Monday, December 23, 2013

First Day of Christmas Vacation

Today has been a lazy day which is a nice change of pace from the last couple weeks. Today started the kids' winter break and we all slept in a little bit. It was nice! The rest of the day has been spent reading, blogging, listening to music, playing the play station, and sledding. We have a small area right behind our church which is perfect for sledding. The hills are steep enough for sledding, but not too steep that little legs can't climb back up.
all bundled up

They all came back after about an hour. No frozen fingers or broken limbs, I'd call that a successful sledding day.

Growing too fast

I can't believe how fast my baby is growing. She is already 6 weeks old, where does the time go? She doesn't even look the same from her first day. She's changing so quickly. These pictures were taken by Spencer's sister when she was just over a week old.

And here's one from just the other day at 5 weeks. (crappy camera pic, sorry)
She's already smiling with cute little dimples. It's so fun to see her growing but at the same time it breaks my heart!
Her big brother Tate loves to take care of her. He is always giving her kisses and making sure she is ok. He loves to cuddle and hold her. And also help to give her a bath.
such a big helper

she looks so sweet in her towel


Birth Day

It's been forever since I posted anything and I finally have time while the little one is sleeping. I'll start back on the day Tayrn JoAnn was born.
We were waiting to hear from the hospital what time my induction would be. We didn't think I'd get in before the afternoon so we were having a lazy morning. We had gotten the older 2 off to school and were just hanging out. I got a call around 9:45am from the hospital saying they wanted me there at 11am. That was much sooner than we had anticipated. I quickly showered and got ready while Spencer gathered stuff for our bag. You would think with baby #4 that the bag would already be packed and waiting. Nope!
It was a different feeling driving to the hospital for the induction. With the other 3, we drove to the hospital in labor. This was still exciting, but the small amount of panic was gone from the situation. Spencer always stresses that we won't make it to the hospital in time. We live at least 30 minutes away and he always had a fear with each one that he'd have to deliver on the side of the road.
We got to the hospital and met our nurse. She was really sweet and thought it was fun that we didn't know if it was a boy or girl. She got me hooked up to the IV and Pitocin and then the doctor came in to break my water. That was around 12:30pm and I was dilated 4cm. So we figured we had a long afternoon and evening ahead of us.
During labor, I'm pretty happy and can carry on a conversation, for the most part (well at least I think so). Once the contractions get more consistent and harder, I shut up! But I don't get grumpy or mean (once again, at least I think so). I decided I wanted an epidural around 2:30pm. Spencer is kind of a wimp when it comes to the epidural and always has to leave the room. Usually getting the epidural isn't bad at all, but this time it was painful and uncomfortable. He didn't even wait until my contraction stopped. I was in the middle of a contraction and they laid me straight back. Not comfortable at all. And when he inserted the needle, he hit a patch of nerves or something because my legs totally jerked. And not just a little, but like "I can't control my limbs at all" jerking. It's funny now to think about it, but at the time I having a contraction and my legs were jerking around. And to top it off the nurse was holding my legs and stroking my head and trying to calm me. I felt like a horse!
About 30 minutes after the epidural, I started to feel what I thought was pain. I was feeling the contractions and pressure. So we pushed the epidural button like we were instructed. But after 10 minutes I was still feeling a lot of pain. I was also having heartburn really badly.  We called the nurse in and asked for something to help with the heartburn. She came in with a really NASTY drink to help. But all it did was make me throw up (also I was dilating to a 10 which we didn't know at the time). I told the nurse I was feeling a lot of pressure and she said "well, since you're already miserable with throwing up, I'll just check you really quickly to see where you're at." She pulled back the sheet and goes "oh honey! close your legs and roll to the side." Then she ran to the door and yelled for all the nurses. Spencer got panicked and goes "is everything alright?" And in the few short seconds of the nurse running to the door, I'm telling Spencer "I can feel it, the baby is right there. It's coming" He totally panicked! Luckily, the nurses came just in time. A nurse ran in, pulled up the sheet and literally caught the baby as she dropped on the bed!
All the pain and pressure I had been feeling was the baby ready to come. And when I was throwing up, it was in part because of the drink but also because I was dilated 10cm and ready to start pushing, we just didn't know that. Hindsight is 20/20! My total labor with her was only 3.5 hours.
It was really fun to find out what the baby was. Spencer kept asking "do I have a son or a daughter?" and then when he could finally see, he goes "I have a daughter! Loni, she's so beautiful!" I love that after each birth, he gets a little emotional and teary. It's such a sweet thing to see a daddy loving his child.

