Sunday, August 31, 2014

Road Trip

Screaming babies in cars are just so fun! There is no where to go. There is no escape. And the hour left of our drive seems never ending, even though experience has shown that it will indeed end. Thankfully. Rowen's five siblings and tired parents are a captive audience, nevermind how unwilling. 

Jeff has his headphones in and music cranked up to the highest possible level. Safety first. *wink* 
The other kids are trying hard to focus on a battle in Narnia, and I am left with nothing but the desire to distract myself from instinctively turning around and pulling one sad baby out of his straight jacket/car seat. Poor baby. Poor sister who is sitting next to him doing her best to comfort him and enduring advice on how to do it, being thrown at her by all other passengers. Poor brothers without headphones trying to watch a movie. It has turned into more of a silent movie experience since all the dialogue is lost to the din of their infant brother. And poor me simply because I am the mother who wants to keep everyone happy, or at least equally miserable. Maybe I am doing a better job than I thought.  


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Happy Anniversary #12!



                                    

To celebrate we watched a movie and had take-out in the basement while the older kids dealt with a screaming two year old upstairs(we intervened a couple times). Not too shabby.  We were done by 9pm and put kids to bed.  Nothing fancy but I've come to love these types of nights. 
Twelve years have gone by in a flash and yet I feel like we've packed quite a lot in to those years.  We've had some kids, moved a few times, had some ups and downs, but through it all we have decided we really do like each other.  Thanks Sparky, for sticking with me through it all!
 Love you.

                       

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

First and Last

 first day 2013-2014
last day 

The days are long but the months speed by...
I'm going to look back on these days and remember these kids as fun, happy, helpful, and each others' best friends.  I love catching them up late at night playing board/card games, reading to each other, laughing, reciting comedy sketches or movies, falling asleep next to each other, helping one another...
It fills my heart just thinking about them. 


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Take me out to the ball game

 We are Ranger's fans from our years in Texas, and Red Sox fans due to Jeff living in MA when he was younger, and due to Maddox being born in Boston, so living in Cardinals country has been interesting. The kids have worn shirts supporting our favorite teams on those days deemed "Cardinals' day" at school, just to be contrary. We are nice like that. People out here are serious about their Cardinals and we have resisted joining them. But this year we've had opportunity to support a new team and even buy a shirt to proclaim that we are finally jumping aboard the Cardinals' train. The first grade classes around here are invited to sing the National Anthem at a Cardinals' game every year. We signed Tracen up to participate, bought tickets for Jeff and the three oldest kids, and even rescheduled Jeff's business trip
so that he could take Tracen to go sing.
I stayed home with the three little boys since the idea of taking
 everyone made Jeff and I queasy.




Jeff, Keyan, Brynna, and Tracen lucked out and were able to go to two more Cardinals' games because nice neighbors gave us tickets they weren't using.  Three games in a month...Jeff had no choice but to get those kids some Cardinals' shirts.

                      

                     
Official fans!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Formal Introduction

Rowen Case Dixon made his way into the world on 04-14-14 at 12:53pm, 
weighing 9lbs 5oz and 21 inches long.



It was my fastest labor yet at 10 hours. HA! I'm a slow mover! ;)
We had another successful VBAC for which I was very thankful.
Truly, everything went smoothly and despite the epidural not working too 
well on one side of my body, it was a calm and relatively relaxed labor and delivery.   

I went into labor early in the morning and called my parents around 5am to let them know it was time to hop in the car and drive the 5 hours to our house.  My friend Terica came over around 6am so we could head to the hospital. She got the three older kids off to school then took Mad and Grey over to her house to play.  She dropped them off with my parents once they made it to our house.






Everyone was excited to meet Rowen, though one little four year old in particular had a harder time and refused to hold him.  I'm not sure if it was the hospital setting and seeing me with an IV hooked up that made him uncomfortable, but he was ready to get out of there pretty quick.


Grey Goose

Oh, Keyan!

the one and only sister

big brother Tracen and the photo bomber!

Grammy Sherwood

Grandpa Sherwood

My parents stayed for a few days then headed home. They came back the next week when Jeff had to travel for work. He was gone for about a week, back for 3 days and then gone for another week.  It was such a blessing to have my parents here to help, and they are amazing help.  I took naps, read books, relaxed and healed.  
One of the challenging parts of this first month with Rowen has been that within 5 days of getting home we were pretty much all sick.  We got bad colds that we are still dealing with even a month later, as well as a pretty nasty round of pink eye.  We were lining people up morning and night to put drops in everyone's eyes.  It was so typical of us to all be sick. Certainly not a fun way to recover from having a baby, but thankfully we had help. We were also kind enough to get the help sick, which makes us the most fun family to visit. A word of warning to anyone who should come to our house...bring your hazmat suits!

