Well, we had yet another birthday recently. Due to yet another hospital stay for me, we paid to have his party somewhere to make John's life a little easier. He decided on a place here in town called Going Bonkers. It's an indoor playground with an arcade. He invited three friends, some cousins, a brother and a sister. I think that they all had a great time. J is really into super heroes right now, namely Thor and Captain America (notice the birthday shirt request), he was given a Captain America shield, Thor's hammer, Captain and Thor action figures (DO NOT call them dolls...he gets mad), a football jersey, a Spiderman shirt and car, and Grandma and Grandpa Love sent him some "cash" to pick out another toy, and Grandma Kathi got him some Angry Birds and a game to match. He was really excited for everything. When his actual birthday rolled around we had to cheer him up a bit because apparently it was "the boring-est birthday ever". Oh, how quickly the 6 year old forgets the big party six days earlier.
J is the sweetest kid. After his party, he promptly gave each of his brothers and sister one of the gifts he got...with the condition that he can play with it when he wants. He really is so kind to his siblings and tolerant of his little brother Ike that loves nothing more than to push his buttons, and of his older sister who constantly bosses him around. J is also a very smart child. He does great in school...when he can keep his bottom in the chair. He is reading and is so proud that he can count "so high". I love this little boy with all my heart and I am so grateful that his wonderful spirit was sent to our family. I pray everyday that John and I can be the parents that he needs. That he can learn to love the Savior and the people around him. That he can develop a desire to serve not only his fellow man but the Lord as well. To be kind and respectful, to learn and be humble. I am so grateful for all of my children and I know that J is a great example to all of his siblings. Love you Bud!!
Here we are (already?!) the day before Thanksgiving. I need to take this opportunity to post how grateful I am. I have a wonderful family, a home, food to eat, the Gospel, and the list could go on and on. These past few months have been so crazy for our little family. It's been one thing after another. Amidst everything else, I went in last Thursday to have yet another surgery done. I had a hernia (due to pregnancies) that needed to be repaired.
Considering that it's Thanksgiving, I need to tell all how grateful I am for my husband. He has been so wonderful through all of this. With three surgeries in three months, I have been out of commission for a lot of the time since I had Baby S. We have had a lot of help with the kids from my wonderful in-laws and John has been so great.
We have been married for over 9 years now and we have been through a lot. I am so grateful to have such a great man in my life. It's not very often that I am rendered useless in my own home but I have been several times lately and it has just made me realize, even more, what an amazing man I married. He is so fun and patient with the kids, done so much around the house, and has just been there for love and support. This last week, especially, he has been incredible. I am beginning to wonder what the surgeon told him after my surgery. ;-)
I really hate how Thanksgiving always gets skipped in anticipation for Christmas. I love this holiday and I know that it's so important to step back and realize how blessed we all are. I have so much to be grateful for and I am going to try harder to remember that throughout the year.
When I found out that our first baby was a girl, I was thrilled. Girls are very sparse in the Balsmeier family and I was so ecstatic to get one...my first too. Then with each subsequent pregnancy I prayed for another girl. Big Sis did too. She wanted a sister probably more than I wanted another girl. With the exception of J, she cried each time she found it would not be a sister she would be getting. Until pregnancy #5. After the ultrasound (during which I barely contained the tears), we went and got a big pink balloon and took it to her at school. The look on her face was hilarious...she didn't really get what was going on. After she figured it all out she was so excited!
Now that our Little Sis is here, A is in love with her. In fact, all the kids are. They all gather round and sing to her and talk to her, they all still get so thrilled whenever she smiles at them or 'talks' to them. All the older kids even argue over who gets to pick out her clothes for the day. What a lucky little girl she is!!
A while back A picked out these matching tutus and flowers. And I finally got around to taking them out to snap a few pictures of the Princesses. Aren't they beautiful!
The beginning of October we went to visit Grandma and Grandpa in UT. I packed up the kids and drove out there (stopping in Denver half-way) and John joined us a week later. We spent time with G-ma and G-pa, saw new baby Baen and cousins, and we went up to ID to visit Aunt Jess and Uncle Travis and their adorable new baby. After John joined us, we were able to visit some of his extended family that lives that way. I always love going to visit my folks. They are amazing people and we always have such a great time.