I LOVE this grumpy face!

she's eyeing him with one eye
Taryn was so sweet! She was 21 inches and 8 lbs 8 oz. And her cheeks were so chubby!! Right from the beginning all she wanted to do was snuggle and eat. When we called her siblings to tell them they had a baby sister, they freaked with excitement. They came to visit later that night and it was so sweet to see them as big brothers and sister.
My girls

Big brother. He loves her so much

Ayden has been captivated by her from the first moment

She's so tiny
I can't believe that I have 4 children. Our lives will never be the same and we are very thankful for our sweet little addition. Taryn is already spoiled with lots of attention and love. Her siblings love to hold her and kiss her. Especially the boys, they can't get enough of her. I am so thankful my Heavenly Father has blessed me with these sweet spirits.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A really quick Update

So it's been 3 weeks since my last post. That was the day of my induction and we were eagerly awaiting the arrival of our little one. I was induced at 12:30pm and 3 1/2 hours later our sweet baby girl was born! We are so excited to have Taryn JoAnn in our family. The kids love her and can't get enough of her. We love to just snuggle and hold her and of course lots of kisses! I'll post more later, but wanted to get a quick little something up.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Oh Christmas Tree!

Decorating the Christmas tree is usually something I do myself. Mostly because I prefer to do it myself to get it looking the way I want. This year I finally gave up the control and let the kids help. I realized they wouldn't have any memories of decorating the tree if they didn't actually get to decorate it! I have fond memories of decorating the family tree. Our ornaments were always a conglomeration of things my parents had collected over the years or we had made. The finished product was always a "family" tree, not designer in any way! But we loved it. So I don't really know why I have been the only one to decorate our tree now.
Ellie worked on the advent calendar while the boys started with the tree.

 Ellie attempted to put the star on the tree, but it didn't really work so well.
 So Spencer did it.
 I love this picture of all 4 kids. And the tree looks great in the background.


Monday, November 11, 2013

Ready or Not!

We've been anxiously waiting for this baby to arrive, but it's being a typical Shaw child: stubborn. This baby has not wanted to come. The last few weeks have been pretty miserable. I've been dilated to 4cm for 2 weeks and having lots of "fun" contractions. but NOTHING happens! Each time I've gone to the doctor, he says "I'm so surprised you haven't had this baby yet. Everything seems ready."
Tell me about it! My hips hurt so badly that there is nothing to do but waddle and my feet and legs are so swollen that they are one continuous blob.
At my appointment on Friday, my blood pressure was a little high. This has been a theme for this pregnancy. It's been kind of up and down since 30 weeks. They had checked my blood pressure on Tuesday and then again on Friday and it's not extremely high, but staying up there. So the doctor decided it was time to schedule an induction. He gave me the weekend to see if the baby would come on it's own, but didn't want to go much more than that. And of course, here we are on Monday and still no baby. So we're headed to the hospital later today for an induction.
I'm so excited to be done, but still a little nervous for the labor part. Even though it's baby #4, each labor is so different and I'm worried that this one will be the worst! Not a positive attitude, I know. We got the kids of to school this morning and can't wait for them to come meet their newest sibling.
So ready or not.....we'll have a sweet little someone join our family today or tonight.  

