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Apr 30, 2009

Operation: Emancipation

When I was assigned partial bed rest thirty days ago, I never imagined that I'd survive it. But survive I have -- baby intact, no less -- and the light at the end of the tunnel is drawing nigh. On Monday I will reach 37 weeks, when I can get out of bed and do a jig!

During the month of April I have been so grateful for the helping hands and kind hearts that have made my life easier. While every service was a blessing, I have especially enjoyed having clean bathrooms and hand-delivered, home-cooked meals. Since I can't bottle up a freshly scrubbed bathroom for safe keeping, I've decided to attempt the next thing on the list: dinners.

So I'm currently conspiring to make Monday my cooking day and fill my freezer with as many dinners as I can. I have a few ideas, some recipes, and a loose plan, but I imagine that some of you out there have more experience with such an effort than this kitchen slacker.

If you have a recipe that you know freezes well, doesn't contain sea creatures, and isn't complicated, would you please email me (heidi@thebartles.com)? I'd really appreciate it...and so would my family, who will undoubtedly grow tired of the cereal/sandwiches/burritos routine we'll fall into if I don't follow through with this plan!

Wish me good fortune with such an ambitious endeavor. With a little luck, I'll fill up my freezer, clean up the mess, and go into labor!

Apr 28, 2009

Track star

Zachary joined a running club at his new school earlier this month. The kids only practice once a week but Zach loves it! Last night was the team's first race against other elementary school Land Sharks teams in the area. I stayed home with the younger boys because it was freezing outside and I felt icky, but I'm sad that I missed Zachary's running debut.

Zach ran the 400 meter distance (1/4 mile) with a big group of first graders (about 40, both girls and boys). He was ecstatic to win second place! Garry said that Zach was in the outside lane and didn't cut over quickly enough in the final stretch to beat the first-place finisher, but strategies like that will come with experience. Zach was excited to share his "Champion" ribbon with his class today since he is the Star of the Week. He's definitely a star in our family!



Waiting for the race to begin.

video
A short video of the beginning of the race. What a strong stride!

Getting guidance on where to finish.

In the finisher's chute.

Apr 26, 2009

Making a memory

Will I always remember this day, the day Gavin figured out how to open doors?

Or this weekend, when he remembered his climbing skills that enable counter access, discovered the hall closet, removed the letter "a" from the laptop keyboard, delighted in untying his bib and discarding the booster tray during every meal, and in general produced such a surge of mischievous behavior that I literally wondered if I would lose my mind?

Probably.

But will I also remember how Gavin turns his cheek and presses it against mine when I ask him for a kiss? How he leans out of Daddy's arms and says "Mama" in such a contended, happy when when he sees me? How he pats my tummy (and sometimes other parts of me) and says "baby" with such sweet affection? The excited face he makes when in the midst of an adventure? How he giggles maniacally when tickled? The way he cuddles with Russell the bear and derives such happiness from his constant companionship?


I hope so.

I've spent a lot of time lately wondering how the arrival of Baby Girl is going to affect our family -- from the kids' reactions and behavior to daily schedules and my own mobility -- and I've come to the conclusion that we're all going to be okay. But little Gavin, current Prince of Bartle Palace, is soon to be dethroned. Will he know my heart still has room for him, that my arms can still hold him, my life still has time for him?

He's so young. He's so small. He's had such a short stint as The Youngest in the Family. I'm sure that's why I wonder, why I worry and fret about his tender little heart. But pretty soon all of Gavin's littleness will seem so grown-up, so mature, so advanced in comparison to an infant whose dependence on me will be complete.

In no time at all, I'm sure my independent little boy will remind me that life goes on, changes and all. He'll just go on making messes, getting into trouble, and melting my heart. And that's when I'll know he'll be okay.

Apr 25, 2009

Happy Valentines Day to me

This year my thoughtful hubby gave me a most excellent Valentines Day present: a gift certificate for a pedicure. I told him I'd save it until I was hugely pregnant, couldn't reach my feet, and my tootsies were in a sad state.

Since my swollen feet are sore most of the time now and my nail polish is perpetually chipped, I opted to schedule my pampering appointment for this morning. Ooooh...it did not disappoint!

