Jan 31, 2011


One of the hardest parts about being sick is the impact on my family. Garry has to work so hard to keep up with the demands of our young children and the constant housework since I am basically out of commission. The kids don't get as much attention as they need and I don't have as much patience with their usual antics as I should. I try not to dwell on the guilt, and we all just do the best we can do.

Then, every once in a while, the kids make references to this experience that make me laugh out loud.

On Tuesday, the day I ended up in the ER, I was kind of a mess. At one point Gavin brought me a piece of Christmas candy he had scrounged up from somewhere. He said to me: "If I give you this candy, will you stop throwing up and crying?" Ha! What a tender soul. Gavin does not part with sugar very easily.

My mom said that yesterday, she and Zach were playing a game at the kitchen table. Their happy time together was briefly interrupted by the sound of me losing my lunch (or some other meal) in the bathroom down the hall. Granny made a sad face in Zach's direction. He said, "Yeah, she's gross." That just tickles my funny bone.

I realize that my kids' commentary on a tragic situation might not seem funny, but all I can do is laugh. I wonder how much the kids will remember from this time.....

Jan 29, 2011

On travel, opportunities, and miracles

I am so thrilled that I was well enough to travel this week. My trip to Utah was completely wonderful and amazing and incredible and lovely and....well, you get the idea. I loved being there and having such inspiring and joyful experiences.

The travel part wasn't so fabulous, with barf and delays and a serious wish for ruby slippers to magically transport me through time and space, but the fact that the activities for which I traveled were accomplished with such perfection is the miracle upon which I am choosing to dwell.


I arrived in Provo (via rental car) around 3:30 on Thursday. I met Garry's dad at his condo. He gave me the keys to his place and then drove to his home in Logandale for the weekend. I got settled in the silence and enjoyed a glorious nap on the couch. Then I pulled myself together and met my co-presenter for Women's Conference at The Olive Garden. I was a little early, and I laughed at myself as I waited for Christine to arrive. We had only exchanged a couple of emails prior to our meeting for dinner, and it felt a little like a blind date. Luckily, our meeting far surpassed any blind date I had ever experienced! Christine is lovely and we had an immediate connection. I feel lucky to work with her over the next few months, and I'm sure our friendship will extend beyond Women's Conference.

From there we went to the Women's Conference orientation on BYU campus. I haven't been on BYU campus for a few years, and I haven't been in the Conference Center for much longer. As I walked into the building a flood of memories washed over me. I was a daytime janitor for that building as a freshman. I was happy to be there under different circumstances!

The meeting itself was inspiring. In my sick state, it's hard for me to still my mind and heart enough to feel the Spirit, but that night my heart was wide open. Such a rush of peace and joy came as I listened to the speakers, one of whom was Barbara Thompson. It was during her message at the General Relief Society Meeting broadcast that I had thoughts about the missionaries talking to our friends. Listening to Sister Thompson again was wonderful, and I had a chance to share my experience with her when we were enjoying refreshments afterward.

The other overriding emotion I felt was excitement for the chance to participate as a presenter at Women's Conference. What an amazing opportunity! I am humbled and honored at the privilege, but also quite enthusiastic about the whole experience. Christine and I will be presenting Thursday, April 28 (my birthday!) during the first concurrent session of classes. Our classroom is huge (capacity: 400). It's all pretty mind-boggling.

That night I had trouble winding down for bed. My stomach was churning, but I was mostly hopped up on the energy I derive from being around people. (And that's such a rarity these days.) I ended up calling my sister, which was the perfect way to wind down and end the night.

I was thrilled to sleep in ( I an old lady or what?) on Friday. I studied my Women's Conference notes for a while, then packed up and headed to campus. First I hit the BYU Bookstore for a few souvenirs for my kiddos. Then I visited the Carl Bloch exhibit at the Museum of Art. It was amazing! My favorite work was "Christ Healing the Sick at Bethesda."

But the best part of the day was visiting my grandparents in Salt Lake City.

We had lunch together and then spent a couple of hours at their house. I loved listening to Grandpa talk about his life as a young adult in the service, meeting Grandma on a blind date, and living together as newlyweds. I cherished every story, every minute!

And now that I'm home again, my Mom is in town! Life is pretty excellent.

Jan 26, 2011


Last night I spent three hours in the ER getting IV fluids.

