Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Baby Update

I had a Dr.'s appointment on Monday and I'm dilated to 1 cm and I'm 60% effaced! Woohoo! Baby's dropped and head down, all ready to go! It still could be a while, but I'm guessing she'll be born Monday the 5th. Any other guesses? For some perspective, I was dilated to 2 cm and 70% effaced the day before Raelin was born and I was at that same point two days before Ryker was born.
Starting to look chubby! Boy, do I miss my swimming class! Or maybe it's just the beanie?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Zoo

My brother Jesse's gift to the kids (and actually to all of us and Gina and Toby) was a trip to the Hogle Zoo. We went the night after Christmas to their Zoolights thingy. They open the park at night so that you can enjoy all the Christmas lights and decorations. It was really cool! Daytime trips to the zoo take place when lots of the animals are sleeping and inactive. But at night, you get to see a whole different set of animal activity. All the big cats are awake and prowling, the reptiles and owls are active, and it's feeding time for lots of them. Amazingly, we stayed warm enough and got to see all sorts of things we don't usually see at the zoo. Here's a lynx. They're usually sleeping or hanging out at the back of the enclosure, but this night they were right at the fence.
The red panda was awake and active. Usually they're just little balls of red fur. I didn't know how pretty they were!
I think this snow leopard was our favorite. She was pacing right in front of the window waiting for her meal and she was gorgeous! Her tail was long and bushy and her coat was amazing. I really wanted to pet her. She's usually sleeping and you can barely see her.
The cougars were also awake and pacing. They paced a longer trail than the snow leopard and they were harder to get a good picture of, but they were fun to watch.
We went and played on the park even though it was covered in snow. Toby went down this slide that was pretty long and completely covered in ice and he literally flew out of it. So we went Ryker down. He loved it and went several more times. Even with Brice at the bottom trying to catch him, he still launched like a cannon out of it and flew about 5 feet before landing in the snow.
Tia (Gina) bounced them all over the place on this see-saw thing. Ryker kept slipping off because it was icy, but they thought it was hilarious!

And just look at what my new camera can do! My old camera couldn't have done this in a million years even with a tripod.

To finish off the evening, we went to eat, went back to my parents' house for a movie and then we left for home. On the way home from the zoo, the other car had seen a herd of elk, so on our way home from my parents' house we went the long way to see if they happened to still be there (even though it was was about 1:30 in the morning). They were! We were able to get really close to them, but still couldn't get a great picture. It was really dark, so even my new camera couldn't cut through the blackness to get a focused shot. But this is the best we did get. There were at least a hundred head of elk out there. We drove around trying to find them and taking pictures until about 2:00 and then finally headed home. My dad was wishing Brice had tried out his new bow on these guys... Maybe next time. Elk burgers anyone?


Isn't she gorgeous!?

We had such a fun Christmas! Santa came to our house this year for the first time (he usually delivers our family's gifts to one of the grandparents' houses) and it was great! For me, this was one of the best Christmases for gift-giving. I wrote previously about my KSL (local e-newspaper) shopping for family, which I loved doing because I was able to get really fun gifts that I'd never be able to afford otherwise and that were more fun than what I could have bought from the store with the same money. Everyone really liked their gifts and it was fun to see them so excited. For the kids, I also changed my normal way of doing things from strict budget and lots of driving from store to store and back again to get the best deals, to one trip to Toys R Us and throwing the budget out the window (which really just means being reasonable without stressing--we didn't go nuts or anything). It was really a fun way to shop for the kids! I liked not having to drive all over and compare prices and just get the things I really wanted them to have. It really made for a nice Christmas.

Anyway, the kids had a great time on Christmas. Ryker's favorite part was all the candy.We were stuck on stockings for a good 45 minutes while he ate candy and unwrapped ALL of it! But Raelin certainly had her fair share of candy gorging as well. So now we have a big bag of candy concoction. Raelin got a little toy handmixer and she used it to mix all Ryker's candy together for him. Then they proceeded to eat the candy by the spoonfuls. They had a great time playing with their toys in the morning and eating their candy. Skates from Santa
Then we went to Grammy and Granddad's house for more presents and food and whatnot. Those kids sure are spoiled! They got lots of great gifts from everyone and had a great and overwhelming day--just the way Christmas is supposed to be when you're 3 and 5.
Raelin got this cute Hawaiian grass skirt from Jesse's friend, Brooke and she showed her how to shake those hips! She also got LOTS of littlest pet shop guys, which she and I both love. It's just the sort of thing I would have liked as a kid--not too girly, small enough to fit in your pocket, and not associated with any TV shows or anything (I am the media Nazi, afterall).
Ryker got lots of tools and a ride-on-top fire engine and lots of cars and trucks.
This is a few days before Christmas, but he's just the cutest thing, so I had to post it. Look at that smile!

