Sunday, January 27, 2013

Oh, hello! Yup, we're still alive!

I'm not even gonna bother trying to catch up. I just chose a bunch of pictures that I like that happen to be on my new laptop (merry Christmas to me! Thanks, Love!) and I'll tell ya some stories.
I adore this little face!! With her big smile and those baby blues (oh, please stay blue!), she lights up my world!
 I love Landon's hair long and I end up procrastinating cutting it because I don't want to ruin it and I haven't totally mastered the cut yet. So it gets pretty long.

Someone's got some camera skills because I didn't take this one!
  But after it's cut, it's SOOOO CUTE!!! I just love his hair!

Could he BE any cuter? I think NOT!
I painted this on our window for Halloween (yeah, that was a while ago) and thought it was so fun! 

And a not-so-cool story. Scorpions are evil. Ryker got stung in his bed a while back and he had a reaction that was about as bad as a bee sting. Different kind of pain, but same severity. Ailey got stung at the beginning of December, also in her bed, and her reaction was totally different! I put her down to bed and right away could tell that she wasn't quite ready, but the other kids were being insane (all day) and I really needed to go deal with them, so I had to just leave Ailey to cry for ten minutes or so. When I came back to her, she was acting kinda weird. Crying, groggy, and really wiggly. Wouldn't calm down, wouldn't nurse (just bit me). She had her eyes closed like she was exhausted but she wouldn't settle or wake up fully. The wiggling turned to thrashing and then she started to not seem to be able to swallow and her saliva got really thick. I knew something was definitely wrong. I called Brice who was still at work and told him to come home right away. While I waited for him to come home, Ailey continued to get worse. She started foaming at the mouth and still wouldn't fully wake up or settle at all. I didn't know if she'd swallowed something that was tearing her up inside or what. I know that a scorpion crossed my mind as the culprit because I remember checking her bed for one (we never did find that sucker). I had her in just a diaper with a blanket wrapped around her and at some point my blanket-covered thumb found its way into her mouth and she bit down HARD. Something about it told me that I didn't have any more time. So I went next door and asked my neighbor (she's awesome and we've been friends with her since we moved in) if she would stay with my other kids. I took Ailey to the closest medical facility I knew of--an urgent care. Scariest 7 minutes of my life. I couldn't see Ailey, couldn't feel her, couldn't comfort her, couldn't monitor her, could only pray and say, "Hang on, Ailey! Hang on, Ailey!" I've never offered such fervent prayers and that was probably the closest thing to panic I have ever experienced. When I got to the urgent care, I was able to calm down because someone who knew more than me was there to assess something that was outside my scope. They took some vitals and said they thought it was a scorpion (Brice arrived in there somewhere) and they sent me to the county hospital where they stock antivenom. Ailey and I rode in an ambulance and Brice followed in the car. The ambulance guy was awesome. He had a presence that was so calming and inspired so much confidence. He immediately felt like an old family friend that I'd known all my life and trusted completely. As I was helping him do things with Ailey like her an IV in her hand, I apparently showed some competence (and I was calm by then) because at one point he looked at me and was like, "What do you DO!?" I'm a stay at home mom, of course! Most versatile, demanding, dabble-in-everything job there is! Ha! I didn't mention that I'd started my schooling in sports medicine or that I'd spent some time as a midwifery assistant, but it was not the time to go into my life. We were both more concerned with little Ailey's. When we got to the hospital, she was still thrashing, sweating profusely, foaming at the mouth, occasionally had puke leaking out of her nose and mouth, snotting a lot, and, the scariest part, she didn't seem to be "there." She wouldn't focus on anything and her eyes kinda darted back and forth. They decided it looked like a scorpion and they gave her a vial of antivenom. They waited about 10 minutes to see if she improved before giving her a second vial. That antivenom is insanely expensive so they don't want to just dole it out if they don't need to. Fortunately, she did react positively to the antivenom, confirming that it was a scorpion and they gave her a second vial. Over then next little while, she calmed down and finally slept for a while. When she woke up, she was finally back with us and would look at us and focus on things. She would smile a weak little smile and babble and play with toys. I nursed her and she slept a little while longer and they discharged us at 2 am. The Lord is amazing in His omniscience and His compassion and care for His children. A week prior to this incident, we'd gotten insurance through Brice's company. It wasn't very good insurance, but it was something. AND we'd finally looked deeper into some concerns we'd had about Landon's seemingly low blood sugar and found that it is dangerously low. Motivated by that, I did all the paperwork for Medicaid a week and a half before this, so they will pay what Brice's work insurance doesn't. As scary as Landon's blood sugar issues are (his #'s are in the 30's and 40's frequently, which is brain damage, drunk midget, coma and seizure low, so we are working on that and I'll keep you posted on what we find), they were a kind of tender mercy so that we aren't going to be forever in debt for Ailey's antivenom. She recovered well and was really only exceptionally tired for a day or two until she got caught up on sleep again after thrashing for 5 hours past her bedtime.
She does seem to be a bit accident prone as this is her SECOND black eye! This one wasn't actually her fault--Alaina tried to get her out of her crib. FAIL! She hit her eye on the corner of an open dresser drawer. It could have been so much worse though! Man, that was another scary one! And just a few days after the stupid scorpion too!

