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

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Not so natural

Okay, so I saw something this week that got me thinking. My sister asked on Facebook about prenatal classes and whether or not they're worth it. One of her friends said they would be good prep if she was going to give birth naturally. I think it was her sister-in-law who said something about how birth is natural whether or not you use medicine. That got me thinking about the whole "natural" terminology. Is this like the term pro-choice for abortion, which implies that if you're against abortion you didn't make a choice? So I've decided that calling birth without medication "natural" is definitely a misnomer.

(*Rebecca~ You are hereby released from reading the rest of this blog. Just go about your business and have a wonderful day off! :)

I feel like I have a good grasp on the matter now considering my delivery of Austin was unmedicated. It wasn't planned that way -- the epidural worked wonderfully until the end of labor and the delivery. Turns out the epidural had slipped out of my back, and we didn't notice until it was too late to put it back in for the last part of labor and the delivery. I felt everything. Even the midwives were surprised that I could feel everything that was happening, and therefore told me that I had given birth naturally after all. Here's the thing: My delivery of Austin felt anything but natural -- definitely a lot more unnatural than the previous three deliveries.

In fact, I've decided there's nothing natural at all to want to feel that pain! No offense to those who choose it, but I do not understand it in the least bit!!! It's like an extreme sport -- people who do marathons in the Sahara, those who compete in the Iditarod, or those who attempt to climb Mount Everest. Sure, people have done it, but I don't get it.

I know there are those who have legitimate reasons -- medical concerns, allergies, etc. But I believe our epidural cavity was created by a loving Heavenly Father who knew what relief epidurals could and would provide. Just as I'm grateful for -- and use -- cars, microwaves and other modern medicines and conveniences He's inspired, I'm extremely grateful for epidurals and the chance they gave me to enjoy my prior deliveries. All the women I've talked to who were around before epidurals wish they had been given the chance to have them.

Mind you, I survived. But I didn't enjoy -- not in the least bit. It didn't feel natural, it didn't give me a rush, it didn't give me any connection with my ancestors, and it didn't make me proud of my strength (even though they all commented I had done so well it was like I had planned "natural" all along). Nope. It made me sad to know how much I disliked this delivery in contrast to the wonderful experiences I had been blessed with during my prior three deliveries. I was hot, sweaty, in pain and didn't even care to see my little guy after he was born because of my pain. If that's natural, then I'll stick with unnatural and advise every woman I know to do the same!

(And Rebecca, if you actually read this blog against my advice, then just know that I'm praying for your platelets to stay up so you can have an epidural, too!)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

More Austin pics

I came home yesterday and am loving being home. I'm also so happy to have a healthy, happy new baby in our lives. Austin barely cries -- once in a while he squeaks to show us he's unhappy, but I think I've only heard him actually cry a few times. I can't imagine that will last ...

Anyway, I thought I'd post a few more pics from the hospital that better show off our new little guy.

Here I am with my kids. I feel so blessed. I seriously can't believe in less than 10 years of marriage we have this:

I will always cherish this picture. We had a nurse take a couple of the whole family, but they didn't quite work. But this one of me and my kids? Priceless.

Austin is following in his siblings' foot steps by having the most beautiful eyelashes. If they stay dark like Tyler's, then he'll get lots of compliments. Poor Tyler likes his glasses to be down a little bit so his eyelashes don't hit them. They definitely get that from Paul and not from me. Zachary's and Shayla's are also as long, but since they're blonde most people don't notice them. Anyway, it looks like Austin will follow the trend and have his own beautiful eyelashes. (Click on the image to enlarge if you need to see what I mean.)

As I was holding Austin in the hospital I guess he decided to show off how strong his neck is. Fortunately Paul grabbed the camera and caught this cute picture:

My older kids have been so concerned about Austin's cracked and dry hands. They can't understand why they look that way. Hopefully they'll look better soon.

Here's Austin with his Backyardigans Austin I mentioned before. It's a little bigger than a normal Beanie Baby, but look how huge it looks next to my little cutie:

And this is for Grandma -- remember how small Kylen was when you left? Well, just look at him now next to his new cousin ...

Friday, March 26, 2010

Austin Luke Brown

Austin Luke joined the Brown family yesterday at 3:25 p.m. He weighed 7 lb. 3 oz. (PERFECT!), is 19 inches, and has lots of brown hair (although not as much on top :). We're grateful he's here healthy and happy.

