Thursday, December 23, 2010

Elf Yourself

Christmas Fun

These are just a few pics of the fun we are having this Christmas. We are all so excited to open gifts and be with family this year. We have been having so much fun and staying busy with the cousins that are in town.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Who's the Boss?

She is!

Thursday, December 9, 2010


After I went to bed last night I realized I saw numbness and tingling and itchy skin as a side effect of Plavix. Maybe that is what explains the sensations I explained last night. I guess we'll see if they go away in a couple of weeks.

So here's a list of all the possible side effects. Sometimes it seems like the side effects are worse than the symptoms you're treating, but I'd rather have a little bit of tingling and tiredness than a blood clot.

Common side effects of Plavix Oral:

Acute Infection of the Nose, Throat or SinusSevere
Chest PainSevere
Large Purple or Brown Skin BlotchesSevere
IndigestionLess Severe
Joint PainLess Severe
BackacheLess Severe
DizzyLess Severe
Flu-Like SymptomsLess Severe
Head PainLess Severe
Stomach CrampsLess Severe

Infrequent side effects of Plavix Oral:

High Blood PressureSevere
Atrial FibrillationSevere
Bleeding of the Stomach or IntestinesSevere
Urinary Tract InfectionSevere
Feeling FaintSevere
Visible Water RetentionSevere
Heart Throbbing or PoundingSevere
Trouble BreathingSevere
DepressionLess Severe
Inflammation of the NoseLess Severe
Incomplete or Infrequent Bowel MovementsLess Severe
EczemaLess Severe
ItchingLess Severe
Skin UlcerLess Severe
Leg CrampsLess Severe
Chronic Trouble SleepingLess Severe
Low EnergyLess Severe
NumbnessLess Severe
RashLess Severe
CoughLess Severe
Feel Like Throwing UpLess Severe
Throwing UpLess Severe
DiarrheaLess Severe
Numbness and TinglingLess Severe
Feeling WeakLess Severe
AnxiousLess Severe

Rare side effects of Plavix Oral:

Retinal HemorrhageSevere
Hemorrhage from the Conjunctiva of the EyeSevere
Eye HemorrhageSevere
Hemorrhage Within the SkullSevere
Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic PurpuraSevere
Abnormally Low Blood PressureSevere
Interstitial PneumonitisSevere
Painful, Red or Swollen MouthSevere
Stomach UlcerSevere
Ulcer of the DuodenumSevere
Ulcer from Stomach AcidSevere
Inflammation of the Large IntestineSevere
Acute Liver FailureSevere
Acute Inflammation of the PancreasSevere
Kidney DiseaseSevere
Abnormally Long or Heavy PeriodsSevere
Inflammation of the Skin with BlistersSevere
Erythema MultiformeSevere
Toxic Epidermal NecrolysisSevere
Stevens-Johnson SyndromeSevere
Abnormal Liver Function TestsSevere
Life Threatening Allergic ReactionSevere
Giant HivesSevere
Allergic Reaction caused by a DrugSevere
Allergic Reaction causing Serum SicknessSevere
Acquired Decrease of All Cells in the BloodSevere
Low Blood Counts due to Bone Marrow FailureSevere
Decreased Blood PlateletsSevere
Deficiency of Granulocytes a Type of White Blood CellSevere
Decreased White Blood CellsSevere
Decreased Neutrophils a Type of White Blood CellSevere
Skin Disease Characterized by Swollen Itching LesionsLess Severe
Muscle PainLess Severe
FeverLess Severe
Taste ProblemsLess Severe
Collection of Clotted Blood in an Organ, Space or TissueLess Severe

Merry Christmas!

Curtis made a game for our Christmas letter this year. This has been an awesome year and this quick game goes over some of the highlights. Go to to play.

You can even make one of your own for free! Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

2 Weeks, 2 Days

I hope you all aren't getting too tired of these little updates, but I just keep feeling a little bit more normal everyday and I want to share.
The past four days I have not been achy! My shoulders are still tight, but I am not hurting. This is such a relief! Yesterday I had the young women over at my house for the weekly activity, so I had to clean my house. I swept and mopped the floor, I did the dishes, cleaned up the family room and even crafted quite a bit. Normally after doing just one or two of those things, along with the busyness of having 8 twelve-year-olds over, I would have been completely useless and exhausted, but I wasn't! Sure I was tired, though not exhausted and my body didn't ache and I still made dinner, cleared the table and was able to put the kids to bed without being grouchy and then Curtis and I watched a movie.
My bad days are as good or better than my good days were and my good days are a little more what I would consider normal each day. Still no more headaches, but my ears have felt some pressure behind them (cold related I hope?).
One thing that does concern me a little is I feel a little tickling on my foot, my hand, or on my scalp (one area at a time, not all at once) a couple times the past couple of days. I don't normally have this sensation, so it leaves me scratching my head a little, no pun intended. (hee, hee)