Rowen is a sweet baby. He's not a super happy chap but he does sleep well and eat well, which is helpful.  He spends a lot of time sleeping, which makes Maddox grumpy. 
 "Rowen is asleep again?! But I want to see his eyes!"

For the first week Maddox seemed very unsure about the whole
process of adding a baby to the family.
The following conversation took place more than once:

Mad: Where is this kid's family?
Mom: Who?
Mad: The baby.  Where is he going to live?
Mom: Huh?!
Mad: Does his dad have black hair?
Mom: His dad is your dad.  I'm his mom. He's your brother. We are his family.
Mad: So, where is he going to live? Does his dad have black hair?
Mom: He's going to live with us, and your dad doesn't have any hair.

I think we both were somewhat concerned by the end of the conversation. ;)

rowen 2 weeks


Rowen surprised us all by rolling over at a week old. He's pretty darn strong and has held his head up pretty well from the beginning. He's a snuggly little guy and we are all spending a lot of time cuddling and smooching on him!!

We are feeling overwhelmed with blessings and maybe just overwhelmed in general, but it is amazing to look around the house and see these 6 wonderful little
people who call us Mom and Dad.
 It's crazy, but amazing!
Welcome to the family Rowen Case!


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Whew...



I don't know why I'm always surprised at how much work it takes to add one more little human to the mix, but seriously, I hope we all adjust soon!! It's like a circus around here and you'd think at some point the lion tamer and sword swallower would go to sleep, but it rarely all happens at the same time or without some serious effort. Here it is, 2am again, and the youngest three have all been awake and requiring assistance from their mother. It's going to be a long night. Thankfully we have some extra help while Jeff is out of town for work, in the form of my dad, otherwise I may have to leave some of these circus performers to fend for themselves!!! 



These two may very well one day try to take over the world...just a friendly warning! 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Easter

We managed to put together a reasonable Easter celebration despite the fact that I had given birth less than a week before, and despite the fact that several of us were starting to feel sick.
We had buckets filled with goodies, an Easter egg hunt, a "nice" meal (more on that here), a lesson or two on the Savior and the true meaning of Easter, pictures of kids in their Sunday best, etc...
And yet I think the lesson I learned from this year's celebrating is to simplify, simplify, simplify. 
Hopefully I'll remember for next year and spend more time and energy on talking about joy the Atonement brings than the goodies in colorful eggs.
                                     



                                      

                                      

                                      

                                      

                                      
I'm so thankful for the beauty and reality of the Resurrection. 
What a blessing to know that death will not permanently separate me from those I love.
Happy Easter.

Tracen

    This kid turned 7!!

   

I was happy that Rowen was born a few days before Tracen's birthday. I really didn't want them to have to share a birthday, for various reasons, and I wanted to be functional enough to celebrate.  We decorated after the kids went to bed, which is tradition around here, and for better or worse the kids have come to expect to wake up on their birthdays to a yummy breakfast, a birthday banner, balloons, and a chair wrapped in crepe paper. Grammy and Grandpa Sherwood were still here and made delicious pancakes. Jeff bought Krispy Kreme donuts for Tracen to take to school, which Tracen was thrilled about and his classmates enjoyed.  We had a dinner of his choice and then his annual M&M birthday cake. He asked for and received a book, more magformers, and a Harry Potter Lego game, which we have yet to play.  


Before we could finish singing "Happy Birthday" Grey had blown out some of the candles. So we lit them again and sang the last stanza one more time and Grey blew them out again. 
It had us all laughing!


We love you Tracen! You are smart, fun, independent, helpful, hard working, thoughtful, inquisitive, and a tremendous blessing to our family! 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Dinner Time

The scene is laughable when I play it out in my mind...two adults, several children-nevermind how many exactly because it seemed like dozens- around a dinner table laden with large platters of delicious food, prepared lovingly to celebrate Easter.  It started out well enough, children in their seats, food being dished, expectations for a delicious and happy meal not yet dashed to pieces. Pretty soon the week old baby was crying, and an older child started to feel sick from eating too much candy before dinner, another child asking for more of something but whose parents were incapable of getting the right something. Another child too hormonal to do much beyond moodily move food around the plate, while yet another child sat and gagged on a few bites of what must have been poison considering how much enjoyment they got out of eating it. Yet another child complained of each bite getting stuck in his/her teeth which was obviously so painful that said child may never be able to eat comfortably again. Pretty soon two were chasing each other around the table screaming like banshees, one calling for help on every lap and the other chasing determinedly while swinging the hammer of a Norse god.  In the mean time one child went and locked themselves in the bathroom sure they were going to throw up, the moody child said all he/she really wanted to do right now was get back to his/her book, and another child tried to make both mother and father feel better by saying the food was actually quite good just he/she wasn't really hungry.  The parents looked at each other, shook their heads and vowed their kids were getting peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for dinner for all future holiday meals, and then some of the children were sent outside, one child was sent to the couch with a puke bucket and the newborn baby was fed and burped and cuddled as all newborn babies should be.
And that was dinner time.  