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Almost but not Quite Done

I'm 35.5 weeks pregnant. Being this close to the end, I'm starting to get hopeful and see the light at the end of the tunnel. I'm also experiencing the not-so-little things that make the last few weeks crazy and almost unbearable.

  • It takes me twice as long to put on my socks and shoes. I'm not even talking about shoes with laces. Just easy slip-ons
  • Brushing my teeth still makes me gag.
  • The process of getting comfortable for sleep involves 7 pillows and 15 minutes of adjusting. Then I have to start all over again 30 minutes later because I had to get up to go to the bathroom.
  • Going to the bathroom 5 times in the night. And I stopped drinking anything fluid after 7pm
  • Noticing that I wore 2 completely different shoes out in public. And not even caring because at least they both fit my swollen feet.
  • Waiting for a doctor's appointment, seeing the doc for 3 minutes just to be told "yep, you're 35 weeks pregnant. See you next week."
  • Asking my husband for a hug and then bursting into tears when he gives me one. And having all 3 children stare at me like I'm from Mars.
  • I hate dropping anything because the process of picking it up is too involved.
  • Being so hungry and ready for a meal just to eat only 3 bites before feeling full.
  • Going through an entire day and finding out that I wore 2 different earrings. And they didn't even remotely match. Why didn't someone say anything!
  • Trying to get comfortable while watching TV, reading, or sleeping just to have the baby start its gymnastics routine.
Yet, despite all of these things, I wouldn't change anything because it means my little one will soon be here. I am so excited to finally meet the little person who has been causing all this trouble. I'm eager to see the expression on Spencer's face when he gets to hold his youngest child for the first time. I can't wait to see my children's faces light up when they get to see their newest sibling for the first time. So I guess I can go through a few more uncomfortable weeks.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Shaws Lately

As is typical, life gets busy and we forget to notice the time going by. I can't believe it's already October and the year is almost over. It doesn't seem that much happens in our day to day busy lives, but when I actually take a second to look at it, I see how busy we are.  Here's a little update on the Shaws.
Spencer is working on his accounting degree from Western Governor's online school. We love WGU because you can go at your own pace and it works with his busy schedule. He's been trying to get back into installing cabinets and doing finish work. He's in the process of starting his own small side business by getting a cabinetry/installers license. He's always being asked by friends, neighbors and bosses to do small projects. And he's very talented so he's working to make it a more permanent thing.

I am 35 weeks pregnant and very eager to be done. This pregnancy has been a little more challenging than the others. I've been having contractions since about 26 weeks and I never realized how annoying it was to have those on a regular basis. As long as they don't progress, the doctor isn't concerned. Well, if he were going through this daily, I think his opinion would change! With the contractions and swollen feet/ankles and headaches we decided it was time to cut back a few hours at work every day. It's been hard to admit that I can't be the super mom and do it all. And I absolutely detest bed rest! I appreciate my husband's willingness to take care of the family and me, but it's hard to step back and let someone else do "it all".

Ayden is doing well in 4th grade. He's excited to play basketball this winter and has been working hard to earn his Bear award in Cub Scouts. He is always bringing his book to us and asking if he can complete some project or another. He just joined the Knowledge Bowl team at school and is happy to learn all about geography. We're proud of him for trying something new. Ayden cannot wait for this baby to come. He has a countdown of days and will tell everyone how excited he is. It's fun to see this softer side of him.

Ellie is loving 1st grade and doing so well with reading. She loves to read and is working on the book Ramona the Pest. She just finished a soccer season last weekend. She was pretty fast and could outrun most of the kids she played against. Her favorite position was goalie. Ellie is always coloring and writing stories. She's so creative and very talented in her drawings. Our fridge and her walls are covered with her various drawings and writings. My favorites are the personal letters she will write to us. 

Tate started preschool this year. His teacher really stresses reading and sends the kids home with little worksheets. He loves doing homework.  He loves his daycare and playing with his best friend Kaylie. His regular sitter was gone for a week and it was torture for him to go to someone else. Tate also talks about the baby a lot, but always refers to it as a "she". He tells us his sister is coming soon and how he will help take care of her. If you ask him "what's in mommy's tummy?" He'll answer without hesitation, "my baby sister." It'll be fun to see if he's right.