While Garry was braving 39-degree Portland-style weather to build a gate and the boys ran about like hooligans, I sat in a warm and cozy massage chair and let a kind soul soak, scrub, and rub my feet. As Garry dealt with naps and snacks and broken vacuums, I relaxed and enjoyed every second of my quiet, peaceful hour in the salon. Ah, bliss.

Because I've been pampered like this before, I expected to enjoy this little indulgence. What's not to love about foot rubs and professionally painted toenails? But today I reveled in an additional luxury: conversing with a real live adult human, one-on-one, for an hour. It was absolutely lovely.

So Garry, thank you....from the bottom of my toes all the way up to my heart.

Apr 24, 2009

Finished at last

Last fall, when we learned another Bartle baby was on its way, I blogged about my gratitude for an unused fifth bedroom. When we moved in, it looked like this:

Blah. Functional, but BLAH.

Among the many things that are exciting (to me) about having another child is the opportunity to redecorate. I'm the first to acknowledge that this "opportunity" is not only unnecessary, but it can be costly, time-intensive, and frustrating...not to mention completely unappreciated by the offspring for whom it is created. But it can be pretty fun, too, and that, of course, is why I do it.

Since I posted pictures of Baby Girl's room the other week, I've been working on the finishing touches for Gavin's new living space -- the afore-mentioned fifth bedroom. This morning I put the final stitch in his crib quilt, ironed his valance, and picked up his toys (the only reason being I wanted to take some pictures). So here are Gavin's digs. Nothing says "I love you" to a one-year-old like bedroom accessories, right? Ha ha.

It's amazing what paint on walls and baseboards plus new blinds did for the room.

I recovered the red "I" for the wall letters and made a quilt
to match the twin blanket Gavin got for Christmas from Grandma.
I also made the pillowcase and crib skirt, but bought the sheet.

A warning to all you real quilters out there: don't look too closely.
This is my first pieced quilt, and all of that top stitching is imperfect at best.

That said, I'm happy with the outcome, and it was a great project
for a bed-ridden mama. The quilt is big enough
to function
as a bedspread when we convert the crib to a toddler bed.


There's not much space (or money) for a dresser in this room,
so I re-purposed these plastic bins that used to hold all of my
paper scrapbooking supplies. It works for now.


I'm really glad this project is done. That quilt has been on my mental list for months (I chucked the paper list when bed rest arrived...too much pressure). Someday, when I have my wits about me again, when I can be mobile and bend and lift and stretch without risking someone's health, when the dust settles after Baby Girl's arrival and I feel like entering Project Mode again, I have big plans for a home decor project that's just for me: curtains for my kitchen. But as I have learned lately, this too shall wait, ever so patiently, until I'm good and ready.

Apr 23, 2009

Random photos of the week

These snapshots won't win any awards,
but they capture some fun moments from our week.


Our back yard play structure was the hub of neighborhood activity
on Monday and Tuesday, when school was out
for literacy testing and the weather was fabulous.
We even had a family picnic for dinner, which spiced up boring leftovers.


I am a giant. I cannot reach my feet, and they are giant, too.
{Thanks for the fun photo idea, Krista!}


As promised, my first tulip bloom {does anyone else even care?}.
This delightful splash of color arrived Thursday.
I find myself peeking out my kitchen window to check on it. It just makes me happy.


Thursday was crazy hat day AND bring-your-lunch-to-school day at preschool.


April 1 marked five years at Wells Fargo for Garry.
He got this nice {blurry} letter and a commemorative pin.
Too bad getting an "oops" ten-year pin doesn't mean a bigger salary and more PTO.


Last week's storm brought lots of wind
that knocked down a few sections of our back yard fence.
Garry rebuilt/reinforced it during a couple evenings this week.
He has Saturday plans to build and install a gate from our back yard
to the greenway. We're excited about that!


Little Gavin thought it would be fun to get himself a snack.
See the little green bowl he was trying to fill?
This mess was worse than emptying a new bag of sliced bread,
but not as bad as shattering a glass cereal bowl, which he did last week.

Apr 22, 2009

Springtime promises

Coming soon to a blog near you...

the first *real* tulip
of the season.



Followed shortly thereafter by many, many others!



Also on the horizon: green grass.
But first, the dog-poop look (aka aeration).