We had a nice drive home, then it was time for Halloween. All that excitement started the Friday before the holiday at the church trunk or treat. A was a pirate, J a ninja, Ike a knight, E-man the elephant and S was the cutest lady bug ever. Even I dressed up...as a Goth person. I remember my parents would dress up a lot of the time while I was growing up and I thought that was so cool. I try to get into the fun and dress up and this year I just used some of the stuff I had and went as a Goth person. Black clothes, black hair, white-ish skin, nose ring, black lipstick...no one at church recognized me at first. Everyone had to do a double take to figure out who I was. Kids at church when they looked at me would get really wide eyes and back away.
John was actually able to join us but the party-pooper he is, he didn't dress up. He did decorate the trunk and got first place for the trunk decorating contest. Way to go Daddy-O!!
The Trunk or Treat was on Friday, then we had a Halloween party here at the house for the kids and their cousins. I decorated the dining room and we had some "spooky" foods for dinner and then we watched a movie.
Then on Monday, the kids had their costume parade and parties at school. Then we went trick or treating with our cousins. I think the kids had a fun Halloween and, boy, did we get a lot of candy!!
I never expected I would get appendicitis...but I did. A few weeks ago, I did. I went to the ER one morning with incredible pain in my side and left the hospital the next evening without an appendix. Fun times. Also in September, our little E-Man turned 2!! He is so adorable! He loves candy and throws massive tantrums. Like throw yourself on the floor and kick and scream kind of tantrums. E-man loves everything soft, including the cat...poor feline. This little guy has had a really rough time since baby girl came along but he adores her. I love that he is still baby chubby and has whispy baby hair that curls when it's wet. I love how he has to carry around every single toy car that we own...everywhere that he goes. I love him so much and I can not believe that he is already 2!
All of the in-laws came over for dinner and cake and ice cream. E-Town loved the cake and ice cream and all of his great gifts...aircraft carrier, lantern, car holder, stickers for his wall, Lightening McQueen, and a little laptop. Thanks everyone!! Happy (late) Birthday E-Man!!
While I was in the hospital with Baby S, John took our eldest and seven of her little friends to celebrate her birthday! Due to the timing of everything this year, we decided to go ahead and dish out the cash for her to have a birthday party somewhere. She picked the Discovery Center here in town (it's a children's museum of sorts where they get to play and try all the exhibits and displays). Apparently, it was a great success. All her friends came, Daddy survived, the cake and pizza were good and she got everything her little heart desired. I am so sad I couldn't be there but I am grateful she had some time with her Dad. Oh, and a big thank you to the other adults that helped John out.
I did come home from the hospital later that day (Sat the 20th) and on Sunday we had family over for cake and ice cream. Aunt JJ made her a cake...she wanted a puppy cake.
Thanks J!! She was spoiled some more! There was a new bike, a guitar, Littlest Pet Shop Toys, a book or two...spoiled. She was very upset when Ike blew out her candles for her and we were all a little worried when Daddy decided to trip down the stairs and sprain his ankle. Anyway, despite one of the CRAZIEST weeks of our lives, I think she had a successful birthday.
A note to my daughter:
Abigail, you are one amazing girl. I remembering being so excited when I found out you were going to be a girl. My pregnancy and delivery with you were so smooth and you were such a good little baby. You were a little colicky for a little bit there but nothing some gas drops didn't relieve. You didn't stay a baby very long at all though. That is true for all babies, but it's magnified when you were walking at eight months and talking not long after that. You always wanted to be looking around and standing up and being involved. You are still that way. I am so proud of you. You do so well in school and I hope that you can continue to apply yourself there and enjoy the opportunity you have to expand your mind. You are a wonderful big sister and I am so grateful for all of your help. I want you to remember that you are just a kid though. Growing up seems like so much fun, and parts of it are, but you will be a grown up for the rest of your life...enjoy being a kid while you can. You are a very strong, opinionated person. Those traits will serve you well if you increase your knowledge and remember to be kind and Christ-like in your dealings with those around you. There is so much in store for you and I love watching you grow and learn and change. You are a daughter of God and therefore have divine potential. God made you the way you are and I pray that your father and I can do our best to teach you and guide you in the way Heavenly Father would like. We are not perfect but we love you and we are doing what is best for you. Remember that we are always here for you.
