My baby is 1.  It happened so fast and slow all at the same time.  It was the longest and shortest year of my life and all sorts of crazy in between.  I had awful anxiety when I was pregnant with you.  I mean debilitating.  I didn’t want the other three to leave my side.  Sending the kids to school was torture every morning.  I’m so sad for anyone suffering from anxiety, its very real and exhausting to live in such fear all the time.  After all the surgery and recovery I finally went to my midwife for my 6 week check up which was more like 6 month check up and she said to me “Your anxiety was so bad for a reason.  It prepared you for all of this.  To be on high alert and sensitive to Jack’s needs.”  I’ve had more patience with you.  I’ve relaxed a lot because of you.  My whole life I’ve worried about what could happen.  Stressed over things that would never happen.  I never for a minute thought I’d go through what we went through.  I try not to waste my time on the what ifs.  I don’t care about what other people will think.  I don’t have time for that and don’t want to waste the precious time I do have worrying about things that don’t matter.  You put my entire life in perspective, and I thank you for that.  I’ve felt a deeper love for our whole family because of you.  You have changed our lives more than I could have ever imagined.  You are so silly and love to make us laugh.  You are a daredevil.  The complete opposite of your brother.  You climb on everything and usually get stuck.  I always say you are going to be a wild man jumping off the roof of the house.  You say “more” a million times in a row while squeezing your hands.  You say “Hi” to every single person that walks by.  You get called a girl every time, without fail.  When I correct them they say well he’s just too beautiful to be a boy.  I agree you are just too beautiful.  My little slice of heaven on earth.  You are my sunshine.  I love you to the moon and back.  I love you so bad Jack, thank you for letting me be your mom.


Life Lately

^^^ This picture is childhood perfection.
^^^ This suit might bring out the worst in her.  Little stinker.
^^^ Really is there anything better than your kids loving each other?  I think not.
^^^ We got concrete
^^^ Made Valentines crowns
^^^ Practicing her gymnastics
^^^ Jacks first basketball game.  We decided season tickets are a must next year.
^^^ Jack goes to church.  It was a big deal!
^^^ We wore red to kick off CHD awareness week
^^^ The Gilbert LDS Temple is complete and we took the kids through.  It was amazing.


^^^ This little lady helped me make cupcakes.  I’m still on the hunt for the perfect white cupcake recipe.
^^^ We go to the new house everyday after school.  The kids are outside all afternoon and are always bummed to go home.
^^^ This sass talked her dad into letting her get a bikini.  I have no idea how since Ava has never been allowed to wear one.  Oh how she loves it, she wants to wear it everyday and can’t stop saying she can’t believe her dad let her get it.
^^^ Not the clearest picture, but I just love that gap in his teeth.  Ive never had a baby with a gappy smile until now and I sure do love it!

A little house update

^^^ Ceiling is raised and textured
^^^ Kitchen ceiling is raised, can lights are in throughout the entire house. I went with can lights in every room, the kitchen has pendant lights above the island and the dinning room table will have a hanging light.
^^^ All the brick will be painted white, I went back and forth with painting it or covering it.  ultimately I decided to keep it and paint it, I think it gives the house character.  I have a dutch door for the front door.  Still deciding on what color to paint it.
^^^ Raised up the garage floor to level it with the rest of the house
We added a wall to make the opening to the movie room a little smaller and give me more wall space.
Closed up the wall.  This was the garage and will now add square footage to the house, heaven knows I need it.


Last night I looked over at Ivan and said “Do you realize Elle is going to kindergarten in a year and it will just be me and Jack?”  He looked over at me like I was nuts and said yes.  I’ve never sent one off to school and not been pregnant or had two at home to look after.  What are Jack and I going to do all day?  My babies are growing up.  I know that’s life but I don’t have to like it, do I?  When Ava and Henri were younger life seemed slower.  I thought I had forever with them.  I enrolled them in everything feeling like we’d be bored just sitting at home.  Now all I want to do is sit at home with my babies close by.  Lately my kids growing up has been on my mind so much.  The thought of being done having babies is so hard for me to get used to.  I’d love another, heck I’d be the happiest girl in the world if I could raise a baby for the rest of my life.  I know I don’t have to be done, I could have another.  But I’m too scared.  What if something was wrong?  I couldn’t do it again, it would break me.  I’m really happy with my healthy family.  I’m so blessed to have four babies.  I look at Jack, such a miracle.  This boy growing up right before my eyes, beautiful and full of happiness.  Those days of sitting in the hospital wondering if I’d see him grow up, wondering what he’d look like, if he’d be like his brother.  Here he is and I enjoy him so so much.  For now this is it for my family as much as it saddens me to think of never holding a brand new baby straight from heaven in my arms again I am so grateful to have these beautiful angels.  A friend of mine told me this fun idea, she posts her favorite picture of each of her kids from that week.  I’m getting a late start but here it is.