So that's us in a nutshell. We'll see what the next few months bring.

Sleepin' Monkey

I've been looking through pictures on my phone and found these. They aren't the best quality pictures because I still have a dumb phone, but you'll still get the idea

only made it to the top of the stairs

Mouth wide Open

Like Father Like Son

Zangeef, get some clothes on!

So Tired

Asleep before dinner

Found outside his room at 11pm

Playing at the park
I LOVE his face in the morning

It would appear that this kid only sleeps! I love that he can fall asleep anywhere, clothed or naked, upright or laying down. Tate is such an important part of our family and is constantly making us laugh. He is our sweet, crazy, funny boy. I guess it requires that much sleep to be that awesome! We love you Taters

Sunday, October 6, 2013

A Little Family Rivalry

It's that time of year again: the leaves start to change colors, the weather starts to feel cool and crisp, holidays are just around the corner, and college football season is in full swing. The last part I really don't care about at all. It does still affect me however. Spencer and Ayden bleed blue, Cougar Blue to be exact. They religiously follow their team and cheer, yell, rally, and yes sometimes cry for their team! They record and watch every game so they can agonize over the loss or cheer over the victory. It's quite comical how serious it can get.
When we found out that BYU was playing Utah State University (my alma mater) in Logan, we thought it would be fun to attend the game as a family. Over the weeks leading up to the game, there was friendly banter back and forth about whose team would actually win. My Aggies have actually had a decent year so I thought we'd have a good chance of beating Spencer and Ayden's inconsistent Cougars.
As is typical Utah fall weather, the weather leading up to the Friday night game was crazy. One day it was in the 70s and the next it was freezing. On Friday morning, we actually woke up to a few inches of snow on the ground. So we prepared ourselves for a very cold game. We packed lots of blankets, coats, hats and gloves. And to throw another hitch in the plans, Tate ended up being very sick with a nasty cold and cough. We decided with the cold weather, he probably shouldn't go. Thankfully Aunt Dani came to the rescue and let Tate stay with her for the afternoon and night.
We drove up to Logan and arrived at 3:30pm for the 6pm game. We thought we'd be there early to get good seats for our general admission tickets. Wrong! There were huge lines already formed with fans for both teams waiting to get in. There were lines that wrapped down the street and around the corner of the stadium. It was fun to talk with people in line and banter with them about what team would win. Most found it funny that we were a "house divided" between BYU and USU. At the start of the game Spencer, Steve and Ayden were cheering for BYU and Ellie, Carson (Ayden's friend) and I were cheering for USU.
Watching the teams warm up before the game
We didn't have any Aggie gear for Ellie so we had to improvise and turn her BYU shirt inside out and tape an 'A' on it.  We actually ended up with pretty good seats in the end zone. Of course, we were surrounded by Aggie fans. That didn't deter Spencer from being an overly exuberant BYU fan! He was pretty loud and at one point Ellie covered her ears and ducked her head and said "Dad, you're embarrassing me!" After the first 2 BYU touchdowns, Ellie betrayed me and switched her loyalties to BYU. She had Spencer turn her shirt back out and cheered for BYU the rest of the game.

