November 25, 2008

8th note kisses

Finn kissed my cheek multiple times in rapid succession and said,

"those are 8th note kisses".

And then he drew me the following diagram:
Translation: ATH=8th, NOT=Note and CES=KISS

I'm glad Finn is learning to apply his drum lessons to other areas of his life!

And not to be outdone, Calvin said he'd give me an 8th note hug:)

Oh and one more thing, that I never want to forget. Every night Calvin gets out of bed and sneaks into our room, head down and eyes averted. And then he always says the same thing, in one run-on sentence:

I want to hug mommy and kiss mommy and tell mommy goodnight.

Ok, enough sappiness for one night.

November 23, 2008

Almost 14 weeks

Drowsy. With occasional bursts of energy. That about sums me up these days. My nausea is still extremely persistent and so I am still taking my zofran.

Side effects of zofran? Drowsiness, dizziness and headaches.

As if being in your first trimester wasn't exhausting enough! Last Saturday I decided to skip my zofran. I felt awake, and it felt great. We went to Finn's last soccer game and on our way home, I started to feel a bit queasy. When we got home, I threw up 3 times. Which made me feel starving. I decided that starvation and pillaging for food was worse than the drowsiness, and so I went back on the zofran.

After taking the zofran, I took a 5 hour nap that day. 5 hours! I can't believe John didn't wake me up. I felt completely horrid and sludgy afterwards. I took a rather long nap today too, and had a hard time rejoining the land of the living. I don't think I should take these long naps anymore. It's just too hard to wake up.

Last Monday I had my 13 week Dr. appointment. I sat in the waiting room for over an hour and I didn't even mind AT ALL, because I brought an embroidery project. I was as happy as a clam. Seriously, I have been loving embroidering even more, now that I am pregnant. It barely takes any energy to sit there(or lay there) embroidering, especially when I am not feeling well. It makes me feel very productive.

When they finally called me back, I got to listen to the baby's heartbeat. They have this cool new electronic Doppler. My Dr. held up the speaker so I could hear the heartbeat and see the digital readout. It read between 158-160, which is about what my other boys were.

I've been feeling the baby move for a while now. The first time I felt it move, I was not even 10 weeks along, and it kind of freaked me out. Now that I am further along, it doesn't weird me out. It's actually my most favorite part of being pregnant.

So, here I am, plugging along. I am still sick, but occasionally I feel normal. Today at church, Christie and I were on a photo task, taking pictures of the kiddos. Afterwards, she snapped a few shots of me at almost 14 weeks pregnant. It was very bright and sunny outside, so that is why I look squinty. Thanks for playing along Christie!

And then at home, I tried to do some pictures myself. I'm definitely feeling my girth these days!

And while we are at it, here is my new Supercuts hair do.

John and I are jumping on the bandwagon and doing the Dave Ramsey plan(envelopes and such). We love listening to his show every other night via podcast. We are still waiting for our "Total Money Makeover" book to arrive in the mail. In the meanwhile, I decided to practice being frugal, and got my hair cut at Supercuts. So I thought I'd document my pilgrimage into Ramsey's *beans & rice* philosphy.

I took Calvin with me, and we both got our hair cut. When it was my turn, I looked in the mirror and saw that I had chocolate smudged on my chest from Finn's Butterfinger, and little pieces of embroidery thread all over my clothes. The girl just kind of looked at me. I was so horrified. However, I am happy enough with the cut. Honestly, I can barely tell the difference between her cut and my salon guy's cut. So far, so good! I saved myself $30.

Which was a bit negated today when I went on a teeny little shopping spree at target tonight. Eeek! But I am soooo happy with my new clothes. Perhaps I will show you them next post. Good night for now!

November 20, 2008

the robber

I happened upon this sad little sight 2 days ago.

Finn's little bank account was looking quite bankrupt.

While someone else's stash was looking quite healthy.

Now, Finn knows his money like the back of his hand. You can't put anything past him.

"Hey, I'm $23 short!", Finn exclaimed.

While someone else's stash was inflated by exactly $23. Hmm...

And when confronted by his grand heist, all Calvin could do was jump up and down on my bed, laughing gleefully.

"You are a robber!", we accused Calvin, as he jumped up and down.