Friday, December 3, 2010

11 Days Post Procedure

Since my Liberation Procedure I have been feeling pretty good. I am not a new person, but I do feel a difference. My optic neuritis pain, that has bothered me the last three months, is almost completely gone. My almost everyday headaches do not happen anymore, I had one on Thanksgiving, but so did Curtis, and I had one on Monday, but I'm pretty sure it was sinus related since a had a small cold with stuffiness and a slight sore throat. It is so much easier to be pleasant to my kids when my head is not throbbing. I feel I am also thinking clearer.

I am not bounding with energy, though I had hoped I would be. I did read that one of the main side-effects of Plavix is excessive tiredness, so I do have hope of feeling better when I am done with it in a couple weeks. Time will help and if I could get Claire to sleep through the night it would help too.

I had my yearly MRI on Wednesday. My neuro called and said I have no new lesions and all of my old ones are smaller. That was great news. It would be so exciting if this procedure help prevent anymore, ever! =) My sister Alaura is scheduled to get a venogram/possible angioplasty on December 22nd. I am so excited for her. Though she has CCSVI, she does not have MS and this will hopefully make it so she NEVER does.

No You Get Out!!!

This is what happens when you have two kids but only one bucket.
I ended up having to hide the bucket to get them to stop.

If you got this blog entry as an email for the first time, it is because I added you to my list. If you don't want to be on it, or if you want to be added to the list just let me know.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

More Observations

Yesterday I noticed how crisp, clear and bright things are. If you would have asked me before the procedure if the sight in my right eye was somehow dimmer, I would have said no. It is subtle, but there is a difference, like switching from a normal TV to a high def TV. I have also noticed a slight improvement in my left eye, nothing miraculous, but I think it's a good sign that my eye will improve over time. Also I have climbed the stairs today without really noticing. I used to feel like there were rubber bands attached to the bottom floor and every step got harder and harder and when I made it to the top I felt I needed a rest. I didn't even think about the climb when I got to the top today, I just went on with my business. These are small things, but encouraging. The big miraculous thing will be having the progression stop! That would be incredible and allow me to live an amazingly normal life.

I tried to take it easy yesterday, but with three kids it's hard to do. My incision got really sore by the end, but it feels fine now.

I will be scheduling my MRI and MRV today. I haven't had one since my diagnosis and the MRV will help the doctor see how well the repair went. I'm not really looking forward to another 48 hours of pumping and dumping. It is so much easier to just feed her, plus my pump doesn't work very well.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I noticed two things last night that I feel point to proper blood flow. Several times a day my ears would ring, for seemingly no reason, they have not rung since the procedure! Also, every night as I layed there trying to sleep I would feel and hear a strong pulse in my head. I tried to hear that last night and I couldn't! Even laying very still and listening very quietly, all I could feel was the very slight beat of my heart, just as it should be.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Liberated and I'm Feeling Good!

I went into the hospital at 8:30 this morning to have angioplasty on my veins. Everything went really well. The doctor did a very thorough job of looking at all of my cerebral veins again and took lots of pressure measurements to make sure all was open and flowing as it should, which meant a lot of holding my breathe. He found that my jugular vein wasn't narrowed as they thought. He said the other doctor must have had the catheter up too high in the vein and caused the reflux that he had seen. The azygos vein was narrowed though and he did balloon that area.

At one point during the procedure I felt a lot of pressure and some pain in my chest, I mentioned it and they said they were ballooning it right then. They put a lot more catheters in and out this time, different lengths and sizes and I could feel them being more rough. That is pretty much the only place I am sore right now, just above my leg where they were inserting it.

I'm not sure if I feel any different yet. The sedation and anesthetic made me pretty tired and I have been trying to take it easy today. I think only time will tell. My mom made the analogy of unwatered, brown grass. Even after you have watered it, it still takes a week or two to green up again. I do feel a little clearer, not in eyesight but in awareness, if that makes sense, but I haven't tried to do much and it has only been 7 hours.

I am on blood thinners for a month. I have to inject myself with Lovenox twice a day for a week and then take Plavix for a month. The doctor checked and said both are ok for breastfeeding.
They are expensive meds, over $1,000 just for Lovenox, but my insurance paid for all but $250. I've never injected myself before, I hope I can do it tonight.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Two Month Check Up

Claire had her 2 month doctor's appointment yesterday. She is little, coming in at 9lbs 9oz. The doctor is not concerned because she is well proportioned and meets all of the cognitive mile stones. He even says she seems advanced and cautioned me that she might end up being an early walker.

