Sep 29, 2018

Moments in the NICU: 10 Blankets by Bossy

Hey, all! Mom is away at the leader/daughter Girl Scout retreat and I decided without permission that we needed a new blog post. Hopefully she will edit it when she is back.

The day before I became FMLA eligible, I was let go from my temporary position with the state health department.  Of course I went home and sobbed. How in the world was I going to find a new job 6 months pregnant? The Beast had been pushing for me to join him and Beauty at the bank for years and they helped me get an interview.  I was offered a position immediately and started mid-May. One thing that has been different from my past jobs is that I have a lot of down time and they encourage employees to bring a book or homework to keep occupied. I asked if I could bring in my mending and sew during my down time. I caught up my 3-year pile of mending after a few weeks. 

Granny squares
Around this time Taco and Burrito where cleaning and found a crocheted afghan that Cat Woman had started to teach me how to crochet while we were moving her from Texas to Utah. I started playing around with the blanket trying to remember how to crochet and then I used blog tutorials and videos to practice more complicated stitches. Once I had the basic single and double crochet down, I practiced on this blanket until I felt confident to purchase yarn and start my own blanket for Skittles.  

Skittles's blanket was finished at a baseball tournament game.
I found a pattern I loved online and after restarting four times, I was finally happy with my tension and how the blanket was progressing. I worked on it at work and baseball games and finished in 3 weeks after starting in late June. This was when we thought we may get custody of Super Girl, so I started a simpler pattern to create her a blanket as well. I finished that up in a week at work.  I knew that in July I started weekly non-stress tests at the hospital we would deliver at and I remembered a lot of sitting around during them. After scheduling, I felt a strong urge to donate blankets to the stillbirth closet at the hospital. When Calder was born, we received a beautiful, tiny green blanket and I wanted to give back. 

Blanket #3
I tried to replicated his blanket with some lilac yarn donated by Mom. His blanket is a 20" x 20" granny square and I really struggled with enlarging the granny square. After 6 rows, it started to warp and stretch. I was so unhappy with it. That afternoon at my first NST, I asked the nurse if the stillbirth blankets had to follow a specific pattern. She confirmed that they could be anything, so I decided to use the same pattern I used for Super Girl and scale it down to a smaller blanket. Super Girl’s crib blanket made up so fast, I thought I could average 2 half-sized blankets a week. I was 32 weeks and anticipated delivering at 38 weeks, so I set a goal to have 10 blankets finished for donation. ..until Skittles came crashing into the world at 34 weeks and I was half way through blanket # 3. We decided that as long as Skittles was still admitted, we could continue to work on the goal of making 10 blankets.  

Still learning how to keep my yarn untangled
Gamer brought all the yarn to the hospital and I sat and sang to Skittles as we crocheted blankets and grew. After completing several boy and gender neutral blankets, I starting thinking about two other stillborn babies who had directly influenced my life. My cousin, Addie, was born sleeping a week after Taco was born. I have always felt guilty over Addie’s death. My aunt had multiple tubal pregnancies and Addie was her miracle girl pregnancy.  It was so hard when Addie passed away at 34 weeks. My Aunt Julie was so wonderful when Calder passed away.  She offered to arrange flowers for his casket and she gave me a white afghan she had to cover the casket with during the funeral on top of being the comforting voice of experience.

Addie's blanket
My final blanket was dedicated in memory of baby Faith. I met Faith’s mother, Camilla, through a Facebook group of stillborn moms. Faith is buried in the same cemetery as Calder. On Valentine’s Day, Camilla and her family visited all the infant graves in our cemetery and laid out valentines from Faith. I shared her touching gesture on the Facebook page and Camilla and I became great friends. She enjoys holding sweet Skittles. The final blanket was made with Faith in mind I felt her presence as I picked out the last pattern and colors. I am so grateful for these angels playing and patiently waiting for their mommies to join them. I hope my simple blankets offer a new angel mom the same comfort they gave me.

As for the new job at the bank? They have been wonderful and I couldn't be happier. I should have listened to my brother years ago.

Sep 27, 2018

Pinewood Derby 2018

I have a love/hate relationship with the Pinewood Derby. I love it because it gives my son many hours of work with his dad. I hate it because there are usually tears and disappointment awaiting me. The tension was even worse than usual in the buildup to Curly's last big race.