Monday, March 24, 2014

Lately

Last week the older kids burst through the door after school all excited to tell me about the carnage they had seen on their walk home from the bus stop.  "First we saw this fluffy tail on the side walk. Mom it was a rabbit's tail, and then we walked a little farther and there was blood and so  we followed the blood, and there was a dead rabbit on the sidewalk, and it was ripped apart, and it was so gross, and we could see the intestines, and..."
They continued to describe the messy scene and were excited yet disgusted as they poured over the gory details.  Every day for a week they would come home with more information about the corpse and what they thought must have happened to it.  It was the most exciting thing to happen around here for a while.  On Friday Brynna came outside to where I was pushing Grey in the swing, to tell me they had seen what they thought were dead unborn baby rabbits in the midst of the entrails and other parts and pieces still left on the side walk.  She described their closed eyes and tiny rabbit bodies.  It was certainly the most "national geographic" experience my poor suburban kids have had.  And though I drove by the dead rabbit daily, I never did get out to investigate all their claims of missing parts and baby bunnies.  I have to say I've  become a little city-fied and am less excited by the idea of mangled rabbit on the sidewalk than I may have been at other times of life.  I'll leave that excitement to my kids.


Grey is now sleeping in a toddler bed to make way for baby to have the crib.  He's enjoying the big boy status and the ability to join his dad and me in our bed at any point in the middle of the night.  He loves to crawl into bed and pull
his blanket up around him.  I think he feels very mature.  He always brings a book or toy to bed with him, following after his older siblings whose beds are strewn with books. 

                                
I love this one of the baby and his baby!!


We keep going back and forth between pleasant spring temperatures and annoying winter ones. Today there was even snow falling though not much accumulation, thankfully.  There are also signs of life around the yard which helps to  remind me that it is indeed almost April.
                           

         We have had more days of this:
                                   
            and we are all so grateful!

Keyan's teacher asked the class today if someone could tell her what a pronoun was.  Keyan's hand shot up and after being called on he said, "It's a noun that has lost it's amateur status."  I believe Calvin and Hobbes may one day get that boy into trouble, but we all had a good laugh about it. 

Grey bit Tracen's arm tonight, leaving quite the mark and reducing Tracen to a pile of tears, which honestly takes some
doing.  Very quickly Grey was taken to his room and Brynna immediately reminded Tracen of all the times he had bitten her and left equally impressive marks.  I'm not sure that was the comforting, or caring concern Tracen was looking for after having his arm mauled by a rabid little brother, but obviously the pain is still fresh in Brynna's mind. 

Tonight we tried playing Mafia with the kids for our FHE activity.  Sounds spiritual
doesn't it?! Jeff was the moderator and of course came up with exciting ways for people to die.  Grey and Maddox were excited to participate though I'm a little
nervous as to what might come of Maddox going to school and saying,
 "I was electrocuted to death by the mafia."  Parent-teacher conference anyone?! 
Grey just ran around yelling as we all accused each other of murder and being the mafia.  I tell ya!! Teach them correct principles while they are young and they will not depart from them...or something. Though, in our defense we had had a lesson about baby Moses and how all the Israelite baby boys had been killed by the Egyptians so it did follow along with the lesson reasonably well. ;)

                       
I relearned how to add and subtract fractions tonight to help kiddos with math homework.  It's pretty sad how far I've fallen since I finished school.  I did get an "A" in calculus  a long time ago, but you'd never know that now. ;)

                                
Maddox has some skill in the tower building department. He's always building taller ones than I manage to build, though to be fair I'm usually trying to keep Mr. Grey Goose from destroying his towers, so really he owes his success to his mother. :)

Brynna is always drawing, coloring, painting, glueing, something and the need to be creative usually strikes at bed time. So it is not uncommon for us to have tucked her into bed only to come back and see her hard at work on some artsy project late into the night.  

So that's life lately, days and nights full of random odds and ends, and though it's not overly exciting or glamorous, it is pretty close to being all I ever wanted.
 Maybe I set my sights a little low.  
;)