The 16th of August was the older two kids' first day of school. A started 2nd grade and J started kindergarten. A was not really excited at all which kind of surprises me. She has lots of friends and really excels academically. Despite my explanations to the contrary (and her own experience here at home), she is under the impression that we do some really awesome stuff here at home during the day and she misses out by going to school. I like to think that maybe she just misses me...who knows. J, on the other hand, was so excited to start. He was thrilled about everything related to starting school, and excited the morning of too. Here are my big school kids...
The first day went great. I am so glad it was not a repeat of last year. A actually had a good day...she has a really fun teacher and they have a bunny in the classroom that she just loves. J's teacher is such a sweet lady and I think she will be perfect for him. He was pretty overwhelmed the first couple of days and apparently knows the answers to all the questions so he has a hard time not blurting everything out. He is doing really well and adjusting to life at school. I almost didn't cry that first day...almost. They are just getting so big and I do love having them all home with me. I miss them while they are gone but I suppose it's something I better get used to.
PS Ike started preschool the day after I had the baby so all of his pictures are on John's phone still. He LOVES school and even more exciting...he gets to ride the BUS!! "That was so AWESOME!!!" were his exact words.
I LOVE that they take decent pictures at the hospital these days!!
After no sleep last Tuesday night, we were up bright and early to deposit older children and made it to the hospital only 8 minutes late. We filled out the paper work, I got changed, and after poking (and bruising) me a number of times, the IV was in. My surgery was scheduled for 8:15am (we were there at 6:23) but it got pushed back for another c-section. We went back to the OR at about 8:40, they got the spinal in very quickly, did the other things to get me ready, and called John back.
SARAH KENDALL BALSMEIER
was born at 9:01am. She weighed 8lbs12oz and was 20in long.
The docs finished up with me and wheeled me to the recovery room where I finally got to hold her. Usually, you're in the recovery room for an hour but all the rooms were full. Apparently, everyone had a baby last week. After three or four hours in the recovery room, we finally got a real room (#425) that I would have for the next three days.
Things went really smoothly. My time in the hospital is always kind of bittersweet in a way. It's so nice to have nurses to care for me and someone else to cook and clean. It's a necessary time to let my body heal some but I miss my kids and my dear husband. My stay this time was very relaxing and much needed. I had some wonderful nurses and some not (ie Nurse Slacker and Nurse Nazi), but overall it was a nice time to relax, sleep and heal but I am always excited when it's time to come home.
I was actually looking forward for John to have some time with the kids....it never happens. He had quite an experience with them...
He was with me most of the day Wednesday. He left about 5 or so to go get all the kids from different places and brought them up to see me. A big thanks to my friend Katie and my SIL, Jennifer!!! They stayed for a bit to see us and take a few pictures then Daddy took them all home. On Thursday, we had an electrician to the house. The wiring in our home is a disaster and we kept having issues with it. John figured getting it done before I came home with a newborn was a good plan. Thursday was also Ike's first day of preschool!! He has been so excited. So the older three were at school and E went to Aunt J's house again while John and the electrician went to work on the house.
Thursday night there was a big storm. We lost power at the hospital for a couple hours and the house's power never came back on. John called me Friday morning with that news. He got the kids to school (all three at two different schools...Ike is supposed to ride the bus, but the school district screwed something up and it doesn't start til Wednesday), and came to the hospital when Ike got out of preschool at lunch time. Still no power at the house. E has been out of sorts for a few weeks now, but man...that kid was full out having issues. John got him to fall asleep in the chair in the hospital room. Ike was fine watching cartoons but I noticed he was talking funny. I check out his throat and see that his tonsils are so swollen they are almost touching in the back of his throat. John immediately takes Ike to the docs for them to do a swab and E stayed and slept at the end of my bed. John got Ike checked out then had to race to get ice in the fridge and freezers (still no power at the house) and then go get A and J. He came back to get E REALLY quickly and made the kids stay on the stroller in the hall so as not to spread more germs than necessary. Anyway, kids are out of sorts and ornery, no power at the house, a sick kid...John took the kids to dinner (which apparently was a terrible dining experience...not because of the kids) and got a hotel for the night.
On Saturday, we had A's birthday party. And by "we", I mean John. John got everything ready and made it to the party which was a big success. It's expensive, but paying to have the party somewhere was a wonderful convenience this time around. Then he came and got me and the baby from the hospital. The power did come back on sometime Friday night or we would have been going to the hotel. Luckily, we were able to come home. We hung out Saturday evening in peace...as much peace and four upset children can allow.