[If you're local and you want the same look for your lawn, I know a guy.
He did our whole yard for thirty-five bucks.]



Welcome, Spring!

Apr 21, 2009

Advice from the children

The other day I was hunting for a very specific photo of Zachary launching a sponge at a ward camp-out.

I didn't find it.

However, in my search I discovered this gem of a family newsletter from August 4, 2007. It delighted me so much I thought I would share. Incredibly, the things I was learning about myself and my family that week were things I needed to re-learn this week.

My kids are awfully insightful.

Apr 20, 2009

Today

Some days my challenges seem unbearably hard, depressing, impossible. I get bogged down and feel fuzzy and can't figure out what I'm doing or where I'm supposed to be going. Nothing makes sense and I lose sight of the goal. I feel very alone. But then, just when I think I can't possibly handle another step on my life journey, a more experienced guide takes my hand or a piece of the road map falls into my path or a kind traveler offers to carry one of my bags.


Today, after a season of wandering, I feel like I've found my road again. Today I feel less confused. Today the goals seem more clear, the destination less obscure. Today my boots fit, my walking stick is ready, my burden is lighter, and I actually want to keep moving.

Today I'm grateful for the messages of hope and direction that have so recently floated into my ears, through my mind, and across my email inbox. I'm grateful for the many, many hands that are blessing my family in practical, tangible ways. I'm also grateful for the intangible -- yet so very palpable -- prayers and hopes on our behalf from those less close to our abode. I'm grateful for the compassionate people in my world that have helped me walk away from responsibility in so many areas of my life without guilt. I'm grateful for the profound feeling of peace that has settled over me, helped me find my center, and encouraged me to be a better version of myself than I've been for a while.

Today I'm actually looking forward...to tomorrow.
It feels good.

photo courtesy rubymountains.net

Apr 18, 2009

Frightful, yet delightful

Oh, the weather outside is...
ridiculous.

This is April, people!

The boys don't seem to mind, though.

They've had a blast.


Dad even took Zach and Ty sledding at the middle school.

How cool is that?


Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Apr 17, 2009

Warning: looooong weekend ahead

Right now, this is me:


Our area is under a winter storm warning.
At least a foot of snow is expected.
School has been canceled in anticipation
of yet another April blizzard.


And I'll be home with three yahoos for five long days.

You see, Monday and Tuesday are district-wide "literacy testing days,"
which means school is out then, too. Throw in a snowed-in weekend
and we've got a recipe for climbing walls.


Hopefully I don't go into labor!

Apr 16, 2009

Talents shown

The second annual Colorado Springs Ninth Ward talent show (held last Friday evening) was a rip-roaring success! Thanks to my recently-bolstered committee, I enjoyed the role of organizer/facilitator and barely lifted a finger. I did walk too much throughout the evening, but the ensuing contractions dissipated when I got in bed after the show. Little Miss is staying put.

Ward members of all ages performed quite a variety of talents. Among my favorites were a family that offered a hoe-down-style instrumental number called "Orange Blossom Special," a group of teenagers who did swing dancing, a boy who played a virtual drum, and, of course, my own children, whose dancing and pogo numbers were delightful!

Tyler danced to "Upside Down" by Jack Johnson, which is featured on the movie Curious George. Although some of his signature moves didn't appear in his performance, he pulled out some new ones that we just found hysterical. Please be patient with my atrocious camera work and the poor quality video. I shot it with our little digital camera and I was laughing so hard the image is far from steady.

video

Later in the show, Zachary jumped on his pogo stick to a clip from the "William Tell Overture." It was a great length for the show, but Zach clearly could have jumped for a lot longer! On Thursday when he was practicing he did 350 consecutive jumps!

video

The next video is of the piano duet I played with Lori Miller, a friend in our ward. We played a piece called "Nola," which I originally learned with my mom way back in the day.

video

Garry's special talent for the evening was wrangling/entertaining the Gavinator, whose patience for a two-hour show that began at his bedtime waned early. At the end of the evening, an exhausted Daddy moaned, "Do I really have to do church with this child in just two days?" Answer: yes. And he did. It was exhausting. Garry's talents are also responsible for editing the videos for posting here.

