A whole bunch about us you may have never wanted to know.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Love languages

So, we're currently reading "The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman. Paul and I had read it before, but we thought it would also be good to read with Becca. It is a book that talks about people feeling love in basically five different ways -- words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, or physical touch. It totally makes sense -- if I'm giving gifts to someone or serving them to show my love, they could still feel unloved if all they want is hugs.

Unfortunately the book points out that most couples do not share the same love language, so you generally have to learn a second language to express love properly to your spouse. This makes sense in any relationship in which you want to show love. (We're reading the spouse book, but they also have adaptations for children and teens.)

I also realize that I've got to remember that men and women are different. VERY different (thus that other book about Mars and Venus). Here's one of my favorite "stories" by Dave Barry highlighting how different we can be ...

Let's say a guy named Roger is attracted to a woman named Elaine. He asks her out to a movie; she accepts; they have a pretty good time. A few nights later he asks her out to dinner, and again they enjoy themselves. They continue to see each other regularly, and after a while neither one of them is seeing anybody else.And then, one evening when they're driving home, a thought occurs to Elaine, and, without really thinking, she says it aloud: "Do you realize that, as of tonight, we've been seeing each other for exactly six months?"

And then there is silence in the car. To Elaine, it seems like a very loud silence. She thinks to herself: Geez, I wonder if it bothers him that I said that. Maybe he's been feeling confined by our relationship; maybe he thinks I'm trying to push him into some kind of obligation that he doesn't want, or isn't sure of.

And Roger is thinking: Gosh. Six months

And Elaine is thinking: But, hey, I'm not so sure I want this kind of relationship, either. Sometimes I wish I had a little more space, so I'd have time to think about whether I really want us to keep going the way we are, moving steadily toward... I mean, where are we going? Are we just going to keep seeing each other at this level of intimacy? Are we heading toward marriage? Toward children? Toward a lifetime together? Am I ready for that level of commitment? Do I really even know this person?

And Roger is thinking:... so that means it was... let's see...February when we started going out, which was right after I had the car at the dealer's, which means... lemme check the odometer... Whoa! I am way over due for an oil change here!

And Elaine is thinking: He's upset. I can see it on his face. Maybe I'm reading this completely wrong. Maybe he wants more from our relationship, more intimacy, more commitment; maybe he has sensed -- even before I sensed it -- that I was feeling some reservations. Yes, I bet that's it. That's why he's so reluctant to say anything about his own feelings. He's afraid of being rejected.

And Roger is thinking: And I'm gonna have them look at the transmission again. I don't care what those morons say, it's still not shifting right. And they better not try to blame it on the cold weather this time. What cold weather? It's 87 degrees out, and this thing is shifting like a garbage truck, and I paid those incompetent thieves $600.

And Elaine is thinking: He's angry. And I don't blame him. I'd be angry, too. God, I feel so guilty, putting him through this, but I can't help the way I feel. I'm just not sure.

And Roger is thinking: They'll probably say it's only a 90-day warranty. That's exactly what they're gonna say, the scumballs.

And Elaine is thinking: Maybe I'm just too idealistic, waiting for a knight to come riding up on his white horse, when I'm sitting right next to a perfectly good person, a person I enjoy being with, a person I truly do care about, a person who seems to truly care about me. A person who is in pain because of my school girl romantic fantasy.

And Roger is thinking: Warranty? They want a warranty? I'll give them a warranty. I'll take their warranty and stick it right up their...

"Roger," Elaine says aloud.

"What?" says Roger, startled.

"Please don't torture yourself like this," she says, her eyes beginning to brim with tears. "Maybe I should never have... Oh God, I feel so..." (She breaks down, sobbing.)

"What?" says Roger.

"I'm such a fool," Elaine sobs. "I mean, I know there's no knight. I really know that. It's silly. There's no knight, and there's no horse."

"There's no horse?" says Roger.

"You think I'm a fool, don't you?" Elaine says.

"No!" says Roger, glad to finally know the correct answer.

"It's just that... It's that I... I need some time," Elaine says.

(There is a 15-second pause while Roger, thinking as fast as he can,tries to come up with a safe response. Finally he comes up with one that he thinks might work.)

"Yes," he says.(Elaine, deeply moved, touches his hand.)

"Oh, Roger, do you really feel that way?" she says.

"What way?" says Roger.

"That way about time," says Elaine.

"Oh," says Roger. "Yes."