The connection at the hospital isn't so great, so I can only upload this one picture! But it's sure a cutie:

Welcome, baby Austin. We love you already!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Beautiful Kimmie

My niece Kimmie gets baptized in one week! We're so happy for her. We won't be able to attend her baptism for two reasons: 1) We'll be busy with our new little Austin; and 2) She's driving to Omaha so Grandpa Palmer can be the one to baptize her.

Congrats, Kimmie. We love you and are so happy that you are being baptized. We'll definitely celebrate when you get back. :)

In the meantime, here is little Miss Pretty in her baptism dress:

Cute Kylen

My niece's baby Kylen wasn't so happy to get his pictures taken. Actually, it might have been more that it was very cold outside where we started -- he was shivering and looking like us as we were nuts trying to get him to smile while it was snowing. Yes, snowing!

But he hung in enough for us to get some cute pics, even though he wasn't very smiley ...

Friday, March 19, 2010

New Palmer Grandsons

Mom, I figured you'd like an update on how your two newest grandsons are growing. So here goes:

Not good enough for you? How about this:

In other news, Shayla quickly lost the glasses she had and was very upset. She did this before the other kids even got home from school. When I asked the boys to help her find them, Tyler asked if they were real glasses. I said no. So, then he holds out his empty hands and says, "Shayla! Look! I found your glasses!!!" It was so cute. I had to be a little more specific that they aren't real glasses, but they are real frames.

In any case, the next day we headed to the dollar store and got some more glasses. Here she is showing them off, as well as how she says "I love you" with her hands:

And then -- as I expected -- we found the other glasses. I knew we would, but now we have two pairs. You'd think this means we can have one be a back-up pair, but why not just wear them both at once? This totally eliminates the need for any barrettes or bows:

I am truly surprised at how much she wears glasses -- I expected it to last only a day or two. We get some funny looks in public, and one little girl asked why they didn't have glass in them, but as long as Shayla is happy with them then so am I. :)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Birthday fun and an Austin for Austin

Today was Paul's birthday, and it was a nice, relaxing day (at least for me). It wasn't a typical "big day" celebration -- he didn't get presents to open (we got him a great tool box a couple of weeks ago and that's all he got), and he didn't get a birthday cake (since I took cupcakes to his work for him and his coworkers instead). He also didn't go to work, which was the first time I think he's ever taken his birthday off to celebrate. We got a BOGO free offer to Tucano's Brazilian Grill, so we went there for lunch, much to his delight. Hopefully it was a great day for him ... but with all-you-can-eat delicious meat, I think he was in heaven. :)

In other non-news, we got a stuffed animal for Austin that I'm excited about. With each of my kids, I've taken a picture on the day of their birth each month for the first year to watch their growth. With Shayla we got smart and threw in a stuffed animal with her each month so you can see her growth in comparison to something that doesn't grow. We found a cute Beanie Baby for her, as you can see:

So, last weekend Paul and I went to Hallmark to check out the Beanie Babies. No luck -- there wasn't even one we thought was partially cute enough to buy. So what to do? I was thinking maybe we would just get a toy truck or something.

Then Shayla and Zachary came to the rescue. Shayla decided to watch the Backyardigans, and Zachary pointed out that the kangaroo is named Austin. Funny thing is that Shayla has been telling me this for months to no avail. She'd play Backyardigans games online, and she kept saying, "Mommy, they said Austin!" I thought it was so cute that they were saying "awesome" and she thought they were saying "Austin." Turns out she was right and I was wrong -- they were saying Austin!

So, there's an Austin on the Backyardigans. I told Paul we had to find the Beanie Baby Austin and order him asap. Time is short, people, so we had to pay for two-day shipping. Why didn't I think of this sooner? But today Austin arrived. So, when our Austin arrives we can do our monthly pictures with this cute little guy:

He's not as cute as the moose, but since we didn't choose the name based on the show I guess we can't be too disappointed in that. :) And our Austin will love him for the name alone. Other than that, we've just got to get the changing table put together and finish packing our hospital bag and I think we're good to go. Crazy!

BTW, I finished 34 freezer meals. I just have to buy a little more spaghetti sauce and I will have two more done. Phew! That was a lot of work but will be sooooooo worth it! And the recipes all smelled so great it was disappointing we weren't having them all for dinner Monday night! :)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Miscellaneous Monday

Today is my little bro Ryan's birthday. Happy birthday, bro, even though you never read my blog. :) I always am a little in awe when he has a birthday and he, my sister and I are all one age apart. Today Ryan turns 33, Rachel is 34 and I am 35. Mom, you were nuts! (Oh, and by the way, we are numbers four, five and six of eight kids.) Anyway, we don't get to see Ryan and his cute girls nearly enough because they live in sunny St. George -- so hopefully it's a sunny day for a great birthday.