The back story is boring but graphic. Suffice it to say that I have vomited a lot lately. The nurse at my OB's office demanded a little excursion to the ER, so I complied. As ER visits go, it wasn't so bad. I was alone, the ER wasn't busy, and I jumped ahead of a few people because of my symptoms. I was in a bed within 15 minutes of my arrival, and I was home before my bed time.

The bummer is that a bag of fluids and IV Zofran didn't change my life. Oh, how I hoped they would! The road to August seems really long, so I'm just going to set my sights on noon today and see how it goes.

Jan 23, 2011


Last Thursday, Gavin and Lexi had a joint well-child check-up. I originally scheduled it for December 1, when Lexi was 18 months and Gavin was just three. But that turned out to be the week that Lexi needed antibiotic shots for ear infections, so we bumped it back two weeks. I have rescheduled twice since then. So on Thursday I dragged myself out of bed and took them to the doctor.

This wasn't our first joint check-up, but apparently we haven't figured out how to get through them smoothly. Luckily the kids' doctor is a gem and takes all the craziness with a grain of salt. I appreciate her compassion!

Gavin liked being weighed on the big scale and measured against the wall. This was also the first time a nurse had ever taken his blood pressure. I was impressed that he would hold still. Gavin weighs 37.8 pounds (90th percentile) and is 39.25 inches tall (90th percentile). His blood pressure was 78/54 (I'm assuming that's normal for his age).

Lexi wanted to be weighed on the big scale, but her half-pint status didn't allow it. The nurse took all her measurements in the exam room. She had to wait in a state of undress, but Gavin got a gown. Lexi weighs 21 pounds, 10 ounces (10th percentile) and is 31.25 inches tall (20th percentile). Her head circumference is in the 60th percentile.

Before the doctor came in, I had to fill out about 10 pages of developmental surveys for Gavin and Lexi. I was pretty surprised at some of the questions, but between that and my discussion with the doctor, I left feeling good about my kids' progress. Gavin and Lexi both chatted up a storm, climbed in and out of the cupboards, helped themselves to the water faucet and Band-Aids, and attempted to escape the room numerous times. Motor skills: check. Language: check.

And then came immunizations. Gavin only needed one, but Lexi, bless her heart, got five. Ouch. Some people might call me a hardcore mom for allowing five pokes in one visit. Maybe I am! I just know how hard it is to get out these days, so this appointment had to be a one-time deal. Lexi was brave.

Then the kids got dressed. We all bundled in coats and hats and gloves and boots.

I wasn't a bit surprised when Gavin and Lexi fell asleep on the way home.

After getting them in bed, I followed their lead. It was an exhausting morning.

Jan 21, 2011

While the cat's away....

Today Garry left for work before breakfast and I had to be ready to leave by 8:45. That meant I had to shower before taking the kids to school.

I always wonder what disaster awaits when I get out of the shower. Four kids "alone" in the house, left to their own devices for ten minutes....that's usually a recipe for disaster. I gave Zach and Tyler very specific instructions: (1) get dressed (no shorts!); (2) get backpacks ready; and (3) keep an eye on Gavin and Lexi.

When I emerged from my bedroom five minutes before school departure time, the boys were dressed in shorts and t-shirts (current temperature: 22 degrees), Zach couldn't find a shoe, and Tyler's homework was missing. The boys still got to school on time, but their departure wasn't a smooth process.

Then, a few minutes ago, I downloaded photos from my camera. I was expecting about 10. There were 66. What follows is a selection of photos taken by Gavin this morning while I was in the shower. With a three-year-old snap-happy brother following them around, no wonder Zach and Ty had trouble staying on task!

This photo documents the time, and also the fact that a Ziploc bag of medicine has been sitting on the top of the corner cabinet since, oh, September.

There were at least a dozen shots of the front room blinds:

Lexi was still in her pajamas, and rather aromatic to boot:

Proof that Gavin was there, too:

And so were his siblings:

Zach shows off his new sock (also known as missing shoe) and bare legs:

Who knows whose nose?

Tyler is a ham for the camera...and also kind of weird:

This is what the boys think of Mom's rules during shower time:

Jan 20, 2011

Authorized and otherwise

On Wednesday I was slow to clear the breakfast table. To be precise, breakfast dishes and foodstuffs (besides the milk) were still on the table at three in the afternoon. The Littles and I had lunch on the go after a morning of music class and errands, so it wasn't until the end of the school day approached that I decided to clean up.