"I'm Crush", he immediately corrected us, still giggling hysterically. He was certainly trying to charm his way out of this one.

I'm not certain that he knew what he was doing, but we certainly missed out on a good opportunity to teach him how to earn an honest living. And how it is wrong to steal. After reading a friend's blog, on how her son shop-lifted, I am quite certain that I blew it big time.

Our little robber may have weaseled his way out of his crime this time, but next time, he faces the slammer!

November 16, 2008

the contest

They tried. Finn and Calvin really, really tried to instill proper kitty etiquette into their younger brother. And at first, it really did look like all their efforts were paying off. Ollie was finally starting to pay proper respects to his tan stuffed kitty. 

Until it came along. 

What the heck is this thing anyway?

A fox? A feline creature of sorts? I am not sure. 

It is tiny and plastic and positively hideous. 

And Ollie loves it.

He had tons of fun putting it in and out, in and out, of the green frog boot.

For some reason, Ollie's preference toward this plastic toy really unsettled me. 

The next day, I decided to stage a contest to see once and for all, which "kitty" Ollie really liked better. So I placed the two critters side by side.

I brought Ollie straight into the room and placed him directly in front of both animals. The tiny plastic toy is quite small and honestly I really did not even think he would see it.

Ok, off he goes...

Which one is he gonna pick?????

Oh, this is not looking good.

Poor, dejected stuffed kitty:(

And Ollie emerges victoriously with his prized possession clenched in his fist once again.

At least it is a cat of sorts

November 14, 2008

Thanks Becca!

My friend Becca did the sweetest thing last week. She brought me some beautiful orchids and a very special card to help cheer me up from my morning sickness.

 I never had orchids before. I instantly fell in love with their simple elegance.

And the card she made is an outrageous piece of art. It made me feel so special to receive a hand made card that was so beautiful. So, a card really can make a huge difference. Every time I look at it, I smile.

So thank you, Becca, for bestowing me with such a thoughtful gift. You have no idea how much it has brightened my days.

Becca is a very talented scrapper. To see more of her amazing creations, look at her scrap blog.

November 12, 2008

other wings

Finn fixates on page 102 of his Sparky book. 

He is always talking about his wings and his jewels and likes to draw pictures of them on pretend AWANA vests. A few nights back, we had a conversation where I literally had no idea WHAT the boy was talking about. He kept asking about "the other wings". I kept telling him that he only got one set of wings. There were no "other wings".

And he continued talking about the other wings, until I was completely frustrated, and gave up on the conversation.

A couple of minutes later, he drew me these alleged "other wings".
Finn explained, "You draw a rectangle and then a thing on top. There are tan wings and gray wings and they have lots of jewels".

And the light bulb finally went off in my head. I now understood "the other wings" he was referring too.

I said, "Oh, Finn, you mean the bronze and silver CROWNS that the older sparkies have." ( I guess they changed things and now have wings instead of crowns, but the older kids still have crowns).

I couldn't believe it. All this time Finn had been scoping out the other kid's vests. I was much too oblivious at age 5 to notice such things. 

November 9, 2008


It was really late one night. I was already tucked away in bed, and John was getting ready for bed as well. Just before his head hit the pillow, he realized he did not have a pillow.

"That darn anemone", he muttered, as he went in search of his pillow in the family room.

My boys have been finching every single pillow in our home to create the ultimate sea anemone home for their little sea creatures.

And yes, Finn is still wearing his orange striped shirt, so that everyone will know that he is Marlin, Nemo's daddy. Calvin has long talks with "Marwin" everyday. Such serious conversations these boys have. Calvin knows the deep importance of calling Finn by his proper sea creature name.

And Calvin insists on being called "Crush", who is the daddy sea turtle in Nemo. Every time we call him Calvin or GeGe, he immediately corrects us with "I'm Crush". Since he does not have a turtle shirt to wear, Finn fashioned him an outfit, by coloring a turtle shell on the back of a plastic grocery bag.

And Calvin's little sea turtle-child is named "Squirt" from Nemo. He also calls him "Change Studdit", because at the end of the movie, Squirt became an exchange student where Nemo lives.

Well, all of this pillow snagging became extremely overwhelming the last few days. Every time I turned around, all of the couch cushions were off of the couch, to build anemones and such.