(Elaine turns to face him and gazes deeply into his eyes, causing him to become very nervous about what she might say next, especially if it involves a horse. At last she speaks.)

"Thank you, Roger," she says.

"Thank you," says Roger. Then he takes her home, and she lies on her bed, a conflicted, tortured soul, and weeps until dawn, whereas when Roger gets back to his place, he opens a bag of Doritos, turns on the TV, and immediately becomes deeply involved in a rerun of a tennis match between two Czechoslovakians he never heard of. A tiny voice in the far recesses of his mind tells him that something major was going on back there in the car, but he is pretty sure there is no way he would ever understand what, and so he figures it's better if he doesn't think about it.

(This is also Roger's policy regarding world hunger.)

The next day Elaine will call her closest friend, or perhaps two of them, and they will talk about this situation for six straight hours. In painstaking detail, they will analyze everything she said and every thing he said, going over it time and time again, exploring every word, expression,and gesture for nuances of meaning, considering every possible ramification. They will continue to discuss this subject, off and on, for weeks, maybe months, never reaching any definite conclusions, but never getting bored with it, either.

Meanwhile, Roger, while playing racquetball one day with a mutual friend of his and Elaine's, will pause just before serving, frown, and say: "Norm, did Elaine ever own a horse?"

We're not talking about different wavelengths here. We're talking about different planets, in completely different solar systems. Elaine cannot communicate meaningfully with Roger about their relationship anymore than she can meaningfully play chess with a duck.

In any case, I recommend "The Five Love Languages" and hopefully not too many conversation like Roger and Elaine's! :)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Murphy and Austin

I just don't like that guy named Murphy. Or any of his laws. Seems I spoke too soon on all my great news. Our refi ran into one last glitch that is delaying signing and making it more expensive for us. Grrrrr. (The sad thing is that when I wrote it was all well I wondered if I should wait until it was done, but since the underwriters wanted us to sign that day I figured we were clear. Should have known ...) But we SHOULD sign today. If not we may just drop it, lick our wounds and move on.

And the authorization from the new insurance? I listed all the midwives on the form, and they picked one name to approve. Usually not a problem, except the one they picked happens to be the one out on medical leave! Can you believe my luck? Good news is that I heard from a woman in CIGNA's healthy pregnancies program who is making sure it doesn't matter who in the group I see. She's also approving my diabetes management and visits to the perinatologist. Phew! Hopefully that reduces the number of phone calls I have to make to get this baby paid for.

So, speaking of the baby, I thought I'd talk a bit about him now. :) I'm not sure I ever mentioned how we first considered the name Austin. We'd obviously been struggling to find names, and we'd both gone through lists of names without success. Then Hilary and her family gave us extra tickets to a BYU football game. We (okay I) sat there through the game watching the plays and thinking of the players' names. Would they work? Manase (Tonga) Brown. Nope. Harvey (Unga) Brown. JJ (Di Luigi) Brown. Nope. Max (Hall) Brown. Can't -- my sister has claimed the name Max. You get the picture. Then Hilary's sister said, "What about Austin? You know, like Austin Collie?" (He graduated last year.) Paul liked it immediately. So did Hilary. I wasn't convinced. However, after thinking about it more and trying a few more names on Paul, we agreed it was going to be our baby's name. It's not after Austin Collie (I've never even seen an interview with him), but that doesn't make me any less excited that Austin Collie is going to the Superbowl this year -- his rookie year! I sure hope he plays well and that his team wins. Wouldn't that be so cool for him?

Anyway, I got out the old boy clothes and washed the newborn stuff. You forget how small it is. I had this stuff packed away for almost 7 years now. My sister laughed at me for that, but why get rid of it if I may have to buy more later? I'm too cheap to consider that. Now we need a new car seat. We used the same carrier for the first three kids, but it expired right after we used it for Shayla.

The other question I seem to get is if I think Austin will have red hair. Tyler was born with a tint of red but was basically always blonde. Zachary had strawberry blonde hair until he was 2, and now it's mostly blonde with only the slightest hint of red. Shayla's is definitely red, but also has streaks of blonde. So we'll see if the trend continues with getting redder the farther we go. Paul and I always said it would be hilarious if we had a dark-haired baby. Several of my siblings have dark hair (and nice olive skin unlike my pale white), and all of Paul's siblings have dark hair and dark eyes (his mom has never appreciated that I call him the milkman's baby :). In any case, I've been having heartburn, so this kid will probably have hair no matter the color! (Did you know a medical group back East set to disprove that old wives' tale and found it was true? The same hormone that causes heartburn triggers hair growth in fetuses. Who knew?)

