Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Pick Me Up For All Moms!

I watched this on a friends blog a few minutes ago and am still wiping away the tears. I haven't had time to blog much, well at all, because I AM a mom of four busy boys. Hopefully this week I will find time to share our adventures. But, I had to take a minute to post this incredibly uplifting video with words by Elder Holland. I hope it will touch you and give you a boost to your summer mothering! (Click here)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Still in Rewind - Easter and a Dog for a Week

Disclaimer: This post is pretty much just for the family history record books, so feel free to skim = ).

All while waiting for baby Graham to make his arrival, we kept busy with the Easter holiday and with a well-timed trip from Aunt Aubrey. The funny part was she even came later versus earlier to ensure she was here to meet the baby. She made it by one day (she had to go home the day after he was born)! But, though the pre-birth may not be as exciting as post-birth, we were so glad to have her to distract us while we waited 5 days past the due date for little Graham.

One of the most exciting parts of Aunt Aubrey's visit was that she brought the smaller of her two dogs for a road trip companion. The boys are DYING for a dog. I told them we couldn't have one until we have a backyard (i.e. the next house, which should be bigger and we should be done with crawling babies). So, they were ecstatic to have a dog for a week. I felt bad for Aubrey - her dog Sam was definitely the star of every day. To this day every dog is "Sammy" to Luke and Nathan is convinced that Sam is the perfect dog. These three boys definitely wore Sam out with all their loving!
These PJs Nana had gotten Luke for his birthday and now they are "sammy" pjs because the doggie on them looks just like Sam...well, not entirely, but in Lukie's world it does.

I love the happy look Carter has in this picture, though it makes him look so old. It gives me a glipse of him as a goofy teenager.
Then came Easter. Saturday morning the boys got to go on an easter basket hunt with clues. After 15 minutes of clue following (I purposely put one clue's answer downstairs and then the next answer upstairs to take more time and wear them out. It works great, though Nathan caught on this time to my ways!), they found their baskets in the van.

The boy's loot was minimal, but exciting for them - a new transformer and some candy. Yum!

Then, after listening to the first session of Conference, we headed on over to the city easter egg hunt at a local park. I made the boys sit on the strangely large Easter Bunny's lap (only so many more years that I can do this for!), including Luke, who was understandably terrified. I mean, when was the last time you saw a bunny this large with a pasted on smile?
Then on to the bean bag tosses and egg roll races. I laughed at the form difference between Nathan and Carter in these pictures. Guess we will see if early inclinations for sports ability pans out...
Nathan going for the "shove it" granny shot approach...
Carter with beautiful form in his swing, even with follow through. Who knew there was a technique to this game?!
Finally the egg hunt! The boys were lucky and actually had two egg hunts, the city one (which these pictures are from) and then a family one that we did amongst friends. Needless to say, they had plenty of candy until the next candy holiday! Though Carter is funny - once he has candy, he just sits down and eats it. All of it. In one setting. Then he spends the next week hounding Nathan to share the candy that Nathan carefully is only one piece a day of.
Here they are chomping at the bit, waiting for the starting whistle...
Then when it finally blew, Carter got so anxious that he had about 10 eggs in his bucket and then he tripped and fell and dumped everything back onto the ground. Poor guy!
Oh, and we braved easter egg decoration, which always goes so quickly. I think I had three dozen eggs and they knocked them out in like 15-20 minutes. And we definitely had to do it when Luke was asleep, that would have been a colorful disaster! But, the coolest thing we found was this roll on paint egg dye - no dipping, you just roll on the dye with little mini rollers. We got such bright awesome colors and it was much less of a pain we are doing that again next year!
Thanks Aunt Aubrey for helping us stay busy and celebrating the holiday with us!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Back from the land of the Uncommitted

I have been out of the blogging world for almost two months now. Of course, I have checked out of most things for the last two months. It's been fabulous. If I had my way, I would just spend all day snuggling with Graham. Since that's not realistic with four children, at minimum we have just lived life uncommitted - I don't commit to being places or doing most things (minus school and church) and we just take life as it comes. I haven't committed to having more than one room of my house clean at any given time (so if I won't let you go upstairs, you know why!). But, we are slowly getting into a new life rhythm and though we are still minimal on commitments, I am ready to start documenting our family's life again. So, of course that involves a rewind and review, as April was a very eventful month for us!