No amount of discipline was working.

One particular morning they made the mess of all messes, while I was dealing with my morning sickness. Pretty much every room of the house was a disaster.

So I gathered up their stuffed animals and blankets and put them in a large trash bag.

"I'm not throwing them away", I said. "I am just keeping them here until you earn them back".

There were plenty of tears.

Later that morning I found Finn in the corner of his room, looking at spiders. When I tried to talk to him, his eyes got all red and his voice got extra squeaky. I said "If you make your bed, you can earn back Nemo".

I have never seen Finn so motivated to help clean the house in my life. We did all the laundry and cleaned up every room. He was on his best behavior.

After each chore Finn would request "Can I get back another animal?"

Finn was willing to do ANYTHING to regain custody of his kids.

And Calvin?

Let's just say that most of his creatures would have remained in my foster-care system indefinitely if it weren't for Finn wailing "what are we gonna do-ooo to get Calvin's animals ba-ack?"

November 6, 2008


I went home and begged John to stay home from school the next day. Things still felt so unstable and I was hesitant to move one inch off the couch.

One of my favorite things about John is how carefree he is. He does not tend to worry about anything. That night, this did not work in my favor. "You'll be fine", he said, "I'm not taking the day off". In his mind, he really and truly thought that I would be just fine by myself. He really did. And it was maddening. I begged and pleaded to no avail.

I swallowed my pride and asked Ellie to help me that morning. She was so sweet. She brought over a pitcher of orange juice and made us blueberry muffins for breakfast. And for lunch, she made us her killer mac n' cheese. All this, while I stayed nailed to my couch. I was so thankful for her help, and I can't wait to be that helpful to some poor soul one day. Perhaps a daughter-in-law with morning sickness??

The next day it was time to get my blood drawn again. It was saturday, and all the labs closed at noon. I was supposed to get it drawn much later that evening, at the 48-hour mark, but they would all be closed then. So, I got my blood drawn early. There was nothing I could do about that.

Over that weekend, I knew my doctor's office would be closed and that I would not find out the results til monday. And I was perfectly ok with that. Truth was, I was happy to have a break from all the commotion and fuss. I just wanted to relax and not think about anything.

Monday morning came and went.

No call from the doctor's office.

Waiting, waiting.

By 2pm I called and left a message.

More waiting.

A nurse finally called back around 4pm and apologized for the delay--my doctor was not in that day. The nurse basically said that my numbers were inconclusive, since I was not able to wait at least 48 hours. However, at least the numbers did go up some. My doctor would call the next day.

The next day I got a call from the office, and my doctor agreed that the numbers were a bit inconclusive, since I was not able to wait at least 48 hours. She said, "The most important thing is, the numbers did go up".

She did not want to re-test the numbers. She thought that would be overkill. I agreed.

She did want that other ultrasound though. I did too.

So we scheduled for friday, at 1:30pm.

The next few days I settled into a routine of nausea, nausea, and more nausea. And exhaustion. If nothing else, this was at least a good sign. My numbers may have been inconclusive, but I felt pretty darn pregnant.

Friday finally came. Lorie offered to watch my boys while I had my ultrasound. I gratefully accepted her help. She was so sweet and brought us all lunch. She was a bit disturbed to see me going to my ultrasound all by myself, but I assured her I would be fine. Sometimes having someone looking at me all sympathetic just makes me more upset.

When I got to the waiting room, it was completely empty. Everyone was at lunch, so I waited around a bit.

I caught a glimpse of the blond tech and craned my head to see her name tag. No luck. I prayed I would not get her.

And thankfully, I did not! I got an older blond lady, who was so nice and friendly. She greeted me cheerfully as she introduced herself. I lay down on the table, and she accidentally lowered it too far. She looked over to find me, and the table, practically lowered to the floor. We both got a big laugh out of that.

And then she went to work, clicking here and there. She was very chatty.

Almost instantly, we could both see the heart beat. It already looked so different. Last time, the baby was practically one big blob of heartbeat. This time, you could see a more proportionate heartbeat, centered in the middle of the baby. It was amazing. The tech said everything looked just fine. I give all praise to God!