We bought 8 chickens over the weekend and let me tell you these chickens are everything to this girl. She’s in there with them all day.  She’s teaching them to fly, she says.  I had to let her know they aren’t going to fly when she started using tough love and tossing them up in the air like a mama bird pushing her babies out the nest.
Henri is really helpful around the farm, helping me rake and bag leaves.  Always my best picture taker, ready to smile and actually look at the camera.
I have so many good pictures of this girl its hard to pick just one.  She’s showing Ellie the Elephant how to do “gynastis” and how to breathe when you do “gynastis”.
Last but not least.  Ivan’s new hood ornament.  The cutest one I ever did see!


I never thought it would be so hard to pick out the finishings for my house.  I usually know what I like and stick with it.  Ive learned what I like isn’t always practical.  Especially with four kids.  Ive picked out almost everything but I’m struggling with the counter tops.  Of course I want Carrera Marble, the most impractical counter top.  It etches, it stains, you basically can’t go near it if you want to keep it looking good.  So today I went to a few different stores to look at slabs and called a few more after I came up empty.  I was told “you’re going to have a hard time finding that in the valley”. Quartzite is the only thing I found that came close to what I was looking for, but I wasn’t in love.  Do I spend twice as much for something that’s just ehh?  Do I go with what I love and look but don’t touch?  I can’t imagine being so uptight with my counters.  Ive found a few granites that were OK, but more grey than I would like.

^^^Carrera Marble, first choice but not practical
^^^Quartz, man made, could look cheap like a 1980’s church restroom
^^^These two are Quartzite, better but still not my favorite
^^^Granite, a little too grey
So now I’m at a loss with not much time.  I’m going to visit a few more places tomorrow.  Wish me luck!


We closed on the farm January 27th and we are moving in March 1st.  Ivan’s kicked it into high gear to get everything done in time.  We did demo the first week.  We took down the wall separating the dining room and living room.  Made an entry into the garage from the living room.  We are closing in the garage and turning it into a play room/movie room.  Took down the wall between the dining and kitchen to open up the space.  We’ve also raised up the ceiling throughout the whole house.  All the cabinets, flooring, showers, toilets, mirrors and light are gone.

This week we’ve started smoothing out the walls, no more orange peel!  Installing can lights in all the rooms.  I met with the cabinet guy and went over all my ideas, he’s drawing up the plans and I should get them back soon.  We are raising the floor up in the garage to make it even with the rest of the house, that will be done by the end of the week.  Then we have to brick the outside wall to close the room in.  When we raised the ceiling we took out the air ducts, new ones were installed yesterday.  The landscapers are coming this week to trim up some of the neglected tree’s.  Once we get all that done its on to the fun stuff, flooring,cabinets and fixtures.  I can’t wait.  That’s the stuff I love!

I feel like we are in fast forward.  Everyone Ive talked to has said their remodel took 6 or more months.  We are moving right along.  Here’s to hoping it stays that way.

^^^Soon to be playroom
^^^Ceiling is raised up in the hall
^^^Hall bathroom

Farm livin’

Ive dreamt of living in a little bungalow, surrounded by big trees and the sound of nature.  The middle of nowhere, just me and my little family.  Away from all the noise of the big city, the ballet classes and soccer practice, the tumbling and after school activities.  Chickens in the yard.  A pot of stew on the stove.  A garden and a tree house.  A big yard for the kids and their imagination.  A swing hanging from the big tree that we carved our names in the night we got the house.  Today we got that house, the house my kids will grow up in and call home and I couldn’t be more excited.

The house is still in the city, but feels like our own little small town.  Its going to be an adventure.  There’s a lot of work that needs to be done to call this little and I mean little (think 1800 sq ft after we close in the 1 car garage) bungalow home.  For now it will be taking down walls and opening up rooms, new floors, cabinets, lights, windows and adding a pool.  Eventually we will add on, but for now we are going to be bring this old beauty back to life.