This was Alaina's Halloween costume--Cinderella. She LOVED IT! It needs some repair because I didn't catch all the layers on the front well enough for it to endure her daily use of it, so I need to fix it, but she sure does love the princess thing!


Christmas was great but chaotic. Two of our nephews got baptized the Sunday before Christmas so we went to SoCal for that really quick. Then we headed straight up to Utah to spend Christmas with the Lawlers. Brice's dad put us up in a hotel in Mesquite so we didn't have to drive the whole way in one shot. It was a GODSEND! Oh, man, so nice! 

I just love her!

All the kiddos on Christmas morning

Ailey is 10 months old in this picture and my nephew Carter is 5 months old. Yeah, they're the same size.  In length, anyway. Carter weighs more and he has a huge head. I love how different they are! It's so much fun!!

Look at that chub! Diggin' wearing Knuckle Brice's hat.

Life of the party, these two! This is at about 6:30 on New Year's Eve. Cracks me up!

Mimi and Papa made some amazing gifts for the kids this year! They MADE this rocking horse and they also made a pull-along caterpillar that is incredible! The kids love them!
Ailey is standing up like a champ these days and takes a few little steps. Not a walker quite yet though.

She makes the BEST faces and I'm always trying to capture (and failing!) this one crooked grin that she gives me. I just can't make her do it on command!
This was Alaina's 4th birthday cake. I showed her some pictures of different crown cakes (that's what she wanted) and she was so kind and chose the simplest thing possible! A cake with a Dollar Store crown on top.

Brice found her a birthday crown to wear and she wore it ALL DAY LONG. I expected nothing less.

There again with those amazing eyes! This expression is so "her." Soulful, angelic, perfect.

I got tired of my regular diaper design and wanted to try something new. I was so over the cord locks. With five kids, it was one more thing to do that was taking up time. And the breatheable waterproof fabric I used, while good for baby boy parts, it allowed a bit of moisture to wick through so baby felt damp sometimes (not wet though--that came when I changed the waterproofing to PUL and left the cord locks and the cotton outer part of the design alone). It was bugging me. So I made a couple of pocket diapers (this one's my FAVORITE!) and a couple of covers that are the same style as my old ones except that I did back-to-back layers of PUL (no cotton to get wet!) and I omitted the cord locks. (I know, that's probably SO BORING to most of you! Sorry! I LOVE cloth diapers!)
This is one that's a cover in the old style but it's REVERSIBLE! Yup, that's right! This way is size medium and if you turn it inside out, it's a large. You fold over the belly part for the medium setting so that the snaps face out. LOVING the snaps too! Goodbye Velcro!