The final number of the evening brought the house down. The bishopric (the ecclesiastical leaders of our congregation) sang "I'm a Believer" by the Monkees. These guys were such great sports! Our bishop is the man in the middle with the fabulous hat and sunglasses. What you don't see in the video is that all of their wives were sitting on the edge of the stage, the objects of their husbands adoration.

video

Talent displays were part of the activity, and our boys participated here, as well. Tyler displayed some of his recent drawing and coloring projects, and Zachary displayed ten paper airplanes from his collection. We were impressed with our boys' creativity!



And so passed the last ward activity before my baby's birth. I'm relieved to have gotten through it. I think it's ironic that, in my relief, I spent Friday night dreaming about the next activity scheduled for June 6! Can't a girl catch a break?

Apr 15, 2009

More than you ever wanted to know

This is a fun tag I saw on a fellow pregnant mommy's blog. (Thanks for helping me pass the morning, Colleen.) Probably TMI for some people, but lots of fun for others. Consider yourself warned! :)


1.Were your pregnancies planned?
Z: Planned, prayed for, cried over, waited for, etc., etc. for 2 1/2 years. Required more fertility assistance than I care to remember.
T: 14 months of the above. Completely gave up for 5 months. I trained for a marathon and got pregnant the week of the race. Couldn't figure out why I was barfing for a month. Ta-da!
G: Started trying when T was 9 months old. Lots of medical drama, two failed pregnancies. Gave up. Went on vacation. Started barfing. Wahoo!
4: Total shocker. Gavin was 9 months old. I was taking the mini-pill. Couldn't figure out why I was falling asleep at 7 p.m. Had an "aha" moment, then a "you've got to be kidding" month. Given our history, considered it a miracle.

2. How long were you married at the time of birth?
Z: 3 years, 4 months
T: 5 years, 8 months
G: 9 years, 5 months
4: Just shy of 11 years

3. What were your reactions?
Thrilled. Surprised. Grateful. And nervous. Always
very nervous.

4. How did your spouse react?
Garry has always been great. Could have knocked him over with a feather the last two times, though.

5. How old were you?
Z: 22 1/2
T: almost 25
G: 28 1/2
4: probably just over 30 (if she hangs out a few more weeks)

6. How did you find out you were pregnant?
Pregnancy tests at home, always followed by laboratory blood tests monitoring my HCG levels for a few weeks.

7. Who did you tell first?
Garry, of course, and then my mom. Although this time my bishop knew before my mom did...I'd just been given a giant calling and was freaking out.

8. Did you want to find out the gender?
Absolutely. So glad my kiddos have cooperated.

9. Due Date?
Z: 10/24/01 - born 10/19/01
T: 2/27/04 - born 2/13/04
G: 12/13/07 - born 11/30/07
4: 5/25/09 - born ? but hopefully in May

10. Did you have morning sickness?
Z: Puked every morning
, but just the one time, for for four months. Was working full-time and slept on the floor in my office during breaks. Thought I felt like death warmed over...little did I know.
T: Threw up so much I lost 10-15 pounds the first trimester. Zofran helped by 16 weeks but I had wicked reflux from all the puke. Felt crummy until about 24 weeks.
G: Even sicker, even with Zofran. Had bad side effects from the medicine, had to get IV fluids once. Had a beautiful third trimester, though.
4: Hardest pregnancy, hands down, but managed a little better with strategic use of meds. Still taking Zofran almost every day.

11. What did you crave?
Not a huge craver. Had more aversions than cravings. With T&G, couldn't do dairy or peanut butter or meat for months. I love my sugar fixes, but I don' think those are pregnancy-related.

12. What irritated you the most?
Smells, bed covers, noise, heat.

13. What was the child’s sex?
Boy, boy, boy, girl!

14. Did you wish that you had the opposite sex of what you were getting?
No, but we were very surprised that T&G were not girls...we just had a feeling with those two.

15. How many pounds did you gain throughout the pregnancy?
Can't believe I'm admitting to this...
Z:
40 (lost it)
T: 40 (lost it)
G: 40 (lost all but 10)
4: 36 so far, with way too long to go!

16. Did you have a baby shower?
Z: Yes, at my in-laws' house in Nevada. It was unbelievable.
T: Nope.
G: Despite my vehement protests about having a third-boy shower, my friends threw a perfectly lovely "girls night get-together" on what turned out to be the night before Gavin was born.
4: Yes, two! One in Beaverton and one in Colorado Springs. I have awesome friends.