One other interesting side note: I went into labor with Zachary on Easter. If I go into labor 3 days late with Austin, I will once again be in labor in Easter since it's the first Sunday in April this year.

Since Shayla keeps asking me if Austin is out or how he's going to come out (unlike my boys who couldn't care less), I figured I'd show her the videos of each of my babies' births. I am so glad we videotaped them! (Let me just clarify that our videographers have all stood by my head, so they are not exposing anything I don't want the world to see. :) Anyway, it almost made me excited to go into labor. With the epidural I have enjoyed all labors (once it was in, of course) and even was joking around and laughing during pushing.

Ever heard of the building of the SLC temple where they were prompted to leave this huge hole in the middle? Then years later when the Brethren wanted to update it with an elevator they pulled out the plans and there was a hole already there waiting for an elevator. I feel the same way about the epidural cavity in women. God put it there and just waited until the right time for man to figure out how to use it. And I'm so glad He did!!! Now if you still choose to take the stairs like your ancestors, go for it. But me, I'm taking the elevator and enjoying the journey! :)

Anyway, there's nothing like a new baby and the awesome experience it is to be a part of one coming into the world. Obviously I still have a couple of months, but the excitement is really starting to kick in. We still need to bring in and assemble all the baby stuff -- crib, changing table, swing, bassinet, etc. But I figure the sooner we get it in the more impatient we'll be. (Man, our baby stuff takes up a lot of storage space! :)

And onto other news, if you haven't heard, the LDS Church announced plans for a new temple in Payson! I'm so happy. I've been waiting for one there since the Provo temple is the busiest in the world. And really it won't be any closer than the one we go to in Provo (20 minutes away), but from what I can tell it will be our new temple. It will also feel closer since it will be easier to get to for us -- even if it takes the same amount of time. (Mind you, that means no more nostalgic memories as passing BYU and the MTC, but I'll live. :) We're very happy about it and hope they start digging soon!

I also forgot to say thanks for all the breastfeeding comments. I was guessing with my opinionated post I probably wouldn't even get one comment. Who knew so many women struggle with it? I'll have to perfect a couple of Jen's suggested comebacks just in case ...

Okay, this is the end of my rambling. Hope your weeks are going well.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Miscellaneous Monday

Oh, we have started this week off well! And I'm not talking about the fact that I already exercised today, which always makes me feel better throughout the day. Yes, exercising is getting harder (especially since I've never had a great habit of it), because I'm feeling more and more pregnant. Hilary checked out some pregnancy DVDs from the library for me, and I'm getting quite a kick making fun of their '80s and '90s hair and styles. That gets me through their workouts. Who knew even exercise styles have changed so much!

At the end of last week we got smart and contacted Paul's work's HR to help us with our new insurance approving my midwives and hospital. They said they'd have someone call me this morning. Then yesterday at church I found out about another woman who is due in 3 weeks, and they approved her doctor but not her hospital. Grrrr! They said a hospital is a choice, so she could switch that. Do doctors generally really practice at more than one hospital? Around here they usually go to one only. Anyway, I got a call just after 7 this morning from a rep at our new insurance company. He took my policy number, and I mentioned that my midwives deliver ONLY at Orem Community hospital since I knew there was another woman who had the doctor but not the hospital approved. He called back 20 minutes later to say he had it all taken care of -- all of my care and treatment with the pregnancy will be covered at in-network costs. Phew! (He also said he took care of the other lady so she can go to the hospital she originally planned to.) He gave me his direct line should I have any troubles or need the date to be extended past May 27 of when this coverage will expire. What a relief!

We also found out the end of last week that the underwriter for our refi decided to throw out the first appraisal. YES!!! That means we can roll the costs of the mortgage into the mortgage instead of bringing in a bunch to pay for it. Needless to say, they want us to close today, and then we will have lower mortgage payments for the next 30 years. That's helpful! (And then, Melissa, I hope to never talk to your husband about my mortgage again!!! :)

I'm half way through the scrapbooking class Paul got me for Christmas. It is self-paced, and I'm trying to savor it and learn all I can. Here are the two pages I've made thus far with the new tips and tricks I've learned:

Okay, I'm off to enjoy my good day. :)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

10 weeks!