Sunday, the electrician was back to finish what they started on Thursday. So the power was on and off, so they could work, but it was a fairly calm day. That night we had family over for cake and ice cream for the newly-seven-year-old. The electrician hadn't finished yet, and our house is kind of small for that many people but I am so glad they were here. A was thrilled to see her cousins. I went downstairs to get the ice cream and noticed the wires and such, and the freezer covered in tools and what not, so I enlisted John to go get the ice cream...bad idea. He tripped on some of the wire and fell down the stairs!! Poor man. I felt so terrible and there wasn't much I could do to help him. His brother helped him up the stairs and into the recliner, and he iced it. He insisted he didn't need to go to the ER or anything.
We had cake and ice cream. And Ike and a few cousins helped her blow out the candles...we did candles again. Then A opened gifts. Dad and I got her a bike and Grandma Kathi and everyone got her a Littlest Pet Shop toy, a sticker book and a guitar!! The girl was thrilled.
The swelling went down in John's ankle and it seemed to be feeling better. We wrapped it and hoped it wasn't broken. It was great to have everyone over for our daughter and we were ready for kids to be in bed.
Wow. That was a CRAZY week!!! Actually, crazy doesn't begin to describe it. I am so grateful to have such a wonderful husband. He didn't complain once (other than mentioning that things were CRAZY!) and he handled it all so well. What a trooper! I know the kids were having such a hard time starting school, losing Mom for a few days, getting a new sibling, not being at home and everything else that happened last week, but they are such great kids. J is so sweet, A is a huge helper, Ike was fairly good considering his sickly state and E is not even 2 so we don't expect much. I love my children and I am so blessed to have them in my life.
Sarah and I are doing well. She eats great and sleeps wonderfully too. My body is healing as expected. We are all so excited to have her here with us. All the kids just adore her. A and J argue over who gets to pick her outfit! We are all just ready for life to settle down a bit.
One week from today we will welcome our fifth (and last) child into the world. It's very surreal. I had my first child seven years ago this month....a beautiful baby girl. It only seems fitting that we end in August with another baby girl. We are all so very excited. It seems I have been constantly pregnant for the last seven years and I am pretty excited not to be as such again.
Being pregnant is not terrible, I just don't enjoy it all that much like I know a lot of ladies do. I don't like being tired or sick all the time, the swelling, sleepless nights, the heartburn, headaches, or backaches. I don't like that I can't get down and rough house with the very active children I already have. I don't like that I don't have the energy or my body is aching so badly that the thought of taking them to the park or the zoo or the pool is a daunting one. I don't like that my house is in constant disarray because of the same reasons. Although, knowing the date and time of delivery is convenient, I do not enjoy going through major surgery every time. The recovery is dreadful. I do LOVE, however, the feel of the little human that we created moving inside my abdomen. I do love knowing that I have been given the opportunity to bring 5 of our Father in Heaven's spirits into this world. I love bringing a new baby home from the hospital and adjusting my life to accommodate another little miracle. I do love the excitement that's involved in the whole process. I do LOVE my children with every ounce of my being and I am so incredibly blessed to have them.
I know that this chapter of our lives is coming to an end and I am really trying to relish it and remember. Remember the feel of her kicks and even all the things I don't enjoy so much. I know I will miss them someday. I look at my eldest and remember what I can of when we brought her home, when she first smiles and laughed. She is only seven (almost) and still she has grown so much. It seems like she came into our lives only yesterday but at the same time, I can hardly remember life with out her. I remember my parents telling me that time goes faster the older you get...it's so true. My kids are growing so fast and I won't be having any more to rewind the process, so to speak. I am truly trying to relish the precious time I have with this pregnancy and with each of my kids.
I have a friend who said once, "I am ready to stop having kids and start raising the ones I have." I know what she meant now. While bringing those precious spirits here is so exciting and important, we both feel like our family is complete and we have done that work. I am excited to bring this princess home and enjoy how she fits into the dynamics of our family. I am excited that it's a girl I will be bringing home this time. I am excited for the soft sweet baby skin and experience all the "firsts" all over again. I am excited to have my body back, even if just to a slight degree at first. I am excited for all the things that growing up means. Trying to raise responsible, kind, faithful, honest people is a daunting and frightening task, but I am excited for it.