17. Did you have any complications during your pregnancy?
Z: None. It was a miracle pregnancy.
T: None after the morning sickness.
G: Concerns about a vericose vein and preeclampsia. Turned out fine.
4: Same as G, plus threat of early delivery, but so far, so good.

18. Where did you give birth?
Z: Orem Community Hospital; Orem, Utah.
T: Tuality Community Hospital; Hillsboro, Oregon.
G: St. Vincent Medical Center; Portland, Oregon.
4: Memorial North Hospital; Colorado Springs, CO (that's the plan, anyway).

19. How many hours were you in labor?
Z: Water broke at 1 a.m., labor started at 2 a.m., Z was born at 7:52 a.m.
T: Labor induced because I was freaked about Garry working an hour away. Pitocin started at 10:00 a.m., T was born at 1:00 p.m.
G: Not sure...went to the hospital on a hunch at midnight, was dilated to 7 cm. I was admitted, no questions asked. Contractions started around 1:00, G was born at 4:43 a.m.
4: Hoping for fast and "easy"... :)

20. Who drove you to the hospital?
Garry, every time. The drive with Zach was freaky, intense, and FAST. I wasn't in labor the other times!

21. Who watched you give birth?
Z: Garry, a veteran nurse, and a newbie nurse. The doctor who helped us conceive missed the delivery!
T: Garry, Dr. Flemmer, and nurses.
G: Garry, Dr. Joe On-Call, and nurses.
4: The plan: Garry, Dr. Christenson, and nurses.

22. Was your baby delivered the regular way or by c-section?
The regular way. Hopin' for 4/4.

23. Did you take medicine to ease the pain?
Z:
Begged for an epidural upon arrival (at 5 cm), hospital had lost my pre-registration paperwork. Went from 5-10 while Garry filled it out and got the epidural. Glad I had it; pushed for 2 hours.
T: Got the epidural before the pitocin. Didn't feel a thing...for eight hours.
G: Got a light epidural before real labor started. It was perfect.
4: The plan is to repeat scenario G.

24. How much did the baby weigh?
Z: 7 lbs 15 oz
T: 7 lbs 12 oz
G: 8 lbs 11 oz
4: ? current estimated weight: 4.5-5 lbs

25. What did you name your children?
Zachary Todd
Tyler James
Gavin Drew
Big Fat Question Mark

26. How old are your children today?
Z: 7 years, 6 months
T: 5 years, 2 months
G: 1 year, almost 5 months :)
4: 34 weeks, 2 days

Apr 14, 2009

Be still my heart

I realize this is my third post of the day, but I could not resist.

I just picked up a phone message from the assistant principal at Zachary's new elementary school. My heart skipped a beat when I heard him say his name, since the message was a couple hours old and I worried something scary had happened. But he quickly assured me everything was fine. The next part of his message just blew me away.

Mr. Fabey was simply calling to tell me that he thinks Zach is wonderful. He had just been out on the playground and witnessed Zachary holding the door open as his class filed in from recess. Zach was being so friendly and polite. Mr. Fabey has apparently heard a lot about Zach in the last couple of weeks, and all of it has been so positive. He thanked me for bringing such a great kid to that school.

And then he hung up, probably having no idea that the mommy who listened to that message would cry for a full ten minutes.

Just yesterday I was moaning to my mom about having a hard day with the kids, and she assured me that the pay days would come. This one came sooner than I expected.

{Not} nesting

During my perusals of family newsletter archives (see today's earlier post), I decided to find out what was going on in my life during the month before Gavin was born. I remember feeling great and being very productive, but I wondered if those memories were simply born out of my current grumpiness at being bedridden and feeling utterly useless.

I was pleased to discover that my memory was accurate. Here's an excerpt from the November 10, 2007 issue:

We returned school photos to Young Learners Preschool on Tuesday, which made us feel like we'd finished a big race. There is still a reorder period, but in a couple of weeks this chapter of life will be closed for another year and we are glad.