Okay, it is very hard to believe that my little Austin is due in 10 weeks. I just barely pulled out the maternity clothes, and I think I have some I like better than my normal clothes. Why didn't I pull them out sooner? :)

In pulling out my maternity clothes I also found all my nursing stuff. Okay, yes, this blog is probably for women only, so men you can stop here. (Not that I think any men read this other than Paul, and he's obligated to read even if it is a "girl" topic. :)

I haven't decided whether or not to try to nurse this baby. I have had three failed attempts at breastfeeding. (Isn't the rule three strikes and you're out?) I have heard from plenty of women out there who say if you try hard enough you can nurse no matter what. Somehow I don't see how this is any different than any other medical issue -- If you try hard enough can you have a baby if you want? If a man tries hard enough can he grow his hair back instead of balding? You see what I mean. After all, why in history would we have heard of wet-nurses if everyone was so capable? I guess this topic is no different in any other in having people who think they know it all. But somehow with this topic people feel they have a right to tell you their unsolicited opinion (unlike balding men who probably are not approached by strangers to ask why they choose baldness over hair treatments). Sigh ...

We began our attempts with Tyler (of course) more than 8 years ago. I had every intent to nurse exclusively. (Mind you, I always believed in bottles, but I planned to pump and put into bottles as well so my baby could take food from anyone.) However, after working with lactation consultants (I think I consulted with five different ones), he was still losing a scary amount of weight -- even though we were exclusively breastfeeding. We tried recommended herbs, pumping with a hospital-grade pump (try pumping every two hours and getting two drops!!!), a pouch with a tube to attach so he could think he was getting something when he nursed, etc. I don't even remember everything we tried, but it was exhausting. Even the lactation consultants told me to go to formula -- which I didn't think was a part of their vocabulary! I felt a little guilty about my failed attempt, but we were VERY relieved when we had a happy baby gaining the appropriate amount of weight.

Again with Zachary and Shayla we tried again to no avail. With Zachary I had the realization that I heard over and over that breastfeeding is the best thing I could do for my baby. Hmmm ... I just don't think that's true. Yes, nutritionally it is a 10 out of 10 IF I am eating healthy. But from everything I've been told from multiple pediatricians (who have a bit more knowledge, training and exposure to kids and their health than lactation consultants), formula these days is at least a 9 out of 10. The best thing I can do for my baby? Love him and teach him the gospel. Those two things alone trump any breastfeeding I could do ...

And then there are those who insist breastfeeding is necessary to properly bond with my baby. Who are they to say I haven't bonded with my babies like they have because I didn't nurse? I find that insulting. A baby will bond with you no matter what, so I think most women -- not the babies -- are the ones who need the nursing to bond. I'm not one of them. I don't have to be needed at meal-times to feel loved by my baby or to bond with him/her. (As if breastfeeding is the only time a mom is needed by her baby! If so, that'd sure make them eaiser! :) And although it's probably very taboo, I've even talked to several women who resent breastfeeding and have given it up so they COULD bond with their babies. That's an article I'd like to see in a baby magazine! :)

So, why is it that people try to make you feel so guilty if you don't breastfeed? It's so frustrating and annoying! I had one woman insist that I look for donor banks for breast milk if I couldn't produce it myself. Hello! Why would I trust someone else's milk more than I would formula? She insisted they are tested before they can donate. Great -- but are they tested daily?!? Sorry, but I don't have that kind of trust when it comes to my baby's health. (I find it hilarious, though, that this same Nazi-breastfeeder had pictures all over her blog of her kids shoving in all kinds of treats and sweets once they could eat. Am I missing something?)

I also get a little annoyed when people -- especially in the medical field -- ask, "Do you breastfeed or use formula?" Why is it an OR question? Why can't it be both? I know plenty of people who have supplemented with formula, so why not leave it an open-ended question?

There's something about babies that makes people feel they have a right to tell you what they think, and I guess breastfeeding is no different. But why are the adamant ones so vocal on this topic? Annoying. I'm not sure after three failed attempts that I could give it a whole-hearted attempt if I do go for it again, so I guess I better prepare some snappy comebacks in case I get the "or" question or lectures about breastfeeding. Or maybe I should invest in ear plugs? Or just let it roll off my back as I notice their ugly shoes or something. ;)

Okay, enough of MY unsolicited opinion ... but here's my last food for though: If breastfeeding is so detrimental to a person's life-long health, why can't we tell which adults were breastfed and which ones were given formula? I've never even had a doctor ask me that. Just saying ....