Today I'm attempting to make 30 freezer meals in time for Austin's arrival. I was referred to a great book (thanks Liz!) called Dinner is Ready that has realistic recipes and looks like it won't be too hard. Maybe I should wait to say that AFTER I'm done preparing all the meals. :) Anyway, it will be interesting to see how they turn out and if we really like them. I'm not big on most left-overs, so I'm hoping they don't taste like them. But if they tasted that way I doubt I would be hearing how great this book is. I'll let you know.

I'm also fearful that Austin will come this week. Not that I want to stay pregnant or anything, and not that I feel like he's not ready -- but Hilary is out of town. What's up with that? She's our on-call videographer. But today she left for California and won't be back until Sunday. So once again, I guess we'll see what happens. You know how it is with babies -- no idea when they're coming! If Austin came the exact same time as Shayla, that would be this Wednesday (which is Paul's birthday). If he came the same time as Zachary, I'd have another month. Crazy. But my doctors are very cautious with my gestational diabetes history and age (gasp -- so old!) that they actually don't even want me to make it to 40 weeks. So if I haven't gone into labor by 39 weeks we'll get to some induction.

My knitting is coming along great. Good thing I'm doing an easy hat. :) I started with a pattern from a book, but the baby hat was definitely too big, even though my gauge was pretty much right on. I ended the hat shorter than the pattern called for because I had enough practice and didn't figure I'd waste any more time. I just didn't expect it to be this big:

Here's the funniest thing about this hat: I used some old yarn I had bought long ago -- maybe 10 years. I had always meant to crochet a blanket out of it and actually started one, but I never got around to finishing it. So, I pulled it out so I wouldn't have to buy new yarn to learn to knit. One day as I was knitting I looked down and couldn't believe it:

Yes, the yarn is exactly the same as the maternity sweater I was wearing! I don't remember where I got either one, but it was funny to realize. The kids got quite a kick out of it.

So, since the first one was so big I did it 2/3 as big for the next one. I also changed the ribbing since I didn't like how it was on the first one. So basically at this point I was turning to my own pattern. Turns out that made it very small, and perfect for Shayla's American Girl doll:

So, on the next one I decided I'd make it bigger, but I played around with how I reduced it since I was no longer following a pattern. I don't like how the shape turned out, but it's getting closer:

I'm still fine-tuning exactly how I want this little guy's hat to turn out, but I'm also running out of time. Needless to say, when I post pictures of him in a cute little hat, you all better appreciate its cuteness (as well as Austin's! :).

Saturday, March 13, 2010

New Glasses

Did I mention that I was getting new glasses? I rarely do (I'm too cheap), but I decided to go for it since it's been a while. :) In any case, Shayla insists that she also have new glasses, too. So I popped out the lenses of some sunglasses I had for her (but hadn't given her) and she was giddy with her new look:

Then she also insisted on taking a picture of me in my new glasses. Don't they look great?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Zachary's program

Zachary had a first-grade program last night, which was pretty cute. He had a speaking part and did pretty well. It was chaos, though, because there are seven first-grade classes, and this was the only "family" showing of the program. Can you imagine families of 150+ students trying to pile in the gym to watch? They didn't have enough chairs set up, so a bunch of us got to stand the whole time. Paul got some fun shots, though ....

Here he is smiling at Paul (center in red):

Here he is singing right before his speaking part. (He said, "I have allergies and I'm a blow fish.)

Mom -- We've got plenty on video for you to check out when you get home, especially the part where he gets mad at the kid behind him for hitting him in the head every time he waved his banner. I was so glad I caught that -- it was hilarious ... But here's a teaser of the kid just getting ready to whack him (by mistake, of course):

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Spring Snow

My kids loved the snow last week. So did a lot of neighborhood kids -- we invited over four and ended up with something like eight ... :)

Here are my cuties enjoying what I hope is their last snow play of the year:

Shayla was insistent that she make a snow angel. Doesn't work well when all the kids have made footprints everywhere. But she can try anyway. Didn't it look great? :)

Flags pics

Paul and I could be a great photography team. I have an eye for good pictures, but he totally gets how to use our camera better. I just haven't devoted the brain power to figuring it out. In any case, he got some great pics of Becca at her flags competition last weekend. Turns out her team was good enough to be moved up a division. With this change you'd expect them to come in last place (since the others in the new division have been in that division all along), but the team came in fourth place! Way to go Becca (and team)!