The rest of the week was filled with projects, mostly to satisfy Heidi's insatiable "nesting" instincts. She finally made freezer jam from the berries she froze in June when she was too sick to think straight. 36 pints later, we are set for a long time! She finished a quilt, fixed ripped seams in bed pillows (thanks, boys), caught up the ironing, cleaned carpets in the whole house, and helped Garry prepare for and finish up the great office painting project. After five years of putting it off, we finally tackled painting the office. Garry did all the major labor in this monumental effort, which included moving desks, bookcases, and chairs, complex cabling for all of our electronics, and reorganizing both desks, not to mention the painting itself! The room is about 90% put together again and we are thrilled with the new olive green color.

It turns out that Heidi's nesting instincts were on target this week. Although her due date is 4.5 weeks out, her body shows signs of progress that point to the possibility of early delivery. Her doctor was also concerned about indications of preeclampsia. A panel of labs ruled that out for the time being, but Dr. Riley prescribed extra rest and suggested we watch out for a list of symptoms. We aren't particularly worried yet, but we're definitely getting our proverbial ducks in a row in case we get a November surprise!

Gavin was born November 30, which was two weeks before his due date. You can read the full account here, but the part that relates to this post is below. I was healthy and busy right up to (literally) the final hour!

Gavin was awfully considerate in his timing. He waited just long enough for us to finish a lot of things this week, like home and visiting teaching, final piano lessons [I had 10 students at the time], work obligations, photo orders, dental appointments, a Smart Cookies field trip, and even laundry and housework! Heidi was happy to attend a wonderful party in her honor on Thursday night, where she enjoyed the company of great friends, delicious food, and luxuries like a foot massage and mini-pedicure. She had only been home from the party half an hour when labor signs became apparent.

I guess that's why sitting around so much is driving me insane. The weekend before I got this "light duty" order, I bought a gallon of paint for the baby's bedroom walls, spray paint for a headboard, and material and curtain rods for some fabulous drapes for the kitchen and adjacent living area. I also pulled out the carpet cleaner so I could tackle the used-to-be-white carpet in the upstairs bedrooms. Sigh.

Instead of functioning in high gear like I'm used to, I sit and sleep and use the computer way too much. Nice ladies do my laundry, mop my floor, clean my bathrooms, and run to Costco for me. Garry handles dinner and evening childcare. I know I should be grateful for all of the service and appreciate so much down time, but it's really just making me crazy!

Three boys

There have been many times lately that Gavin has pulled a face or made a gesture that brought back strong memories of either Zachary or Tyler. So today, because I am bored out of my mind, I decided to look up photos of the older boys at Gavin's stage and see if these recollections are pure imagination or if Gavin really does look and act like his brothers did.

Our online archive of The Bartle Bulletin newsletters is a treasure trove of fun stories. At almost 17 months, Zachary was working puzzles, just learning to sleep well, still very attached to his binky, and had just learned to open door
s. At the same age, Tyler was learning to overcome stranger anxiety, chipped his second front tooth in a hotel swimming pool, and delighted everyone with fabulous impersonations of The Incredible Hulk.

After reading several issues of our old newsletter, I'm convinced that Zachary and Gavin are my two busiest toddlers, although Tyler gave me a run for my money at this age with all the climbing he did. Gavin is the best sleeper (probably because I learned a few things along the way) and the chubbiest of the three. But I'm a little surprised at how different the three boys look at the same age. There's no doubt these kids are brothers, but they definitely have their own looks!

The really interesting thing will be discovering what girly Bartle genes look like!

Apr 12, 2009

Easter at our house

Aside from the spring storm that dumped several inches of snow in our city today,
the Bartle family had a lovely Easter weekend.




Egg coloring was enjoyed by all.




Easter baskets were discovered, plastic eggs hunted,
and candy snarfed in copious quantities.





Biblical and Book of Mormon scriptures were read to refocus the holiday's true meaning. Obligatory photos of adorable children in festive clothing were taken with surprising ease and happiness.





Easter choir hymns were sung and musical numbers accompanied by Mom at church. Unruly boys were wrangled by Dad. A delicious dinner was prepared by Dad and consumed by all. Families were called and rests were taken.
The baby was put to bed early.

Most of all, the life and resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Savior, were remembered, celebrated, and appreciated.




How was Easter at your house?

pass it on!

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