Three days after Graham was born my husband renewed his super dad/husband certification, taking the boys of for a great weekend of planned fun, leaving me and Graham to recover, sleep, and relax. We did this with Luke and it was such a win-win, the boys getting to do fun things and have daddy time while I get a break from doing anything but taking care of and bonding with the new baby.

Friday morning Matt and Nathan, Carter, and Luke headed off for some costal camping, first stoping in Banden, a costal town three hours west of here. They were lucky enough to score a yert for the night. Never heard of a yert? Neither had we, but they are these great little huts available to rent for the night on the coast. You get all the fun of camping (campfire, outdoors) with the comforts of home (bunkbeds, walls and a roof to protect from cold and rain, and electricity). It's a great way to go with young kids! The boys called them "ewok huts".

Here's what the outside of the yert looks like:

And an inside view with the boys looking comfy:
The boys being boys - getting their energy out with a boy wrestle!

In Banden, they went to a great little animal park that included tigers, camels, bears, goats, sheep, llamas, ostriches, even a peacock or two. Nathan loved looking at and touching them all. Carter and Luke liked looking, but really wished the animals would stick to looking and stay far away from them!

Peacocks happen to be one of Nathan's current favorite animals, so he was pretty excited to stand next to this real one!

Also, they hit the beach. Of course, this was like most Oregon beaches - cold, windy, and rocky. But, they are also gorgeous and fun places to explore.

Though it's a pain to clean up, I love how little boys will dive right into sand, mud, or other fun messy materials. Here they are laying and rolling around in it, making sure they could bring home some of this fun trips in every crevice and pocket.

After spending the night in Banden, they headed up to Florence, about an hour north, to check out the dunes. Now you might wonder what you do at the dunes when you don't have any of the fun toys to do with worries, you can rent them! Or, in the boy's case, pay to ride on a giant dune buggy. The boys to this day still sing a song they made up on their dune buggy ride, it was so much fun. They even took them over a few hills, which was super fun on this giant dune buggy. While they waited to take their buggy ride, they played a litlte golf...minature of course.

I love the look on Nathan's face - can you say "cocky"?

A view from inside the dune buggy:

The last day of the trip ended up in Eugene. Dad of course had researched fun parks they could play at and get energy out at until the grand finale - watching "How to Train a Dragon" at the theater. The boys don't get to see movies in the theater often (come on - 3 kids ages 6 and under? Not the best use of money - we do better at home!), so this was a treat and it was especially great to have such a good "boy" movie out after the baby was born. They loved it!

Here's a picture holding up their movie tickets, anxiously awaiting:

I can't thank Matt enough for all his hard work in planning and executing this amazing boys weekend. I hope the boys will remember in some small way how much their dad loves being with them, wants to be around them, and wants to make memories for them. It's never easy, but always worth it.

And, I will end with a picture of another little guy who is worth every sleepless moment and hour tied down nursing - precious Graham:

More to come, hopefully sooner, versus later!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Baby Graham is here!

We are so excited to announce the arrival of our newest bundle of joy, Graham Hinckley Michaelis. The short of it is he was born on April 6 (5 days overdue) at 2:11 a.m. (*we have yet to EVER have had a child during the daylight hours!). He tied Nathan for our smallest baby yet at 8 lbs. 10 oz and 20 3/4" long. He is healthy and beautiful and both mom and baby are doing great.

You now have the choice to just scoll down to the photos of Graham or read on for details of the birth story. Kinda like one of those chose your own ending books. So exciting!
Monday morning at 3ish a.m. Matt and I headed into the hospital with contractions 6 minutes apart. I was crushed when they checked me and I was still only at a 1! They offered to let us walk around for an hour and then recheck before sending us packing. We did so, but it was obviously by the end of the hour the contractions weren't increasing so, as we thought, we were sent home around 6 (it amazed us how long it took them to send us home!).
Monday was a rough day, as the contractions were still strong but only 10 minutes apart...all...stinkin'! The same thing actually happened with Luke, so it shouldn't have surprised me. But, finally an hour after we went to bed, I decided it was real enough to wake my sleep deprived husband and have him take me to the hospital. Again.