They clipped her tongue yesterday, she screamed for a lot longer than a newborn would, poor thing. I should have had him do it at the first appointment, but she is fine now. But she is constipated, it's been almost a week since she's pooped and I just started feeding her a little bit of watered down apple juice to get her to go.

She is so sweet. We all love her so much.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

My Next Venogram

I talked to Dr. Hatch yesterday. He said he has been studying my images and found my jugular vein is significantly narrowed right at the valve at the top of the vein. He didn't notice it at first because it is common for valves to be narrower than the rest of the vein, but not this much. He also found a couple places in my azygos vein (the one that drains the spine) that are narrowed and can be opened also.
It is good news that he found something to fix. My next venogram is scheduled for November 22, the Monday before Thanksgiving. I plan on taking it easier this time during recovery. The last venogram through me for a loop. I should feel better within a week or two and hopefully I will have more energy and stop the progression of MS. Wahoo!

3 is the azygos vein.
I guess mine isn't nice and smooth like that if it has a couple of narrow spots.

First Captured Smile

I finally caught a smile on camera. Not a great one, but cute. It is hard to get good pics of babies.

I also made her some leg warmers. I wrote about them on my craft blog:

Monday, November 8, 2010

8 Weeks Old Already!

These past 8 weeks have gone by so fast. We are really enjoying our Claire Bear. She has smiled at us everyday since she was 5 weeks old, though we haven't caught one on camera yet.

Yes, she is in our bathroom sink in this picture. And the blow dryer is on, resting on the counter. It is the only way I can put her down without her crying while I get ready in the morning.
She loves to be held!

She is a little girl, I'm not sure how much she weighs, I'm guessing right around 10 lbs, but she doesn't fit any of the 0-3 months clothes yet. And the big news is that she slept through the night for the first time last night! Just yesterday I told my sister-in-law that she wasn't ready to do that yet. Maybe just hearing that it was possible helped both Claire and I to not get up in the night. I hope she keeps it up.

We haven't been getting many pictures of her. Just busy with three kids I guess. I am surprised she has slept on her own this long to allow me to write a couple of blog posts.

A Toy Story Halloween

Audrey and Nathan knew just what they wanted to be for Halloween. We found a Buzz Lightyear costume online for Nathan, but I couldn't find a Jessie costume for less than $40, so I started making Audrey's costume before Claire was born. It took me 6 weeks to finish it, half an hour here and there. I found it is quite hard to accomplish anything with a newborn who loves to be held.

I had cow fabric left over, so I thought it would be really fun to make a vest so Curtis could be Woody.

Claire was Little Bo Peep

And I was Barbie from Toy Story 3, well my interpretation of her outfit.
There was no way I was going to wear a spandex body suit.

It rained like CRAZY during the neighborhood trunk or treat. When we got home Audrey said, "I'm slopping wet!" The trick or treat buckets were full of water and the candy was sticky and soggy. I don't think the kids minded.

On Not Feeling Well...

Tuesday after the venogram I was tired, but I felt ok. Wednesday I took it easy, had a slight headache and was still tired. Thursday I felt my head was going to explode. The pressure in my head was bearable, but worse than I had ever felt it and my fatigue was awful too. I spent the whole day laying on the couch. Feeling blah for weeks before, because of night time feedings, and feeling even worse for a couple of days made me really worry about the future and I ended up quite depressed on Friday. I kept thinking about how my children are so amazing and precious and how they deserve a mom who has the energy to play with them, who doesn't yell at them for having fun and being loud, just because it is overstimulating to her. They deserve a mom who can dance at their wedding and can come and be helpful when they have children. My grandchildren deserve a grandma who can enjoy and play with them. I don't want to be in a nursing home when I am in my 50's like my aunt. Audrey would only be in her early 20's and Claire would still be in high school. That's not the life I want for them.

I know that is not a good way to think, to dwell on what might happen. It is hard to feel bad when you have a degenerative disease, because you end up wondering if this feeling is a progression of the disease and if you will ever feel better again.

I do a lot better on weekends when I can be with Curtis and other people. Curtis and John (my father-in-law) gave me a priesthood blessing last night. I am feeling better, both physically and emotionally. I'm trying to keep my chin up. I am trying to be patient as I wait for the doctor to come up with a solution to fix my vein. It is my hope for me and my children, so I can be the mommy they deserve.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Results...