As a Webelos Scout, his days with the pack are numbered and the more he thought about it, the more he wanted to win for the 3rd year in a row. My sweetie wanted to win even more than that.

We left football practice a little early and got there just before the first race. We had the 8th ward with us too, making about 25 boys to race, so we settled in for the long haul.

I breathed a sigh of relief when his razor-thin, blue Broncos car zipped down the track for 1st place on round 1.

Round 2 wasn't so easy, but he won by a nose. When it was finally over, he had once again managed to clinch the first place title.

Sep 26, 2018

A Big Announcement by Princess

I am so excited to finally be able to tell a secret! Princess put this up on Facebook today.

Picture 1: How Tadpole thought our family would be forever.

Picture 2: Tadpole's reaction after we told him he was going to be a big brother.

It's ok, Buddy, Grandma still loves you...

Baby #2 coming 4-4-2019!

Sep 25, 2018

Off Track Time

Today was our first day of off track time and we just had to celebrate with a trip to MacDonald's for lunch and to use my free Happy Meals cards we earned in the summer reading program. It was so crowded that we had to take two little tables for the 4 of us.

Twizlet loved playing with the basketballs and on the big slides. Curly loved playing with the drink machine and making new flavors, and Baby Doll made it a point to trade special prizes from the kids' meals several times.

And the most exciting thing that happened today is that Twiz passed his National Police Officer Acceptance test, so now he can finally start his training as a police officer! Yay!

Sep 24, 2018

Happy Birthday, Princess

Twenty-two years ago today, our sweet baby Princess was born. She was my reward for a difficult couple of years that included Dog Walker's entrance into the Jordan District's Cluster program and an ACL replacement for me with nearly a year before my leg felt somewhat decent.

She is still a wonderful gift; an amazing daughter and mother to her darling Tadpole (who is getting so big!). She has it all, a husband, a child, a new home, a college degree, and a family who loves her.

On Sunday we all drove to her new home even though it was over an hour away  so we could celebrate and share dinner and dessert. My favorite part was holding the babies...

Princess even made her own birthday cake. It was so pretty, we should have taken a pic before I cut it; and so delicious that I grabbed an extra piece for the road.

Happy birthday, Princess!
Here's hoping for many, many more.

Sep 23, 2018

First of Its Kind

I've had 5 kids play tackle football and today was the first time any of them actually caught a pass. You have to understand that all 5 have been X-men (women, sorry, Scout) and in the youth leagues, they are not allowed to carry the ball.

Today Curly was doing his usual fantastic job on the O-line when he looked up to watch the pass being thrown over his head. It was deflected by one of the defensive players and it started spinning end over end in the air. There was no way the intended receiver was even going to have a chance at it, so Curly snatched it up and even managed to gain a few yards before the five guys surrounding him pulled him down.

It all happened so fast that even if I would have had my camera out, I wouldn't have been able to capture it. Unfortunately, the kids don't get instant replay, but they did have someone there today filming things, so hopefully it will end up on the end of the year video.

But even if it doesn't, Curly can have bragging rights with his big brothers (and sister) and that is definitely worth something.

Sep 21, 2018

1st Match for Scout

I think I told you that Scout has been looking for something new in her life. She didn't love tackle football and now she is disenchanted with softball. So in the spring I signed her up for a little volleyball league here at our local rec center. It turns out that she is a natural and she loves it!

Scout wears #14.
A few weeks ago, I signed her up to try out for Bingham's 9th grade team. She was upset at first, but quickly came around and decided she would go and do her best. As a 7th grader, she didn't have much chance making it on the 9th grade team, so she was excited to become an alternate. Then the alternates were pulled in for one more team and she made the 5th team rather than the 6th.

Wednesday was her first set of matches, the first with West Jordan and the second with Riverton. They won the match against West Jordan in the 3rd game. Then they played again right after that and lost both games to Riverton, but not by much.

I was so proud of Scout! She worked hard and supported her teammates. Maybe the volleyball court really is the place for her.

Sep 20, 2018

Excited About the Car Seat Key

You all know I have all of these cute little grandbabies right now... 4 in all. Twizlet is the oldest at 19 months followed by Little Warrior at 13 months, Tadpole at 7 months, and our littlest, Skittles at 2 months. I love watching them, so much so that I finally had to acquire my own one-size-fits-all carseat.