She explained that the round circle was the yolk sack, which she liked to call the baby's backpack:)

I realize baby still looks like a bit of a blob in this picture. She said it was now measuring 7 weeks and 3 days, which was just as expected, based on the last ultrasound.

The heart rate was 144.

I know what some of you are thinking...heart rate of a boy...

I tucked my picture into my purse and skipped home.

I arrived to a warm house smelling of yummy homemade mac n' cheese. Lorie had made a delicious dinner for my family that night. I felt so truly blessed. Thanks again, Lorie.

That night, I went on a little road trip, for the first time since having kids. I had so much fun, even though I was nauseous and tired. I don't think Lorie and Ellie had ever seen me in such a state. I complained that it was too windy...and the music was too loud....They were such troopers and just laughed with good humor. Some people just glide and glow through pregnancy. Not me. I am a train wreck.

Here are some maternity photos Lorie took of me the next day, in the crumbling house. I was 7 weeks and 4 days. Thanks so much for documenting this special time, Lorie!!!

My waist has popped out quite a bit in the past week.

And that brings me to today. As I type, I am 11 weeks and 2 days.

I am still sick. I typically stay sick till the 20 week mark. I am trying not to think about this.

I have not bled since that one incident. After all I have been through, I am just so thankful to God. I am so grateful to be pregnant, I don't even really care what the gender is.

In fact, as of 2 days ago, John and I decided NOT to find out the gender when our 20 week ultrasound rolls around.

Here is me, ducking behind my computer, to avoid the shoes you are throwing at me.

I have no patience for people who don't peek, so I understand if this irks you.

Why aren't I curious? Maybe because I am just too sick to see beyond my own nose. Or maybe because the ultrasound sounds so far away, in January.

And maybe I am just all talk right now. I may cave as the days get closer.

If it's a girl? That would be a wild and fun curiosity of sorts. I cannot even imagine the commotion of having a little girl in this house. So, if you are thinking pink, go right ahead! Though I much prefer the color "dull eggplant", with smatterings of mustard yellow:)

And if it's a boy? Wow. Heaven help me! I would not be disappointed though. If anything, I would feel the great privilege of trying to train up 4 godly boys to be lights in such a dark world.

Either way, I just feel grateful and after reading my story I hope you can understand my sentiments!

November 5, 2008


"Ut oh", I said aloud. This did not look good at all.

I immediately called John and said "I think I am miscarrying, please come home immediately." It was around 3:15pm.

Then I called the switchboard and calmly asked the receptionist if I could see my doctor, I thought I might be miscarrying. For some reason, this request sent her into a frenzied panic and she said maybe I should go straight to the ER.

"Oh no", I said, "I am NOT going there. I need to see my doctor."

I got to the office sometime before 4pm and waited in the waiting room with all the other patients. And I waited some more. It was getting late. A pre-programmed show blasted from the flat-screen tv--some sinister health show on all sorts of diseases. It was more than I could deal with. I plugged my ears and sang "la la la la" to myself for the next half hour.

During all this, I decided they needed a special room for people who thought they were miscarrying. The room needed to be pink, with lots of bubbles and lollipops. I realize this seems a bit far-fetched, but at the time it made perfect sense.

The time was approaching 5pm and I was terrified of being sent to the ER, where they stab you with the ultrasound probe and mix up your pee samples.

The waiting room cleared and I finally got to see my doctor. When she checked me, the first thing she said was "I think you are miscarrying...". Then she checked me some more and said "hm, you are closed up". This was a good sign, but not conclusive, so she sent me to get an ultrasound immediately.

The ultrasound room was very backed up that day. Their main ultrasound machine was broken and the other one was starting to malfunction as well.

Amazingly enough, they sent me in right ahead of everyone else. My ultrasound tech was a very icy-looking blond woman. She did not say hello to me. She was abrupt and fumbled with a portable ultrasound machine. She seemed very stressed out and could not get the machine to work. After jabbing me with the probe, she gave up.

The probe hit the floor and...gasp...she kicked it with her foot. It was so unbelievably unprofessional. And yucky. All those germs on the floor? Ak. I really should have reported her.

She tried the main ultrasound machine and a few minutes later, my eyes beheld the most precious sight in the world. A tiny flickering heart beat.

The tech clicked and said matter-of-factly "heart rate is 114".