I know it's crazy. More than one post in a month....crazy stuff. I figured I better get 'caught up' before I have this baby. Also, my mom wants to see pictures!
Well, we did get another ultrasound. I was pretty excited because I was sure I wouldn't get another. The doc wanted to see how big she is getting though. They estimated her at about 7 1/2 lbs and that was at 36 weeks. HA! Why do I have such huge babies? I kind of like that they come out with some chubs though. I got a new pink swing and a new pink carseat...I have a problem, I know. And the nursery is all done and ready for the princess to make her debut.
The baby bedding was not difficult to do and I think it turned out well. Thanks Mom for the fabric! I have also made the baby several blankets, onesies, leggings and hairbows/flowers. I have also finished the birthday shirts for A and E as I didn't think that they would get done so soon after the baby. All I have left on my to do list is some cleaning. Only 2 weeks and 2 days!!!
The reason the kids got their medals and treat on the second to last game was because of my son...J was having surgery the day before the last game was scheduled. The only other exciting thing that happened around here this summer was J's tonsillectomy. That's right, the boy is now missing body parts. The poor kid has snored since he was 18 months or so and has always had HUGE tonsils. After noticing that he rouses at night and doesn't seem to get a deep sleep very often, we opted to have them removed to see if that helps his sleeping at night.
Here he is all ready to go in the morning with Ruff Ruff (the mangy stuffed dog).
He is all decked out and watching cartoons before they take him back and start.
This is him right afterwards in the recovery room. He was so sad and miserable. He was put to sleep for the procedure and was given much drugs through the IV. When he started to wake, he was very uncomfortable and fussy for a bit and then fell asleep. We sat in the recovery room for another hour or so while he slept, drank some fluids and had his first dose of the painkillers that we would have at home. He got to ride out front to the car in a wheel chair and we were of to the store to get his prescription. He was complaining that his tummy was feeling bad but we made it to the pharmacy and the drive thru for a milkshake and then home without incident. He took a nap and spent most of the rest of the day trying to screw around and not sit still and rest. That definitely caught up with him later that night. Besides having to wake him a number of times for his meds, he woke MANY times very upset and needed to drink a bit and calm down before sleep came again. He also awoke to vomit much blood. Yuck. The next couple days he sat around and did nothing like a good little patient and the nights continued to be miserable for him. We actually slept downstairs so not to wake the rest of the fam. After about seven days or so he stopped waking at night. And now almost two weeks later, he is his normal rambunctious self.
This summer has been extremely uneventful. We usually have swim lessons and a fun Fourth, then we head to UT to visit Grandma and Grandpa. In UT we do all kinds of fun stuff and eventually head down to Lake Powell to camp and boat for a week. This summer...not so much. This baby just doesn't have great timing.
Therefore, this summer we haven't done anything really. We have made it to the zoo a couple times, the pool a bunch of times, the cupcake shop, Grandma Kathi's, hung out with cousins and friends, and that is about it really. Mommy has done a lot of sewing and crafting, the kids played in the backyard, Daddy's store opened, and A and J actually got to stay at Grandma Kathi's for a few days on their own.
There have been a few new things...the two older kiddos did T-ball this summer. From the very first practice, the coaches were very impressed with A's athletic ability. J was not diggin' it at first but by the end, he was really enjoying "hitting the ball hard"...which he did very well. A enjoyed the sport the whole time and really loved that she learned to throw the ball well, play first base a bunch and run faster than all the other kids. It really was a fun time watching all these 4-6 year old kids trying to hit the ball and run in the right direction, or miss the "grounder" and all run after it like a herd of cattle, or fight over the ball so they can throw it to first.
They were super psyched to get medals and popsicles at their last game. Well, it turned out to be at the second to last game, but that's for the next post....
At the beginning of the summer, A, J and I all did swim lessons. A and J did them last year and they both LOVE the water. I was a little worried about the third child. He seemed a little nervous the first day but, after that, he did great. It turns out, he loves the water too.
After church today, my wonderful sister in law was kind enough to document my pregnancy for me. We took my fancy camera and just messed around in her yard. I noticed that most of the simple editing I have done in the last two hours was not saved. Grrrr. And I have decided that I like the pictures without my round face in them!! Here are some of my faves...