One of the best things about Phoenix (there are only about three good things, by the way. Phoenix is certainly not a match for our family. Clearly it is for a lot of people because a lot of my friends love it here. Me? Not so much, but more on that later) is the WEATHER! Oh my goodness is it great! The summer was moderately uncomfortable but it was awesome to thaw out after 7 years in Utah where the most inclement time of year was LONG and PAINFUL! I'll take moderately uncomfortable over that any day. And now, while my wonderful Utah friends and family are suffering in 7 degree weather, I'm enjoying park days in my jeans and t-shirt! It's SO NICE!

Oh, how I love this picture! She had been throwing some ugly tantrums because she was tired but she won't often nap anymore. So I put her in time out to cool off. As soon as it was over, she climbed up on the couch and promptly fell asleep. I love the colors of this photo. Her lips, the purple, her little hands tucked under her chin... Pretty princess.

This is where she gets Brice's nickname for her: Curly Girly. It's been raining the last few days and the humidity makes the top of her hair, which is usually kinda weirdly wavy-ish, curl up just like the rest of it always is.

I loved how Raelin was being so sweet with Ailey and I loved her long, pretty hair. At school last week , they were figuring out who had the longest and shortest hair in the class so Raelin took her standard pony tail out and one of her friends said that her hair was really pretty down. Since then, she's worn it down most of the time. It's so nice! Thank you, sweet friend at school, whoever you are!

In other news, Brice is actively on the hunt for a new job because this one sucks. His hours are insane and his superiors are ridiculous and unreasonable and unethical. It's been so bad that Brice has been in touch with the labor board to see what his options are. First, find a new job. Second, file a report with the labor board documenting all of his hours so that he can get paid out on all of the overtime he worked at his last position. His current position is a higher one (of course, not higher paying, just higher demands and responsibilities. Gee, thanks) that makes him exempt from the same hourly rules that applied to his last position with this company. But I'm not bitter or anything. Sure, just take my husband away from me for MORE hours each day and work him almost to death and then berate him for not getting the job done (which is impossible unless you live, eat, and breathe work, which is stupid!) so that he comes home late and exhausted and down on himself to a wife who, by default, is working insane overtime hours and is ready to kill the children, who, in turn, are finally in bed but jump up as soon as they hear the door. Great. Yes, that is our life. Brice gets up between 5 and 6 am and gets home between 6:30 and 7:30 at night. And they won't give him a raise, so money's as tight as it ever was. Good thing we spent all that time and effort and loan money on an education! Ugh! 

On the upside, while I am frustrated and angry about work stuff and the demands it puts on our whole family, I don't hate my life. That is truly a miracle considering my propensity for dwelling overmuch on the negative. I love our house, I have met some wonderful friends, I became an IPC for doTERRA since we've been here and that has been GREAT for me, the weather, as I mentioned, is pure bliss. I've made a very conscious effort to get out and meet people and get involved. I play volleyball on Mondays and basketball on Tuesdays and Fridays with some ladies from church. That has been a wonderful thing for me in every way. I'm SO close to being back down to what I weighed when I got married! Totally different weight distribution, but it feels so good to be in shape again after so many years of being incredibly out of shape. And .... well.... that's it for the good stuff. We live in the ghetto and I can't let my kids play out front to ride bikes or play soccer in the big field across the street. There are scorpions here. It's really ghetto. Like, makes San Bernardino look nice, ghetto. There's no forest anywhere close. Did I mention it's ghetto? Like, police chopper flying over the neighborhood once a month or so, ghetto. And did I mention the scorpions? I also don't feel very comfortable with the schools here. Ryker is having a really hard time with this transition. He's been in a lot of trouble at school and at home. I've wanted to sell him to the gypsies several times. It's been rough.We need a new situation. And it's ghetto. :) Prayers would be appreciated. 

Okay, signing off until next time! Hopefully it won't be another 6 months! ;)