"What does that mean?", I asked hopefully, for the first time.

"It means your baby has a heart beat", she snapped. Sheesh.

And then she said that the baby was measuring 6 weeks and 2 days. I had thought I was 7 weeks along, and so it was a quite the blow to be demoted by 5 days. When you have morning sickness, every day counts. I was extremely grateful that the baby had a heart beat, but I was still a bit concerned about all the bleeding.

And of course, she did not print out a picture of the baby.

My doctor came flying out of her room to meet us and ushered me into her office to discuss the ultrasound. "This is good" she said, "the bleeding is away from the baby and the yolk sack". She really did not know why I had experienced the bleeding. I don't really think there is any way of knowing exactly why.

She ordered 2 blood tests for HCG levels, along with another ultrasound for the following week, to check on the baby. Things were looking up, but I was still not out of the woods. We would just have to wait and see what was going to happen.

She sent me to get my blood drawn, with instructions to have it taken again in 48 hours. And hence, the waiting continued...

November 4, 2008

Part2: a Blur

It was a calm and beautiful September morning. The windows were open and a slight breeze swept through the house. Finally, fall was on its way. John was busy cleaning, as was his usual saturday morning ritual.

I casually breezed by and dropped the pregnancy test on the counter where he stood.

I was a bit nervous and started to cover my face with my hands.

"What does this mean?", he asked.

Now, he knew full well what this meant. It was not my custom to show him failed pregnancy tests. I think he was just trying to buy some time, which made me even more nervous.

He looked at my face and finally said, "well, I think it's wonderful!"

Relief swept over my mind, but not my body.The rest of the day was a blur of shock and I was literally shaking all day. I had that wild feeling of a million butterflies in my stomach. I was excited, almost overjoyed, but could not wrap my mind around the possibility of 4 kids. It seemed unreal.

It was not long before Mr. Nausea came a-knocking at my door. It was so forceful, it took my appetite away. I could not eat or drink anything. I would just walk around the house with an ugly grimace on my face. I did not even realize I was making such faces until I caught an occassional glimse in the mirror. I felt bad that my boys had to look at me like this. Finally, I realized that I would have to call the dr.'s office for some zofran, which is an anti-nausea medication. Although the zofran does nothing to take my nausea away, I am able to eat and drink without throwing up. For this, I am thankful.

My exhaustion is just as bad as my nausea, and so the couch has become my new best friend. Each morning, I drag myself out of bed, just so I can drag myself to the couch. Somehow I am able to feed the boys breakfast and I am very grateful each day that God gives me the grace to do this. Even though I feel crummy, I am so happy to see 3 bright shiny faces each morning.

The next few weeks were a blur of Nemo-Ice Age-Nemo-Monster's Inc-Nemo. Despite the blur of my life, I was determined to remember Ollie's every little mannerism and facial feature. Sometimes I just sit and stare at his profile and memorize his hands, his feet, his little voice...everything.

Finn kept begging me to play soccer with him. He deserved an explanation as to why his mother was so pathetic.

"There's a baby in mommy's belly", I told him.

"Oh", he said, his eyes wide. "Is it a girl baby or a boy baby?", he questioned.

"We don't know yet, honey", I replied. "It's too small to know".

"Well, I think it's very exciting!", he said.

Finn really has been my life-saver. When Ollie gets up from his nap, sometimes Finn brings him his sippy with milk and climbs in his pack-and-play, reading him a story. I once heard him say, "It's ok, Finny's here".

And even more amazingly, Ollie has been sleeping-in every day til 9 and napping from almost 1-5. He is done teething, for now, and has become quite the chipper and independent little ragamuffin. All my boys look like rug-rats right now, and I am too sick to care.

I finally worked up the nerve to tell my parents. I was going on 7 weeks and did not want to worry them unnecessarily. I knew they would be concerned, since this would be my 4th c-section. My mom called that night and I cautiously spilled my news. Mom was shocked and concerned about the the c-section, but overall took the news very well.

Dad was a bit more shaken up and called back saying "You just don't understand how scary it is to watch your daughters have babies", he said. He was right. I did not know what it was like.