And finally, for mine and Brice's Christmas: I got Brice a really nice compound bow (KSL again!). After the steel bow competition he entered (see previous post), he's been really excited to get into archery. He really liked it as a kid and wanted to get better at it. We also got Gina, Toby, and my dad bows for Christmas, so we brought a couple of bales of hay up there and made a target to shoot at. They had lots of fun, but it sure was COLD (hence, no pictures of that--I was not going out in the wind and freezingness). And for me, Brice found a professional camera on KSL and I LOVE IT, LOVE IT, LOVE IT! I'm not a great photographer, but I love taking pictures and trying to figure out how to get that perfect shot. The camera that we had was starting to poop out and it wasn't taking pictures very well. It did horrible in low light situations and I hate the delay. My new camera is everything I could have hoped for. It takes great pictures everywhere (even at night and through glass), there's no delay, and it's been lots of fun--and just in time for the new baby, so we'll be getting lots of pictures of her when she arrives.

I hope you all had a great Christmas!


We had some visitors at our house for a few days before Christmas. My brother and sister went to Las Vegas for a few days and we took care of their dogs while they were gone. It sure was nice to have dogs around the house again. Cats just aren't the same. And the cat we have is the most dog-like cat I've ever seen. She plays and attacks things like a dog, but she just doesn't play WITH us. She's really a funny cat and I've surprisingly enjoyed having her around, but I miss my doggies. So with Jesse and Gina's dogs here, it was very clear that we NEED a dog. Can you tell?This is Jesse's dog Lady. She is the sweetest thing ever. I love her! And so does Raelin, obviously. She's lovey and sweet and docile. She reminds me of how Jax was in the last year or so (he was way hyper before that).

Gina's dog Sadie is a beautiful chocolate lab, but she was kinda getting on my nerves, but I think Brice likes her as much as I like Lady. I was really only bothered by Sadie because I'm pregnant and irritable, and she's still very much a puppy. She reminds me of Kira because she's very food oriented and demanding, but Kira was just ridiculous in her demands and Sadie is reasonable. She barks when she's hungry and when she needs to go out and when she's thirsty. Kira, on the other hand, barked for HOURS just for want of a blanket to lay on. And I do mean hours. She would not give up ever. And Sadie is very much house trained whereas Kira never was. Gina and Toby have done a good job of training a very energetic dog with difficult-to-manage drives. And she's really, really pretty! We were gone a lot, but it was fun to have an occupied yard again and to have dogs to wrestle with and pet and love and hug. Cats don't like hugs. Just in case you were wondering.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

30 Days Left!

Okay, so it took me a while to get the pictures on my computer so I could finish this post, but better late than never, right. Anyway, here are the pictures along with the post I wrote a while ago.

Well, would you look at that! We're down to only 30 days left before baby day. Do you really think she will wait until then? I hope not! The other kids were early so I think this one will be too. She dropped the other day, and I have a Dr. appointment on Monday, so maybe she'll give us an idea of whether or not we are really getting close. It kinda feels like it, but then again, I've had lots of hunches with this pregnancy and they've all been wrong.
Another exciting thing is that we are done with school for the semester! WOOHOOO!!! This semester was pretty killer. Brice had 14.5 units and I had 15.5 units. That's 30 units for our little family to juggle. It was quite a difficult task. We even finished all of our finals but one by Wednesday, so we'll get two and a half weeks of break before Winter semester starts. Hopefully we can rehabilitate our kids from our crazy schedule over the next two weeks an start next semester with a good schedule and normal kids. I mean, they're normal, given all that they've been through this semester, but they aren't their normal selves. Ryker has very little self control and Raelin gets to be a whiny mess. They didn't used to be like that. Winter should be easier too because even though we'll have a new baby, we'll each only be taking 12 units. And it will by my last semester. Then the kids will have a full time mommy again. I think we'll all miss the time Brice has been getting to spend with the kids with both of us going to school, but I think it will be better to live at a slower pace. I'll miss school a lot and I'll miss having my own "thing" to do, but I also know that I really need to get a handle on this parenting thing and learn to adopt more child-centered goals. Right now most of my motives are me-centered and that's not very good for kids. And with a new baby, I don't want to be gone half the time. Babies need their mommies.