Somehow I got detained en route and Lexi beat me to the task. Instead of putting away cereal boxes, clearing dishes, and wiping down the table, I had to clean up this:

The exercise required a vacuum and a bath tub.

The next day, the late-afternoon grumpies took hold and the Littles needed a project. I needed to talk to a real live adult human, so I prepared a simple activity for the kids and picked up the phone. Ironically, when given permission to finger paint with chocolate pudding, Gavin and Lexi balked. They wouldn't have anything to do with it. I quickly realized that finger painting wasn't going to happen, so I handed each kid a basting brush. Painting is fun, right? Especially when the paint is edible!

Wrong. Pudding painting lasted a grand total of five minutes. Hmph. I guess the kids like to generate their own ideas for messes. And making mischief behind Mom's back is always more fun.

Jan 19, 2011

20 months

Miss Lexi is 20 months old. I'm not really sure how that happened! I dressed her up this morning in preparation for some pictures to commemorate the special day (which was actually Sunday), but before I could get out the camera, she spilled grape juice down her shirt. Such is life with the girl who follows her mischievous big brother around like a puppy dog.

So included in this post are some darling pictures from last week. They are appropriate for marking her current age because they show some of her favorites. She loves baby Abby, Betsy the dog, playing in her bedroom, and wearing that particular outfit. If ever given a choice, Lexi always chooses the purple pants. I bought those pants (and a matching jacket) when I was pregnant with Tyler and convinced he was a girl. I found a shirt to go with them on a Christmas clearance rack. Thus Lexi's favorite outfit was born.

Lexi's vocabulary continues to amaze and entertain us. One of her most delightful words is "Alexis." She says each syllable very deliberately. She also says "breakfast," "Backidans" (for Backyardigans, her favorite TV show), and phrases like, "help me out," "take it off," "open this,"and "shoes on." Lexi has started to ask to go places, but she can't say "g" sounds. So I always hear, "Doh, Mommy, Doh." That's my clue that she desires to leave the premesis. We haven't had much of that lately.

Lexi has seen a lot of Mommy puking the last couple of weeks. I'm a pretty loud vomiter, so she always comes running when she hears me in the bathroom. She stands silently by until I'm finished, but when I'm done, she starts making retching noises of her own. When I look at her with a sympathetic eye, she says, "Mommy puke." I take comfort in the fact that she won't remember these days!

Lexi loves books. She still prefers reading them to herself, rather than sitting in my lap for a story, but I am pleased with her level of interest. She also enjoys puzzles and is working on her dexterity.

Nighttime sleep continues to be a problem. Lexi wakes up two or three times a night, usually inconsolable. Knowing her ears are fixed is a great relief, but the incoming eye teeth are giving her grief. Plus, she probably wakes up out of habit now. Garry spends a lot of time consoling her at night, but when it's my turn, she just comes to bed with me. Maybe when I am feeling better, we'll iron out better sleep habits for both of us.

Lexi absolutely adores her siblings. During the day she often cries for "Zachawy" and "Tywuh." When she wakes up in the morning or after a nap, she says "Damin" (Gavin) before "Hi, Mom." She loves running around with them, playing games with them, or convincing them to raid the fridge or pantry for her. She can't open doors yet, but that rarely stops her from getting what she wants!

Lexi loves the little trampoline in the basement. She is probably our most prolific jumper. She likes goldfish and raisins. She likes helping with the "wandwee" (laundry). She likes rocking in her rocking chair, pushing her babies in the stroller, wrapping her babies in blankets, music and dancing, changing her shoes ten times a day, and raiding Mommy's makeup. She's a darling little girl, and we're glad to have her!

Jan 17, 2011

We have a heart beat

This is our baby.

And he has a heart beat.

[I don't really know that the baby is a HE, of course.]

Pretty crazy that such a tiny thing can rock my world...
...and steal my heart.

Beat on, little heart. Beat on.

Jan 16, 2011

I'm a Mormon Mommy Blogger

I hopped over to my sister-in-law's blog this morning and found a link to this fascinating article about Mormon Mommy Bloggers. The author is a self-proclaimed "feminist atheist who can't bake a cupcake" and finds herself addicted to the culture she sees in a smattering of blogs authored by popular LDS mothers.