That night, I panicked a bit. What was I doing? Then I remembered a few things. Like how I asked my doctor, a few months ago, if it was ok to have a 4th c-section. We went over my surgery reports and she said that everything would be ok. And of course, I was comforted by the fact that I had been praying about this before I got pregnant. I was in God's hands. Still, I slept with my bible under my pillow that night:)

Two days later, after a long, hard day of nausea, I got up from the couch and walked to the bathroom. And saw blood. Dark red blood. 

November 3, 2008

Part 1: Big V?

It was a little past noon one hot day this summer. John just got back from helping a family in our small group move.

He waltzed through the door and boldly announced "I'm thinking of having a vasectomy". Just like that. Completely out of the blue.

I was shocked and extremely dismayed.

Nevermind, I had always thought I would be done at 3 kids. Three was just my magic number. I came from a family of 3 kids. People would sometimes question this number saying "But that is an odd number. Someone is always going to be left out at Disneyland." And you know, we always go to Disneyland. I would just say, "Ah, they can just invite a friend".

After Ollie was born, it was too sad to think of him being my last. So, I just thought, maybe one day I might have another. But I really did think we were done. And then when Ollie was a few months old, John started talking about having another baby. I kind of laughed and went along with it. I didn't really think he was serious. But he kept bringing it up. And after a while, he kind of planted a little seed in my head that maybe one day, that could happen. He kind of got my hopes up.

Hence the disappointment on my part when he told me we were done. Apparently the men in our small group were nudging him in that direction. I was a bit disgruntled and decided that these Christian men were having a bad influence on my husband;)

John's reasoning? We were in over our heads with our 3 boys and could not possibly add another to the mix.

It was hard to argue with that, since for the past couple of weeks I had been calling him every day from work, begging him to get home as soon as possible. Ollie was in the middle of another teething episode and was shrieking all day until my nerves were fried. So I told John, "Maybe in a year or two things will settle down..." A vasectomy sounded so sinister. So final.

I did not beg or whine, like I normally would. Well, maybe I did for a few minutes. Then I stopped. I bit my tongue and prayed about it. And stopped calling him at work, begging him to get home. I knew that if I raised a fuss, John would just dig in his heels and get even more stubborn. Don't be deceived by my husband's easy-going demeanor. He can be one very stubborn guy when pushed.

For the next month or so, I really did my part. I warned him of any possibility of getting pregnant. Oddly enough, he did not seem overly concerned. Go figure.

In September, I had some suspicious symptoms, so I took a cheapo dollar store test. It came back negative. I was not too concerned. I had just finished nursing Ollie 2 weeks earlier, and so I was getting accustomed to being late. So, I did not question the stick.

That is, until a week and a half later, I was gagging on my scrambled eggs. I have eggs almost every morning, and I never gag on them unless pregnant.

I snuck off to my room and took another test. Within moments the second line turned purple.

And I was shocked. And a bit shaken.

How was John going to react?

Thank You!!!

I am truly overwhelmed by all of your super sweet words of excitement for the costumes and this little baby. He or she already feels so loved and special, so thank you. Each and every comment made me smile and helped me forget about this morning sickness for a few moments, so THANK YOU, THANK YOU! You are the best blogging community a girl could ever ask for!

November 1, 2008

boys in brown

As many of you already know, the brown truck has a special place in our hearts over here.

The brown truck was eagerly anticipated, day after day, when Finn was waiting for his very first drum set to arrive. And still, every time the brown truck goes by, the boys run to the front window, jumping up and down with joy and excitement.

And remember? We even staged a fake brown truck delivery for Calvin's little drum set that we got from Craig's list.

And oh the joy when it brought my very first camera.

Yes, we love the brown truck. So, I thought it would be fitting for my boys to do the honor of representing the men in brown this halloween.

(Little brown truck made by dear husband John. Thank you honey!)

Finn is even wearing a real UPS hat that was given to him by our very own UPS man.

Ollie adamantly informed me that he will NOT be wearing a hat this year. 

Hard at work?

Or hardly working?

Look at these slackers!

Hey Finn, while you are back there, can you get that package out and bring it to mama?

Band of Brothers is joyfully expecting a new member this May!


I am currently 10 weeks and 4 days along...and counting. Morning sickness has not been kind to me. *Shudder*.

Forgive me for being a fake blogger recently. Over the next few posts I will update you on what's really been going on around here!