I don't generally have much trouble with my hands, but sometimes those buttons and latches are just too hard to push. That's why I was so excited to hear from US Family Guides that the kind folks from Namra wanted me to try out The Car Seat Key.

This device is especially made to easily push in that stubborn red button when a crying baby is making me a little nervous. It's pretty cool, actually. It slips right over the top and with its amazing grip, lets me push down and release the latch before I'm the one that stats crying. I'm excited to try it out!

advertising pic, obviously not my hands

I can get you a deal if you want one now, before I post my review. Buy (2) Save $4.00 Buy (3) Save $9.00 Buy (4) Save $14.00 Buy (5) Save $19.00 Discount is automatically applied at checkout! Let me know what you think and I will post mine too.

I love having one less thing to stress about.

Sep 19, 2018

Cupcake Club

This is the status of my desk right now.

I have been working on these posters for the Cupcake Club and they have taken me far longer than I was hoping. The biggest problem was remembering where I bought that lone piece of shiny metallic blue poster board. Thank goodness I have Baby Doll to be my brains. That girl remembered it was a visit to Hobby Lobby over a year ago!

I know Crafty has officers for her club; I can't figure out why I'm still on duty. Bossy joked once that we were the members of the "cabinet," and I think she is right. You can't get out of the job no matter how hard you try.

If you remember right, Princess started this club when she was a senior in hopes of winning Sweethearts' Queen (which she did!). Crafty is now beginning her Senior Year and her 3rd year of being president. I don't know if she is burned out, but I know she isn't feeling well and we wanted to get these up before the tailgate on Friday for Homecoming.

So I sit...
... and cut out cupcakes...

Sep 18, 2018

83 Years for Grandpa

Last Saturday my dad turned 83 years old. He is pretty open about the fact that he has spent many years on this earth. In fact, had my mom been alive, they would have celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary this past week. So we just had to have a party! This one was a bit larger than our typical one since I invited all of my siblings and their families as well.

By my count, we had exactly 51 people here plus my brother-in-law who spent the evening sitting in his car in front of the house. (But that's another story.) We served Dad's favorite meal, spaghetti and meatballs, and I made a huge German chocolate cake.

Pic from a previous party since lately I keep forgetting to take any...

The party spread throughout the main floor of the house and it spilled into the basement and the backyard. We were only missing my two brothers and their families and Beauty and The Beast and Little Warrior. I guess there were a few random grandkids too who weren't able to make it, but for the most part, Dad had the majority of his family around him.

There was plenty of laughter and sharing of stories. Dad opened his gifts and was gracious and grateful. We don't always get along perfectly, but I'm so glad that he is here with us. Happy birthday, Dad.

Sep 16, 2018

Three Cheers for Baby Doll!

Way back in the day, my older girls had the opportunity to be cheerleaders for their brothers' football teams. I don't think I was ever the cheer mom officially, but I was pretty involved for a while. Then the costs got so high that we couldn't afford to have so many daughters participate, so we moved on to other things.

Now I just have one (not-so-little) guy playing football and when the sister (and actual Bingham cheerleader) of our best running back decided to put together a cheer team, I knew Baby Doll would love it, so what could I say?

Today was their first game. Baby Doll is the tallest on the team, but I'm not sure she is the oldest. At first she was a bit shy, but by the end of the first quarter, she had opened up and was shouting as loud as she could. She even started doing kicks and shouts after each cheer.

It will be fun to see how she and the squad grow and change over the rest of the season. Their real uniforms should be in next week and she is pretty excited about that. But nothing could be better than those shiny blue metallic pom poms...

Go Bingham!
and go Baby Doll!

Sep 15, 2018

Boating with Bob

We have this amazing friend and neighbor named Bob. He was our Home Teacher from the day we moved in way back in 1994 and has been ever since. Now he is our ministering brother, but that hasn't made any difference. He just takes care of us.

Today he took us boating on the Jordanelle. I had not been boating since I was a child unless you count rafts, so this was a new experience. We had our four youngest with us as well as Twizlet, but Bob has a new boat that is bigger, so it could accommodate all of us.