But I forgave her quickly and we enjoyed teasing each other about our teams.
Ayden and his buddy Carson had a blast watching the game and being boys. They ate everything in sight and went to the bathroom 5 times, not kidding. They had smaller bladders than the 34 week pregnant lady!
I'm glad we went to the game. It was so much fun to be at the stadium and to be in that environment. We all had fun teasing and bantering about the teams. Even though my team lost substantially, 31 to 14, I am so glad we went. It honestly is best that the Aggies lost because I don't think the car ride home would have been endurable if BYU lost. They would have been pouting and mad!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Smoke Detectors, Showers and Tears

This morning started out as a normal morning. Ayden and Ellie woke up early to get ready for school and I got into the shower to get ready for work. Tate was still snoozing, snuggled in the covers. I was in the middle of washing my hair and had conditioner in it when the smoke detectors started going off. I honestly wasn't too worried about it and started to ignore it with the intention of finding out what was going on after I was out of the shower and dressed. Right about this time I hear my older 2 children yelling "Fire!! Fire!! Fire!!" Which caught my attention a little more. Ayden bursts into the bathroom yelling "Mom! The smoke detectors are going off. We have to go!" Then Ellie starts yelling "Ah, I'm naked! I've got to get dressed." And she rushes out. By this time, I'm still not worried about a real fire, but very curious as to what's really going on. I quickly got dressed and went out to investigate. I find Ayden sitting on his bed wiping tears from his eyes. Ellie is still naked trying to get underwear on quickly. And Tate (who had been abruptly woken up because of the smoke detectors and frantic older siblings) is standing by Ayden shivering.  The whole situation was quite comical!
There was no fire, just the smell of burned dust. We had gotten out the kids' small space heaters for their rooms and Ayden had turned it on for the first time. Because it sat all spring/summer, it had some dust built up inside. So when he turned it on, it burned the layer of dust. For some reason that smell was enough to trigger all the smoke detectors upstairs. Glad to know they work! My poor kids! I'm so proud of them for knowing what to do in case of fire: alert an adult and get ready to leave. (thank you FHE lesson). Here's hoping tomorrow morning is less eventful! 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Dinner Helper

Tonight for dinner, I decided to make home made chicken noodle soup and corn bread. It's the first colder day of the season: 50 degrees and stormy. I love it! It totally put me in the mood for warm soup. Tate was my little helper in the kitchen.  He helped me mix the dough for noodles and helped roll it out on the counter. Then he got to cut it into strips with the pizza cutter.  Next he helped me make the corn bread. He was ever so careful putting the measured ingredients in the bowl. Once it was all mixed up, he said "uh, that doesn't look very good." But I promised it'd be so good once it was hot out of the oven! I had a lot of fun with my dinner helper. He's such a good boy and hilarious to be around.

Tate putting the noodles in the soup

I love that silly smile

Piano Recital

Ayden and Ellie had their piano recital right after school started. This was Ellie's first piano recital and she was nervous. Ayden wasn't worried at all because "I've done this before, mom."

Ellie was first on the program but she was a little nervous and didn't want to go up. After a few minutes and watching someone else go first, she went up. She did such a good job.
 Ayden was a little nervous even though he didn't want to admit it. But he did a very good job too.
So proud of our piano players!

First Day of School

So Summer came and went and all too soon the kids started school. They were more than ready to go back, however. And they laid our special clothes for the first day and packed their lunches in their new lunch boxes.
Ayden started 4th grade and was excited to learn that a lot of his friends are in his class again. And of course he had to start off his year sporting BYU. Go Cougs!
Tough face

handsome 9 year old
Ellie started 1st Grade and was very excited to go all day because she would get to eat in the lunch room with Ayden.

All ready to go
We carpool with neighbor kids and they happen to be Ellie's best friends. So they were all excited to share their first day morning together.
Ellie, Rylie, and Ayden

Rylie, Katie, and Ellie: cute little 1st graders
Tate also started preschool (just a moment while I wipe away my tears). He was so proud to use his Lightning McQueen backpack.
Cheesy grin

Handsome 3 year old
I'm glad to have the kids back in school and on a better schedule. I'm excited for all the new friends they will meet, experiences they will have and things they will learn, but part of me is sad at the same time. My little ones are growing up and I'm not fully ready for that. I'm proud of each of them and wish them the best this school year.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