And one final note: Christmas is almost here! But you already knew that. Around here, though, Christmas doesn't really come until after finals week. Brice and I got to go shopping yesterday for the kids and for once, I decided not to stress about a budget and to just get the kids the things I wanted to get them. I didn't even bargain shop! It was SO much fun! I only know a few people that are more of a tightwad than I am, so not going all over town from store to store to get the best deals and buying things that I think are overpriced are way out of character for me, but I did it and it was fun! I also did most of my other shopping via the KSL classifieds (local e-newspaper) and had a lot of fun with that too. And got some killer deals. It's kind of strange to go Christmas shopping at strangers' houses, but it's fun. And the things you get all have stories to go with them. We also got our Christmas tree today and I have to say it is the prettiest one I think we've ever had. Now it's time to go wrap presents, so I'd better go. Have a merry Christmas everyone!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Thanksgiving in California

For Thanksgiving this year we went to California to be with Brice's family. I expected a pretty miserable eight hours of driving given the kids behavior of late (I've said it before and I'll say it again--they are falling to pieces with our crazy schedule this semester), but they were really good! Didn't sleep as much as I would have hoped, but didn't fight as much as I expected either.

We stayed the first couple of nights at Brice's parents' house. Angel and I took Raelin, Ryker, Liam, and Jordan on a hike to Heart Rock. It's a pretty good hike for little legs and it started to get pretty cold and drizzly while we were out. Unfortunately we forgot our cameras and missed about a hundred Kodak moments. The kids jumped in muddy puddles and played hide and seek and ran all over the place. It's stuff like that that makes me miss life in the mountains. It's so nice to be able to hike from your front door into the woods and have the kids run all over without worrying about cars and stuff like that. It's nice to go on a hike so spontaneously too. The kids had a great time on the way TO Heart Rock, but Raelin started to lose it on the way back. She was tired and cold and hungry and she got super whiny. Her cousin Jordan, on the other hand was a trooper! He didn't want his jacket at the beginning of the hike and it stayed in the stroller at the beginning of the trail where we ditched it. He was FREEZING on the way back, but he never once complained! I was so impressed with him! Even Liam (he just turned 2) walked a good portion of the way. What tough kids!
When we got back we ran the kids a bubble bath in Mimi's big tub and the kids had a great time in the bubbles. I tried to get some pictures, but it was so hot and steamy in the bathroom that my lens got foggy!

On Thanksgiving day, we went to Aurora's (Brice's sister) house for the big dinner. There was a big group of us and we all ate great food and enjoyed each other's company. The kids played video games and played and ran and didn't eat much--except M&M's.

Then we stayed at Brice's other sister's house and had a great time with them. They have 4 kids and a great big house. The cousins all had a blast playing together and the grown ups had fun talking and talking. I'll have to get some pictures of the games the kids played with Brice one morning. They wrestled (kids vs Brice--Brice won!) and played crash landing. That's a game Brice invented with our kids where they sit on his feet with their chests against his shins and then he launches them into a flip onto a pile of pillows. The kids LOVE it!

My kids also LOVE Uncle Wes. Ryker and McKay and Wes played paper airplanes (McKay makes some really great airplanes!)And Raelin loved having Uncle Wes read to her.We took all the kids to the Andrew's tree house by their house and Brice built a new platform for it. Melissa goes there with her kids periodically and they build more stuff on it whenever they go. They have swings and platforms and a hoisting bucket and lots of fun stuff.
I love Ryker's face in this one!
It was so much fun to have all of us out there together playing and working on the tree house together: all 6 Andrews, William and Angel and Liam, and us. We did miss Aurora, JC and Jordan, but maybe next time they'll come too.
As we were driving out, I told the kids that William and Angel and Liam would be there (they moved back to California a few weeks ago) and they got really excited! Ryker said, "Baby Liam is my fravorite! I LOVE him!" Look at those cute cousins!

Nephi's Steel Bow Competition

BYU's mechanical engineering department held a competition right before Thanksgiving where the contestants had to build a bow out of all steel and then see whose would shoot an arrow the farthest with a 50 pound pull. Brice found out about it and thought that he could probably make one at home in a short amount of time and that it could be a pretty good one. There was a cash prize, so he went for it. He got a set of leaf springs from a junk yard and went to work with the stuff we have in the garage (we have a lot of tools). His bow was a really good idea and it looks really cool. It was competitive, too! Unfortunately, one of the mechanical engineering classes offered extra credit to their students if they participated. They got to do it in groups, they had a month or more to work on it, and they had access to all the machinery and tools on campus. Brice was kinda bummed about that because there would have been a lot less competition otherwise. Still, Brice's bow was really cool and it worked well. While the kids and I were standing around waiting for Brice's turn, I heard lots of the other students talking about Brice's bow and what a good design he had. Yeah, I married a genius.
Here's Brice's bow. He had to alter it on site at the last minute because they changed the weight of the pull from 80 pounds to 50 pounds. Good thing he's handy and had brought some tools!
They strapped the bows to this thing and used a spring and a crank to pull back the string until there was 50 pounds of pull on it. Then they let 'em rip! The winners' arrow went across the entire field and across the street into an apartment parking lot. No one else was even close to their record. Everyone else's bow was in about the same range as Brice's. It was a pretty fun competition. But COLD!