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

January blues ...

I think this is my longest stretch without blogging. I haven't done anything fun or exciting, and I haven't felt up to thinking of anything positive to write. Usually I glide through the winters without any blues, but somehow this January feels more depressing. So forgive my orneriness ...

I think this year is especially hard because I am in my third trimester of pregnancy. I feel great wrt the pregnancy, I'm just sad that I have another 2.5 months of a gestational diabetes diet. And if Austin follows the pattern of my boys, that'll be another 3 months of watching what I eat and pricking my finger 6+ times a day. Hopefully he'll follow Shayla's lead and come early ...

In any case, we've had more stress (enough for me to gain four pounds!) and a great miracle in the past month.

Our refinance (which we've been working on since September!) looked bleak at the end of December. The underwriter didn't like the appraisal that was done and said we needed a second to get their buy-off. Yes, we didn't like the appraisal, either, but with the new system it's not like you can choose who you want to come! Fortunately the company we went through was good about saying they'd do a second one for free if the first one wasn't acceptable. Phew, because I was not about to pay another $500!

So, we crossed our fingers, spent the weekend cleaning (which always makes me very grumpy), and had a second appraisal last Monday. Good news -- it came in $41,000 higher than the first one. I KNEW that first guy was wrong!!! Now the concern is that the underwriter won't like the difference (ugh -- underwriters!). We also have to hope and pray that rates drop, because in the midst of this we lost our lock and rates went up. All this to lower our payment $140/month. (It cracks me up they cover their bases so much for us to LOWER payments when we've paid on time for 9 years now. I can understand the concern if we were increasing payments, but to lower them? Sigh ...) In any case, I feel very justified in believing that our house was worth more than the first guy said, even in the current economy. I KNEW IT!!! So, even if the refinance doesn't end up happening, I am happy to know that my house appraised more like I expected it to months ago.

We're also still waiting to hear if our new health insurance will allow me to stick with my midwives and hospital. We haven't heard, because they're "busy and have a back-log." Tell my high-risk pregnancy that, and I'm sure it will just pause for you to get everything in order ...

But on to the huge blessing! Paul's car repair, which jumped in cost from $500 to $1,500, ended up not being needed to pass emissions. Hooray! The check-engine light stayed off after we disconnected it from the battery for a short time. The first time they checked it they said it hadn't run enough miles to get an accurate reading. So Paul drove the car to work and back and it still hadn't come on yet. We felt SOOOOO blessed!!! And interestingly, after driving it for another two weeks it still hasn't come back on. It was a happy day! (I've never been so happy to pay my $140 to register a car. Yes, Washington friends, $140. We need to get Tim Eyeman down here to get them to a flat $30 like they are up there!)

Another thing that always makes me happy is cute pictures of that cute girl of mine! We got her hair cut, and it's adorable. We took a bit off, too. Look at the before and after ...

Before (modeling her new $2 skirt):


And here she was yesterday after she did her own hair. What a cutie!

And the last cute pic is with an adorable hat my niece Alyssa made for her:

I hear we're supposed to get more snow, so maybe a little sledding with the kids will cheer me up even more. If not, I recommend steering clear of my house until I'm in a better mood! (That excludes you, Paul! :)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Sledding is so much fun!!!

I LOVE sledding pictures! I guess maybe that's because I also love sledding? And can you not just see the fun in these pictures?!?

This looks like Paul going down solo, but poor Shayla is in front:

She wasn't too happy after this run, because it ended like this:

Good news is that I told her if she goes by herself that won't happen, so she spent the rest of the time blissfully going down solo:

And enjoying every minute of it:

We buy a sled per year, and that means this year each child had their own sled. The boys loved being able to go at their own pace. And if one of them crashed, they couldn't blame the other:

Tyler is so serious when he's going down:

As opposed to Zachary, who is just having a blast and is so expressive in his sledding:

Apparently we need to teach Becca to keep her hands and legs in the sled. I think she was our most common "crasher":

Of course, I had a small crash myself after trying to go down slower than gravity wanted to take me when I was "racing" Shayla:

Sledding is a blast! I can't wait for us to go again soon. I love that our school has such a wide, big hill so tons of us can go sledding all at once while ignoring the signs advising us not to. :)

Oh, and I had to include this picture for Leslie:

Yup, eating snow. And doing so without getting his hands too cold ... :)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

My sister's fun news ...

Yes! Austin will have a buddy about six weeks after he is born. So cool ...