To me, the article was equal parts amusing and thought-provoking. In my view, the author's blogging sample set is pretty skewed. But as I read, I pondered why I blog, and, more importantly, why I have chosen a life as a wife and mother. My life isn't always the "shiny, happy" life that other bloggers portray, but it's a good life, and I'm glad to have it.

After reading the article, I responded (at the bottom of page 17 of the comments section) with the letter below. I would love to hear your perspective -- both of the article and my response.


Dear Emily,

I'm a Mormon Mommy blogger, and while my blog most certainly doesn't fall in the sugar-coating, craft-creating, perfect-life-portraying segment of the blogosphere you find so addicting, I hope it is uplifting. I'm a very real, very busy mom of four (going on five), and my blog is a slice of that very real life. But amidst the stories of the failed grocery shopping trip, the frustrating home improvement project, the recurring ear infections, and the husband's endless work hours, I share the beautiful moments, too. The unexpected "I love you" from a toddler, the family game night, the hilarious dinner conversation, the victory at school, the spiritual "a-ha" -- THOSE are the moments that make a mom's job so rewarding. I catalog them all (sometimes leaving out the worst and also the best).

I think most of my readers could be categorized like me: 30-something stay-at-home Mormon moms with a handful of kids. But if that's the only label we get, it's unfair. I am a woman of depth, of faith, of character, of humor, of wisdom. I have a brain and like to use it. I am choosing to apply what talents and skills and life experience I have to the rearing of a happy family. I'm devoting my efforts every day to the future of our society. You and I are just doing that in different ways.

As I blog, I don't aspire to convert anyone to my faith, but if a reader leaves my blog with a new thought or a happier heart, I feel like I have succeeded. If I can endow a fellow mommy (Mormon or not) with a greater sense of purpose when her shirt is covered in spit-up and her laundry pile reaches the ceiling, I'm pleased to do it. And if my kids have a thorough history of their daily family life to peruse when they are older, so much the better.

Thank you for your interesting perspective. I've got something new to chew on today.


Heidi Bartle


P.S. Emily, if you are reading this, I'd love for you to leave a comment!

Jan 13, 2011

survival mode

Life has shifted gears around here. We are cruising around at 3 m.p.h, windows rolled down, avoiding speed bumps, barf bag at the ready, and hoping to make it to the finish line intact. In this house, pregnancy never drives down Easy Street, but instead of focusing on the seven-plus remaining months as a whole, I choose to adopt the one-day-at-a-time mindset. Even that is a little daunting.

On Tuesday night, I listened to Elder Christofferson's CES Fireside address while I cleaned the kitchen in my pajamas. It was amazing, and exactly what I needed to hear. His message of hope and encouragement and taking life a tiny bit at a time lifted my spirits, and I am sure I will draw on his wisdom many times over the coming months.

For now, here a few glimpses of daily life in the slow lane.

First, I throw up often (well, 2 or 3 times a day seems often) and dry heave every few hours. I am constantly nauseated and the world spins when I lift my head off the pillow. I'm not as tired as I was at Christmastime (we found out about Baby on Christmas Day), but I would still be perfectly content to spend the entire day resting in bed.

Second, my smeller is very sensitive. Opening the fridge (or even the freezer, much to my surprise) makes my stomach roll. Dealing with two sets of toddler bodily fluids unpleasant. And then there are stinky things that I never noticed before: nine-year-old feet, the kitchen wash cloth, bananas, mayonnaise, and yogurt, which my bloodhound nose can pick up from 10 feet away.

Third, my standards for household cleanliness are a thing of the past. Gavin and Lexi graze most of the day, because filling their bellies keeps them content and I don't have to get off the couch as much. We ingest a steady stream of channel 169. In just a few days I have nearly memorized the morning cartoon line-up. The hour of Umi Zoomi (from 10-11) is the best hour of the day.

Fourth, the older boys are glad to be clued in to the fact that I am not dying. I think they suspected a mortal calamity was upon me. Finding out I'm just growing a baby seemed like a relief. I hope that as we adjust to our new normal, they will be willing to step up with household responsibilities like dishes, laundry, and general tidying every night.

Fifth, I have already been the recipient of some service. Some lovely ladies came over on Monday and helped me make some meals to stockpile in my freezer. In just over three hours, the five of us put away 25 meals! It was a wonder to behold. That will be a blessing for our family for several weeks.