She's back center in this one:

Far right in this one:

Here's the team after their performance:

Thursday, March 4, 2010

They say you'll know ...

... but I didn't. At least not the first time. Or the second. Or actually the third, for that matter. So why when you read books or take pre-natal classes do they say, "You'll know when labor is real."

Not to make it sound like my labors have been a day at the park. I have been blessed with good deliveries and not-so-bad labors (thanks to epidurals), but I haven't yet known once that I was in labor in the first hours.

With Tyler I went in to be induced. Not to be hooked up to pitocin like many are, but to get a cream put on my cervix to soften and thin it. I went in Tuesday morning expecting to stay at the hospital and come home with a baby. But it didn't work, so they sent me home and told me to come back the next day. (The only thing that kept me from getting totally depressed was a VERY surprise visit from my parents who had spent the whole day in the car to drive up and meet Tyler.) However, that night I started having pains. They started every two minutes, so it couldn't possibly be real labor, right? We called, and they said to take a hot bath and to relax to see if they would go away. (Then again, I was a week late, so why would I want them to go away? :) When the contractions didn't stop, they said to come in and they'd check me out. Turns out I was in labor. But with contractions starting every two minutes? Crazy ...

So with Zachary I'd know, right? I mean, I'd been through this before. He was overdue (depending on if you went by the original due date or the ultrasound due date, and I went by the original due date), but I hadn't felt a thing. In fact, Easter day came and went and I realized I hadn't really felt him move all day. That freaked me out, so we arranged to go to the hospital to be checked. We got a babysitter for Tyler and headed in. While we waited for the babysitter to arrive, though, I started having contractions every five minutes. By the time we got to the hospital (1 hour later) they were every four minutes. They monitored Zachary to make sure all was well, and by they time they were done contractions were every three minutes. Even the nurses weren't convinced it was real labor, though, since I was dilated to like a 1, if even that. They said I could wait for an hour and see what happened. Contractions were now every two minutes, but they still weren't convinced. It was at this point and told Paul to make overnight arrangements for Tyler and to call Hilary, our videographer. The good news is that while Paul was on the phone with Hilary my water broke. I knew that meant they wouldn't send me home. YES! My water hadn't broken ever with Tyler, so I was surprised that it felt like a total explosion. I actually thought something was very wrong until I realized it was just my water breaking.

So now I was a pro at this, right? Apparently my contractions just start quick and close together. With Tyler it didn't mean a short labor (19 hours, I think), but with Zachary it did. And shorter was definitely more intense -- I was frantic when my contractions were overlapping (one wouldn't finish by the time the next one came) and I was dilated to only a four. But my epidural saved the day. So now I've been through a couple I've got it, right? Apparently not ...

Like I mentioned, Tyler was one week late and Zachary was almost two weeks late. So I was always late. Then two weeks and one day before Shayla's due date I got up to use the bathroom at something like 4 a.m. I walked into the bathroom and didn't make it. I was so surprised. How in the world did I just wet my pants? Wait ... did my water just break? That felt NOTHING like it did when it broke when I had Zachary. Is that possible? This seriously just felt like I wet my pants. So I cleaned it up and went back to bed.

A couple of hours later I felt a few small contractions and figured maybe I better go check to make sure my water hadn't broken. But I figured it really wasn't -- after all, I don't go into labor early, and it felt so totally different than when my water broke before. Guess what? My water had broken. (Phew! I didn't just wet my pants. :) And I got my epidural nice and early so I barely felt much pain at all. That was the most enjoyable labor I can ever imagine.

So, now I wonder once again -- will I know when I go into labor?

I tend to think I'm somewhat smart in certain areas, but my three kids thus far have proven going into labor isn't one of those areas! Maybe we'll see if that changes with this little guy ...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


So I mentioned on Facebook that my little Austin regularly gets the hiccups lately. One of my friends said her OB was so glad she recognized the hiccups, because he had one mom call him frantic saying her baby was having seizures inside of her. That made me laugh.

It also made me think back to a paranoid couple we took a prenatal class with when we were expecting Tyler. They asked why some of their clothes said "Not intended for sleepwear." The teacher explained that jammies have to meet certain anti-inflammatory requirements to be considered sleepwear. This freaked them out! "So, do we have to change them into jammies for every nap?" Can you imagine changing a newborn in and out of jammies all day to meet this requirement -- Oh no! The baby fell asleep in his normal clothes. I'm exhausted, and I'm scared stiff he'll wake up if I change him, but we can't possibly let him sleep in clothes that aren't intended for sleepwear!!!