She was built in 1975 and hasn’t changed much since.  We will be raising the ceiling and painting the brick.  Wood floors throughout.  All new bathrooms.  White cabinets and some all around updating.  Ill post progress as we go.


I met 30 with tears.  I laid in bed watching the clock tick closer and tears started flowing.  Mostly happy tears but some sad.  Another decade gone.  My twenties were good to me.  I got married, had my four babies.  I don’t know why I feel sadness.  I don’t want to be 20 again, Ive grown so much.  I know so much more.  I’m happy with the person Ive become.  I’m calmer, patient, content, more satisfied in life.  I don’t live with the “what does the future hold?”  I’m happy in this moment right here, right now.  But there’s a sadness with that too,  I’m not daydreaming about what the future holds.  I’m weighing every decision thinking about the kids and what the changes I make mean for them.  I used to dream about living in California, just my little family laying on the beach, not a care in the world.  Now its but will the kids make friends?  Will they get into trouble?  Will they really love it?  Maybe my naivety is gone.  Maybe that’s a good thing.  For now I’m going to stop crying, enjoy the day with my family and be thankful for another healthy, happy year.  I told Ivan all I want for my birthday is for him to take the day off and spend it with me and I think I might just get that.  Its gonna be a good year, I can feel it.



What to ask at your ultrasound, other than the gender


Congenital Heart Defects are the most common types of birth defects.  There are approximately 35 different kinds.  1 in 100 babies are born with a heart defect each year in the U.S.  CHD is the leading cause of infant deaths in the United States.  In the United States, twice as many children die from congenital heart defects each year than from all forms of childhood caner combined, yet funding of pediatric cancer research is five times higher than funding for CHD.  There is no known reason to why babies are born with CHD some are genetic many aren’t.  My sons TAPVR is not genetic.  Although you may not be able to  prevent your baby from being born with a heart defect here are a few questions you should ask at your ultrasound.

Do you see four chambers in the baby’s heart?

Are there two upper chambers (left and right atria), each with a valve controlling blood flow out of them?

Are there two lower chambers (left and right ventricles), each with a valve controlling blood flow out of them?

Are the heart and stomach in correct positions?

Is the heart rate normal, between 120-180 beats per minute?

Do the two vessels leaving the heart (aorta and pulmonary artery) cross each other as they exit?

Is the wall between the two lower chambers intact, without any holes?

Does everything else in the heart look normal?

Some heart defects cannot be seen on an ultrasound.  Like my Jack’s.  TAPVR has to deal with the veins and how they attach to the heart.  Veins are so tiny and we are born with more than we actually use therefor they cant see the blood flow on an ultrasound.  Most states (unfortunately not all) require a pulse oximetry test to be given right after birth.  Ask what your babys pulse ox came back at, it should be 100, or close to it.  It will tell you if your baby is getting enough oxygen.  This test is life saving.  My son failed and they sent him home anyways.  If I had known he failed, his strange breathing would have been even more alarming and when the nurse told me babies breathe weird I would have asked for the doctor to look at him again.  Here is a list of thing to ask and watch for after birth.

What is my child’s pulse ox?

Does my baby have a heart murmur?
-A heart murmur can mean nothing or can be a sign of something more serious.  Jack was born with a heart murmur, which I didn’t know about until after surgery.  All babies born with TAPVR have a heart murmur (hole between the left and right chamber) this is the only thing that keeps them alive and blood trickling to both sides of the heart.

How is your babys coloring?  Do they appear blue? (called cyanosis)

How is your babys breathing?  Jack did not look labored, his chest wasn’t tugging.  He seemed to snort while eating and when I burped him his body moved up and down.

Is your baby lethargic?

Has your baby had a change in eating or bowel movements?
– This was the biggest thing I noticed in Jack.  His bowels slowed way down and he started vomiting. Not projectile vomiting so I wasn’t alarmed immediately, it changed to bile and I knew something was wrong.  His internal organs were shutting down and he was no longer able to digest.

Did you know you’re child could be born with a form of CHD and you could not know until they were a teenager or even adult?  People are able to live years with some forms of TAPVR and have no symptoms (Jack has Infracardiac and could not live without his life saving open heart surgery).  You are your childs advocate.  If something doesn’t seem right or is worrying you, have them checked out.  Everyone told me they thought Jack was fine and that lots of babies threw up but I knew something wasn’t right.

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