As we whipped across the water, Twizlet giggled and watched the birds. Then we inflated the tube and Baby Doll and Curly had a great time bouncing across the waves churned up by the boat. After a while, Sport and Scout wanted a turn, so Bob reeled in the little kids and the big ones ventured onto the tube. They had just gotten themselves settled, when it became evident that we had a problem. The rope had tangled itself around our motor.

Mid September in Utah is still pretty warm, but the Jordanelle is always cold. Bob knew we had to get rid of the rope before we could take the boat to shore and there was only one way to do that. So he handed off his sunglasses and sandals and plunged into the cold water.

Little by little he removed pieces of the damaged rope. After about 20 times of forcing himself beneath the waves, the rope was finally free. We had long since put away the tube and the kids were quietly watching as our amazing friend finally climbed back into the driver's seat, shivering and thirsty.

He should have then run us straight to shore so he could get warm, but he never thinks of himself first. He still wanted to salvage the day so we chased the waves a little longer before he took us back to the dock. Now that is true ministering and a lesson for all of us.

Sep 13, 2018

Happy Birthday, Sweet Angel Boy

I wanted to post one of Bossy's NICU memories yesterday (sorry about the potty humor!) before I remind you that last Friday, September 7, was the 1st birthday of Bossy and Gamer's sweet angel baby, Calder. On Sunday, they wanted to get the family together at the cemetery and just remember.

Bossy and Gamer had been strapped for cash last year when they lost their little one to a stillbirth, so they went with one of the cheapest routes possible when purchasing their marker for his grave. Unfortunately, that has caused all sorts of trouble because this summer, the caretakers have been careless with the mowers and they have driven right over the stone. Once when we were out there, we even saw tire tracks!

So a few amazing friends and family members all chipped in so that they could upgrade their stone with additional concrete and a vase. Thank you everyone! You know who you are. That work was completed on Calder's actual birthday, so the entire family got to see it when we arrived at the cemetery. Bossy and Gamer had set up a canopy and inflated helium balloons for everyone to release at the same time.

Burrito read his favorite book and they opened a few gifts that would help them remember. When we were finished, we headed to the house for another delicious meal largely created by my sweetie. It was a beautiful, melancholy day.

At the end of the day, we all slept well, but most especially this cute little brother of Calder's. God is merciful and kind and even though Calder was needed for a greater mission, the Lord sent another to heal aching hearts. Love you so much, Skittles!

Back at home, Calder Bear shared his new stories with his new best friends...

Sep 12, 2018

Moments in the NICU: Poop Rocket by Bossy

If you have ever changed a newborn, I am sure you are familiar with the dark, tarry first week poop. This story takes place when Skittles was still having this dark, sticky poop. He was on an angled warming bed with a short 3-inch plastic sides. The bed was at a 45-degree angle with a round 2-inch mattress. When the babies are on warming beds, they have a round pillow that supports their bodies and keeps their feet swaddled.

It was our first time meeting Natalie, who would become one of our regular daytime nurses. The first thing I noticed about Natalie was her cute scrubs. She had a wrap style top that I only ever saw her wear during our time in the NICU. Natalie came in to do our morning assessment and Skittles was under the bilirubin lights for his jaundice so my time to hold him was limited to 1 hour after his assessment. Skittles hated having his blood pressure taken; they would cuff his legs and so when they were listening to his heart and lungs he would scrunch up his body and work his way down to the bottom of the bed. This becomes important in understanding the improbability of later events.

Normally I would handle his regular cares (diaper change, temperature, and changing his pulse ox probe to the other foot), but this time, Natalie moved straight into changing his diaper. His little bum was at the bottom of the crib so the 3-inch plastic guard was protecting Natalie from any possible blow out. What happened next became legendary. Skittles had a small smear of poop in his otherwise very wet diaper. Natalie swiftly and skillfully switched out the messy diaper for a clean one and wiped his bottom. She lifted his bum for a final wipe and as she set his bottom back on the bed to close the diaper, he raised his bum up with his legs and let out the loudest, juiciest fart I have ever heard.  (Just so you know, that word is outlawed at my house.)

I watched in horror as a dark, tarry missile launched from his bum, clearing the pillow and plastic. Natalie saw it coming and took a step back so she was more than a foot away from the crib. The distance didn’t deter Skittles’s poop rocket. It hit her clean scrubs right next to the tied bow. Poop was all over the floor, crib, his name tag. Skittles grunted his evil laugh and fell promptly asleep. 