James Family Reunion

Most of my family lives in Wyoming with 3 of us here in Utah. We all live at least 4 hours away from each other with most being over 8 hours. So it's not often that my entire family gets together. We finally decided it was time that we started family reunions.
Growing up we did not live close to extended family so we missed a lot of opportunities to become close to aunts, uncles and cousins. Sadly, I don't have a relationship with most of my cousins or aunts/uncles. And I don't want that for my kids. I want them to call their cousins their friends and be able to share memories with them. One of the biggest reasons we moved back from Alabama was to be closer to family. We took for granted the many blessings having family close offers.
This was the major reason my family decided we should start scheduled family reunions. This year we went to Bear Lake and rented a big cabin. We had such a blast!
We shared one big cabin and each family had to provide one meal for everyone which worked out really well. It was kind of a challenge coming up with meal plans that would feed 25 people, but somehow it all worked out and we ate very well! The kids had a blast just playing with each other and swimming. Us sisters went right back to our usual behavior: complete and total sarcasm! But it works for us and we had a lot of fun joking around with each other. Most nights my sisters and I would end up in the living room talking while some worked on craft projects. I wish my sisters and I lived closer to each other so we could get together more often.
I'll be posting a ton of pictures!
Marlayna, Ellie, Ayden and Sam enjoying a beautiful morning on the porch

Big cousin Ayden helping Kaleb

Aunt Chris crafting with Taters

Ellie and Tate crafting with Aunt Chris

Uncle Spencer playing the tablet with Grant and Tate
My brothers-in-law JJ and Adam brought "toys" for the family to use. JJ brought his razor (atv) and Adam brought a waver runner. The kids had fun taking rides with Uncle JJ. My favorite was when the 3 cousins Ellie, Marlayna and Tate went. The girls were excited but nervous. Afterward JJ told me "your daughter is quite the adrenaline junky. She laughed and screamed the whole, especially when I'd revv the engine."
Tate ready to go

The girls held on for dear life!
I don't have any pictures of kids on the wave runner, but they all had a blast. Spencer was excited to ride it and took my kids on a very slow ride on it. None of them wanted to go fast. Later Spencer decided he wanted to try water skiing, something he hasn't done since he was 15. Did it go well, you ask? Well, after a few attempts he tore his hamstring! So no, it didn't go well for the poor guy. He said he was trying to pull himself up in the water and his legs split (very far apart) and he heard a pop! Luckily, Bear Lake has a small medical office and we were able to get him some crutches and pain meds. He spent the rest of the weekend hobbling around crutches and icing his hamstring.

Despite this little accident, the entire weekend went very well. Saturday my Aunt Janette and her family came up to visit us. They played at the beach with the family and got to witness our entire crazy James family. I hope we didn't chase them away! That night we celebrated all the summer birthdays.

cake and icecream!

enjoying birthday cake!
Danielle and I made candy posters for the 3 kids who were celebrating the most recent birthdays: Sam, Grant and James. Love you guys!

 We had family t-shirts made for the weekend. And of course, had to take a big awkward family photo!

just the grandkids
 I love this picture of my parents. It's rare that you can catch Greg on camera being silly
The Jeide Family (my oldest sister Chris and her family)

The Lechner Family minus Mark (My older sister Jillayne and her family)

The Shaw family. Our first photo was with Ellie crying and refusing to be in the picture.
this will be used for blackmail later in life

much better

Danielle did not want a picture by herself so I'll use this one!
awkward shot of me
The Bigelows (my little sister Katie and her family)

My brother Russell and his wife, Nicole were not able to attend the weekend so I don't have any photos of them. Especially in their amazing t-shirts!
After all these photos, my sisters and I decided to get  do some silly ones:

And then the guys decided to do their own:

I love my family! We had so much fun and I can't wait until we do this again in 2 years. I'm in charge of planning the next one. We'll see what I come up with. I am so thankful I have been blessed with an amazing, supportive family. We can be crazy and ornery, sarcastic and chaotic, but we are also loving, funny, and even though I already said this, supportive. I thank my Father in Heaven everyday for this wonderful blessing.