This time I checked in dilated to a 7 and they told me I was definitely staying. Two and a half hours after arrival, out came baby Graham! Matt and I actually laughed looking back on the end of my delivery in that they gave me the go ahead to push, and then left the room! I am sure they were getting things ready, but Matt was motified to see a head and only the floor beneath it to catch it's fall! Luckily, everyone finally got their act together and things turned out fine.

We were so blessed to have my sister here to help with the kids (more details on her visit to come) and have had so many friends pitch in as well to help with the transition. Thank you! Also, my superhero husband took the kids away on a trip as I recovered, which was just amazing and I will gush about that in another post. But, for now, no more delaying - on to the pictures!!

Graham minutes after arrival! Yes, Nathan and Luke were also born with that dark sadly falls out and then after the awkward half-bald stage they turn out blondies.

The proud (though incredibly sleep deprived) dad of four boys!

A family of 6 - wow, it's crazy to think we have FOUR kids.

Each boy wanted to take their turn holding Graham and everyone seemed excited about his arrival. Carter is singing head, shoulders, knees, and toes, making sure we didn't get gyped any important parts!

Some close up views...

The boys can't keep their hands off him, in a loving way, and I love how this picture captures that as Carter couldn't resist reaching in and touching him while I was taking pictures.

Of all the kids, Carter is probably the most captivated with his new baby. He can't wait to touch him, hold him, and see him every morning. Carter, I am finding, has a soft spot for babies and animals, which is a very sweet side to my little firecracker kiddo.

Finally, to answer the question I know you all have: who does he look like? Well, to me he just looks like "his brothers", but I will let you determine yourself. In order, here are two pictures of each boy, ending with Graham. What do you think?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Spring oh how we love thee!

Of course I started this post on a gorgeous spring Saturday and now as I write we have had rain all day mixed with occasional snow a sunny spring isn't fully upon us. But rain is part of spring and we have been so happy for the tastes of sunshine we have had the last few weeks.
We were very excited to have a family Saturday this past weekend. Matt has been busy with his stake sports obligations every Saturday for the last 2 1/2 months, and it's finally done so we happily headed out without time constraint or obligation on Saturday as a family to a gorgeous wooded park in Ashland called Lithia Park. Any of you who have visited us have been there because it's just such a beautiful way to spend a day.

We had a picnic and then whipped out a classic and favorite ball game of ours - track ball. Our set is literally from decades ago, but you can actually now get this outdoor game at Target as it has been re-released. It's definitely worth the $10. We have a lot of fun with it and Matt loves having anyone to play catch with.

Boys ready for some picnic goodness! (And Luke just trying to find the cookies...)
Carter, like a lot of kids, can be Jekyl and Hyde when it comes to picture taking. Here is what I call his "anti-paparazzi" face:

Then, minutes later, the goofy smile we love him for!

The track ball action begins!

After our picnic and sports, we headed off down the trail into the woods to enjoy the nature. The boys had a fun time trying out the simple pleasures such as stick races and Nathan got a kick out of this natural seat.

In the midst of the woods is a pretty (though probably manmade) duck pond, with the occasional otter spotting. No otters were seen this trip, but we loved this duck that looked like someone painted it.

The boys looking handsome in front of the beautiful spring blossoms!

The boys were determined to wade in the water. So, we let them try and then laughed at their squeals that somehow this snow run-off wasn't very warm!

Nathan's GQ pose infront of the duck pond

It was a perfect family day. Beyond that I guess you could say I am "nesting", though in my mind it's totally practical to be cleaning and organizing - I don't want someone coming over to my house in the middle of the night if I make a mid-night run to the hospital and be met with a dirty house! Plus, the more that is clean now, the more I know I will be able to relax and enjoy our baby.
These pictures are what happens when mom is in a cleaning mode and is in charge of the FHE lesson. We had a lesson on WORK! We read a bunch of scriptures about the eternal nature of work and cleanliness and then our activity was...(drumroll please) bathroom cleaning. You had better hope there was a good treat after that one! Actually, the boys love cleaning and "wiping", and will clean a whole bathroom for me (decently well) for only a nickel each. I love cheap labor.