Tonight my visiting teachers stopped by to vacuum and help with laundry. I have had other offers to babysit and to clean, but as I am engaged in a marathon and not a sprint, I am hoping to delay assistance until it is more necessary.

With all of this said, I am very grateful to be pregnant. So many people have expressed their utter disbelief that another baby is joining our family. Several have asked outright if this pregnancy was planned or a surprise. Perhaps that's because our life is busy and full with four kids. Perhaps that's because Gavin is one of them. Perhaps that's because because pregnancy is not a picnic for me. I will just say that despite the difficulties ahead, it is a joy and a privilege to bring another of God's children to the earth. There is great peace in knowing I am doing what is right for our family. I derive strength from sacrificing my own comforts to fulfill God's purpose for me on this earth. I am very, very happy about this little baby!

This picture makes me happy

Lexi has had a rough week. She threw up a dozen times between Sunday and Tuesday. With the accompanying diarrhea, the girl who doesn't have a calorie to spare became quickly dehydrated, lethargic, and listless. I was worried enough for her welfare that I took her to the doctor on Tuesday. The doctor took one look at her and said that if she didn't dramatically improve by Wednesday morning, Lexi would have to receive IV fluids in the hospital.

So....when Lexi climbed on the table and ate dry cereal straight from the bag Wednesday morning, I was completely thrilled! Since then she has been eating ravenously and drinking prodigiously. I couldn't be happier to have my little girl back.

It's also very helpful to have one less upset stomach in the household. Between Lexi's incessant vomiting and my own, Lexi's newest word is PUKE!

Jan 10, 2011

Driveway deal

This afternoon I offered Zach five bucks to shovel the driveway. He was thrilled.

I laughed when he went out in the ten-degree weather
in a light jacket, shorts, and snow boots.

That lasted about two minutes.

Once properly attired, he set to work again.

Zach quickly learned that if the driveway doesn't get shoveled before cars drive on it, "shoveling" actually means "scraping." Scraping is a lot more work.

Zach actually admitted to getting cold during the process.
He started around 4:30, and the sun sets around 5:30.
By the time he finished, the temperature was about 5 degrees.

Hopefully Zach and I can strike a deal with the driveway chore this winter.
I'm really sick of shoveling.
Passing the buck (or five bucks, in this case) seems like a great idea.

h-o-t spells hot

Some kids have to learn by their own sad experience.

Gavin didn't believe Garry when he said, "Don't touch. The stove is hot."

It was hot. Gavin touched.


Maybe next time he'll believe.


Date with Dad

On Saturday, Garry and Zach attended a Lowe's workshop for kids with Zach's Wolf Den. They had a great time making a game box together.

Zach's den is large, and his age group at church has 13 kids! That's one of my favorite things about our new ward. Although Zach hasn't connected with any of these kids outside of church or scouts, I know it is a great peer group for him.

Zach did a great job assembling his box. The chance to use tools is always a treat!

Here is the entire den presenting their boxes at the end of the workshop. Pretty fun!

After their project was complete, Garry and Zach did a little home improvement shopping. They came home with new fluorescent lights for the garage and curtain rods for the family room windows downstairs. For Christmas we purchased blinds for the downstairs windows and valances for the family room. I'm excited to see those things come together!

Jan 7, 2011

family faves

garry's faves:
new adidas socks
mondo mug of water
the barnes & noble nook he won @ work
chillaxin' on the couch
taco bell 'n mt. dew
sunday naps

heidi's faves:
school in session
any-day naps
candy cane oreos 'n milk
everybody loves raymond reruns
women's conference talks on tv

zach's faves:
wearing shorts in frigid weather
spiking his hair
lego harry potter on the ps3
guinness book of world records
hex bugs
having feet as big as mom's
writing 'z' on furniture and walls
wall-sits (record: 8 minutes)

tyler's faves
getting too tall for all of his pants
reading the book of mormon
learning @ school
using "awkward" in a sentence

gavin's faves
new snow boots
changing clothes six times a day
stanley the bear
sneaking yogurt from the fridge
jumping in lexi's crib
earning time-out

lexi's faves
feeding baby abby in the high chair
old macdonald, chicken verse
sleeping through the night (on her pillow)
annie (mom's friend)
saying "self"....and meaning it!

{Just for the record: I copied my cute sister....again.}

pass it on!

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