father's Day this year, so I tried to make it an extra special day for him.  But again, I was very pregnant and very tired.

I also had a birthday, but it wasn't the greatest day so I'm not sharing those pictures. Also, the 26th of June marked the one year anniversary of my kidney donation.  We had Crystal and her family over for dinner a few days before to celebrate, and I was going to take a picture but I forgot!  (Seeing a theme here?)

But here's a picture of me a few days before I had a baby.  I didn't take many pictures of me pregnant, but I really didn't get as big as I usually do.

And then, on June 30th, Connor was born!  He was due on the 27th but I asked them to not induce me until later because I really wanted to see if I would go into labor on my own.  So they scheduled my induction for Monday July 1st, but on Sunday morning my water broke.  I kept waiting to have contractions but never did, so I finally went to the hospital around 3 pm.  They gave me Pitocin, so technically I still had to be "started" but I was just thrilled that my body did SOMETHING on it's own!  

Connor has been THE BEST baby, and is so loved by his older brothers and sister.  I expected Alexis to really love him, and I expected Tyler to like him, but I've been really surprised by just how much Tyler really likes him.  He wants to hold him all the time and play with him and talk to him.  He is the one that gives Connor the most attention and will often tell me what Connor's up to, if he's tired, if he's crying, if he's sleeping.  He'll usually say, "Mom, I think Connor's tired, he's got his tired eyes on."  I love that he's made up a phrase like "tired eyes"!  Ryan likes him too, but doesn't know how to be gentle with him.  Or how to not yell in his ear.  Connor is in for a loud life, though he himself is very calm and patient.  I'm hoping he'll continue to be the peacemaker in the family.

Sheesh, that was just June?  Fortunately July was much more uneventful.

Jeremy gave Ryan a mullet without asking me first.  4 days after I had a baby.  I wasn't too pleased. But I got used to it and we kept it like that for 2 months.

Jeremy took the kids out on the Rhino a few times.

 And the rest of the month was spent adjusting to having this new guy around.  He's pretty great.

This summer Tyler has taught himself how to swim and become quite the good swimmer.  He's good enough that I let him jump off the low dive at a local swimming pool.  The water was 13 feet deep, which always makes me nervous, but he did great.  After a few jumps he asked if he could do a front flip off the diving board!  He's crazy!

In the middle of August Alexis turned 9!  She was so excited for her birthday, and is at the age where things are starting to get expensive.  Here she is seeing the cake grandma made for her.  It had three different layers of three different flavors of cake! 

One thing she really wanted this year was an iPod.  So she got one! One of the best things about Alexis is how excited she gets when you give her something.  Whether it's big or little, she loves to receive gifts and always makes it worth the giver's while.  So it was equally exciting for us to give her the iPod.

Here's a picture of Connor with my sister's son, Jackson, who was born two weeks before Connor.  These little cousins are going to be so fun to watch grow up together.

Grandma with her arms full...just the way she likes it!

The day after Alexis' birthday was one of my most exciting days of the summer...the first day of school!  Tyler went off to first grade and Alexis went to fourth.

For awhile I felt guilty about how desperately I needed them to go to school.  You often hear of moms talk about how sad they are when their kids start school, and how much they love to have them around.  In fact, I think I've written that on this blog a time or two.  And I started to wonder if maybe I wasn't as good a mom as those other moms, but then I realized a few things.  One being that I have four kids now, which is more time consuming and demanding than when I had two, so I think it's perfectly natural to enjoy having less kids around for part of the day.  And second, I'm not a high energy noisy person.  I've always been mellow and I've always needed my space and my quiet and time to myself.  And as I said before, I have four kids which means life is always loud and I'm NEVER alone.  So by sending two of those kids off to school I have a greater chance of having some downtime at some point, and having a quieter day so when they come back I can appreciate them even more.  Phew!  I do love my children after all!

Do you know what else I love?  My mammoth sunflowers!  I planted these in May and have been patiently waiting all summer for them to bloom.  It's probably safe to say that I'm obsessed with them.  I check on them multiple times a day and am so fascinated with how big they get.  It's hard to tell from this picture, but they are pretty tall.  From the ground to the top of the gutter is 11 feet, and a few of them go past the gutter.  One is 12 feet tall!!  I've done a little research since planting these and am really excited to try and make them even bigger next year.

This summer was also our first summer gardening.  Probably planting a garden while 8 months pregnant and then trying to care for it when you have a newborn is not the greatest idea, but it's been a lot of fun anyway.  I have lots to learn and I'm excited to try again next year, but I've loved it.  I took this picture below to remind myself next year to try and contain my tomato plants better next year.  I think they are the most unruly tomato plants I've ever seen.  But they sure do produce a lot of tomatoes!  Probably too many tomatoes...

Jeremy spent all summer constructing these cornhole boards.  He made two sets, and I'm sure he could have got them done sooner if it weren't for the new baby.  But he had fun building them and got to exercise his creativity a bit.  He's so talented!

And finally, last Sunday Jeremy blessed Connor at church.  He's 8 weeks old now and I can hardly believe it!  The time has flown by and I'm try to snuggle him up every spare minute I can because he's growing up already way too quickly.  Life is starting to return to normal, which is nice, but this is the first time I have loved having a newborn.  Why can't I learn to appreciate things sooner??

He does smile now, but I couldn't get him to smile on Sunday while I was trying to take his picture.

But then Alexis came along and he was all smiles!

I might be biased, but that's the cutest group of kids I've ever seen.

And that wraps up our Summer summary!