But we all have our paranoias. My sister worked at a pediatrician's office for a bit and couldn't believe some of the calls they got. The one that still cracks me up is the lady who freaked out because she found her baby chewing on a stuffed animal and later saw on the tag "Made in Mexico." She was sure her baby was going to have all kinds of diseases. They asked if she had purchased it in Mexico, and she said she had bought it at Walmart. They assured her that she didn't need to bring the baby in to be examined -- that the baby was going to survive, and that any germs/bacteria/virus would have died in the amount of time it took to ship and get stocked at Walmart.

So those are funny to me, but as moms do we all have to get paranoid about something? When we lived in Washington I often thought about the layout of our house and how it would be a real nightmare if someone broke in since we had a jack-and-jill bathroom set-up. I would sit there and think that if someone broke a window to get in, then I'd have Paul run in the boys' room and lock himself in with them while I locked our bedroom door (so I could access the phone), and then I'd also have to run through the master bath, the shower room, and the other bathroom to lock that door (since they all lead in a circle back to the master bedroom -- probably too confusing to understand unless you knew my house). What a paranoid thought when you're trying to get to sleep! But I'd think it often to make sure I knew the plan -- just in case ...

Fortunately since moving here I don't worry about someone breaking in (interesting, since most of my kids sleep in the basement and I'm two floors above in my room). Nope, here I worry about someone snatching them if I let them play alone out front. I live in a very safe neighborhood and know 99 percent of the neighbors. Yet somehow I'm just paranoid about the weirdo who happens to drive through on the one day I let my child play outside unattended. Man, my kids are deprived. All I had to do was tell my mom approximately where I'd be and that I'd be home in time for dinner and all was well ...

So, can you be a mom without having paranoias? Am I the only one who has been sure that my husband has met some horrible fate when he's late coming home from work? I always thought my mom was overreacting when she mentioned things like that, but maybe she was just being a mom!

Monday, March 1, 2010

New looks and fun fieldtrip

Well, I promised a few pics of some new looks around here. First of all is Becca, who got her hair chopped a bit about two weeks ago. (Normally she's not wearing this big red flower, but we were taking pics for her flags ...) Anyway, I convinced Alyssa (my niece) to chop off more than she was going to, which made Becca nervous. However, now that she's gone to school and gotten lots of compliments, she loves it:

The other new look is Tyler in his new glasses:

When I first told him I thought he needed glasses he was very unexcited. However, after the exam when we started trying them on, he got excited that they had Avatar brand glasses. I have no idea how he knew that cartoon, but he LOVED what he found. So he was excited to start wearing them. He came home the first day and I asked how it went. He said a girl in his class (who also wears glasses) said he looked like a geek in his new glasses. Sigh. I told him she was probably just jealous that his glasses are so cool. Then the next day he came home and said the same girl had said (when they were supposed to make nerdy faces for a pic) that he already looks like a nerd in his glasses. REALLY?!? When do you keep letting it slide and when do you intervene?

I decided to not let it pass anymore, because he had been excited about his glasses until this point. I sent an e-mail to the teacher (since I don't have contact info for the parents) and gave her a heads up about what had happened. I figured she could handle it from there, and there haven't been any incidents since. Let's hope it stays that way!

Anyway, Tyler's Wednesday was very exciting. In addition to his new glasses, he got to go on a field trip -- ice-skating for the first time! They let parents come, too, so that was fun. A couple of women were dying that I was hopping onto the ice 8 months pregnant. Seriously, does anyone really fall forward if they fall? I was doing well until I had to keep helping Tyler and he got REALLY heavy ...

I had to leave the ice pretty quickly since he was hanging on me and making my stomach hurt, but fortunately when I left the ice right when they were pulling out these nifty things to help the kids:

I grabbed one and took it to Tyler, who had a lot more fun with it. He still is no ice-skater by any means, but at least he could get away from the wall without falling. (Not that this prevented him from falling altogether, but it was a lot less ...)

Tyler also had pack night (blue and gold banquet) that night, but I didn't get a picture of him with his decorated cake. (I was busy with Shayla at the doctor -- she had two ear infections and pneumonia only three days after finishing an anti-biotic for one ear infection the week before.)

In any case, we had a fun and then lazy week (since I couldn't go anywhere with a child with pneumonia). Perfect!