It took 2 nurses and a medical assistant to clean up the mess. Natalie had to borrow surgery scrubs for the rest of the day and Skittles was labelled a “Stimulated pooper” for the duration of his time in the NICU.  The following day he hit his dad with poop just after telling his dad the poop rocket story and he managed to hit me once too. Once we were home from the hospital, his pediatrician was able to explain how his rectum muscles were too tight, causing constipation and his ability to fire off poop rockets during diaper changes

Sep 11, 2018

Millions of Peaches...

I'm sorry I haven't posted, but we have been inundated with peaches! So a few days ago, my sister texted me and asked me if I wanted some peaches. Of course I jumped on that right away, not quite understanding the definition of "some."

We couldn't get down there until Saturday after the football game (which we won, by the way). We arrived around 5:00 and as soon as we walked into the yard, I realized that my idea of "some" and her idea of "some" were totally different. We didn't bring nearly enough boxes.

We have to what???
 There were hundreds that had fallen to the ground and many more in her two trees. The kids and I immediately set to work gathering and picking. It took us over an hour, before every peach we could reach was loaded into the van. Another 40 minutes and we were home, unloading them onto the porch.

We immediately began working on them and 84 quarts later, I was exhausted and dropped into bed. Then it was Sunday and I try very hard not to can on Sunday although I peeled about 40 peaches for our family dinner and then more later for my sweetie.

About 160 quarts total - these are just from Saturday night.

This morning I got up to face even more peaches with the idea that we would have to throw some of them away because they were too ripe to use. It took me and Drama Queen most of the day and then Bossy too when she got off work, but we finished up; me just barely and right after midnight.

So many beautiful bottles...little bright pieces of sunshine for the dark summer months.

Sep 8, 2018

Lagoon Day

As promised, my sweetie is home from his business trip and just in time to go with us on our Lagoon trip for his company picnic. The kids were so excited for this opportunity! At the last minute, we ended up with 2 extra tickets so Bossy and Gamer along with Skittles joined us for the fun.

I was totally happy to be the babysitter of this little group. I was hoping to be able to get Twizlet on some rides, but she had more fun throwing a little fit each time we put her on. My sweetie took her on her first ride, the Little Tidal Wave. She was pretty upset by the time they got off, so we decided to put her on the little boats.

 She screamed and cried the entire time!

We did eventually find a few things she liked: the carousel with Grandma right beside her, the train with the zoo animals, and she even tolerated the baby roller coaster. Once. Mostly she just hung out with Grandma and Skittles while their parents were busy remembering what it's like to be kids.

We stayed until they locked the gates and sent everyone home around 11:00 pm. I think the kids could have done a couple more hours... did you know that you can play tag from a bumper car?

Sep 6, 2018

Spiral Averted and All is Well

I want to apologize for being so negative. It's amazing what a project and some Haagen-Dazs will do! I've had a project I've wanted to get to all summer and it was sort of forced on me tonight. Crafty needs to take a camera to school so she is going to borrow one from my sweetie. The problem was that it had been put away without a lens cap and we couldn't find one anywhere.

Crafty finally went to bed and I promised to keep looking. I scoured my sweetie's desk and on the floor, under the bookcases. Finally I thought to look in a very old camera bag that was still sitting on a completely overstuffed shelf in a closet that was long overdue a cleaning.

But not just any cleaning...

Ready for Teach's class.

A few days ago I was talking with Teach about her school and she mentioned that these Title 1 kids always run out of paper before the year ends. That motivated me to start tearing used sheets from these notebooks I've had stacked in the closet since the last century. The kids are just NOT going to use them! I was so happy to know that someone could. I just had to do all the legwork of discarding the written pages.

Headed for the dumpster.
I've been at it for 3 hours and yes, I found a lens cap for Crafty about 2 1/2 hours ago. Besides the more usable closet, I have found some true gems in journals that had gotten lost, but more importantly, some of the Dog Walker's very first artwork for the stories he has written that will one day make him famous.

Not finished yet, but looking much better!
I still have half a dozen hours of work to finish going through all the notebooks, but it feels so good to unload. Kind of like getting a great haircut... or finding the lens cap....