The venogram went smoothly. They were able to see that my left jugular vein was blocked. All of the blood flows back over to the right and goes down. This makes sense because my vision problems and the slught numbness I feel is on the left side. The problem is that the doctor did not see an specific narrowing which he could easily do angioplasty on. He is not sure what is causing the blockage, so he didn't do anything. He will be consulting other doctors and his partner Dr. Black is going to a convention this week for the National Association of Phlebotomy where Dr. Zamboni will be the keynote speaker, so there will be lots of people to ask. When he knows what to do I will have the procedure done all over again.

It was a pretty easy procedure, not much pain or recovery. To insert the catheter into my veins, they used a large needle right at the bend of my leg, more towards the front. When they said groin I thought it would be down between my legs, but it wasn't. They gave me a general anesthetic and sedation. I was half asleep for most of it, but could still answer questions and hold my breath when they asked. I could feel the catheter in certain places as it moved through my veins, there was a bubbly sensation that went with it. They kept me for an hour after to make sure I was ok and then I walked out, like nothing had happened, just a little sleepy from the drugs. They said I couldn't lift anything that day and to take it easy the next.

I have to "pump and dump" for 48 hours so that Claire doesn't get any contrast through my breast milk. She is taking a bottle just fine and thanks to a friend who had plenty of milk stored in the freeze, she is drinking mostly breast milk. Curtis fed her all night and let me sleep in another room so I could get a full night's sleep. It was so nice.

So I have CCSVI! That is good news and more proof the Dr. Zamboni is right. It is just a little disappointing I am not "liberated" yet.

I was asked how I heard about Dr. Hatch. There were actually two sources. First I found this ( website that lists doctors who are doing the procedure. I emailed them and they sent me these names:
Ogden, UT- Sandra J. Althaus
Provo, UT- Carl Black
Salt Lake City, UT- Peter B. Hathaway

And then my "blogging friend" Toby posted about Dr. Hatch here:
She went to Costa Rica to be treated, but her sister is have the procedure tomorrow with Dr. Hatch.

This is all so new, Dr. Hatch has only done the procedure a handful of times for this specific reason but has done the procedure a thousand times for other reasons. There is still so much to learn, but I am excited to be part of it. My sister A has an appointment with Dr. Hatch next week. She has not been diagnosed with MS, but has fatigue issues and has a lesion on her brain, so we kind of suspect it. How amazing would it be for her to have her veins fixed before any real problems occur!

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Liberation Procedure

I have very exciting news, life changing news! I found a doctor here in Utah that is doing the Liberation Procedure and I am scheduled for the venogram/angioplasty on Tuesday, November 2nd. Tomorrow!

This procedure is still experimental, but so many people with MS have had amazing results by having angioplasty to open their jugular veins. The theory of CCSVI is that MS, which we have always called an autoimmune disease, is actually caused by improper blood drainage from the brain.

I am so excited to feel better!

I want to write down the symptoms I am having right now, not to complain, just so that I can compare them with how I feel tomorrow, a couple months from now and years down the road.

A big one for me is fatigue. (Exaggerated by feeding a newborn throughout the night.) I tire pretty easily, I am lucky when I have the energy to make dinner when evening comes around.

Brain fog: I feel like a lot of my thoughts/words/names have to get through a maze before they come out of my mouth. Audrey often finishes a sentence for me and at times I have to use several sentences to explain the one word that I can't come up with.

Light numbness: Usually only in my pinky or pinky toes, it is just a weird/not quite right feeling, not really numb. I have a feeling that this could eventually spread to my ring finger, then my middle until my whole hand feels that way. This feeling is only at times, not always.

I have ringing in my ears quite frequently. If I am lying in bed and everything is quiet, there is always a constant light buzzing sound. I think this points to reflux or impaired blood drainage from my brain.

Optic Neuritis: My eye was mostly better until the last couple weeks of pregnancy, but now it is as bad as ever, with mild aching behind it.

Headaches: They are mild, but last for hours when I have them.

Achy, tingly shoulders and upper back. My whole body yearns for my shoulders to be massaged. They are always so tight.

For having MS, these symptoms are nothing. I can't image what my aunt has dealt with all these years. The procedure is giving me hope of not having to find out for myself.

I will let you all know how I feel tomorrow after I am liberated. Wahoo!!!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Claire's Blessing

We blessed Claire on 10-10-2010. 10 being the number of perfection, it really was a perfect day. The weather was beautiful and all our Utah brothers, sisters and grandparents were able to come. We had a wonderful time visiting with everyone and celebrating Claire's birth.
Curtis gave a beautiful blessing. He blessed her with strength to withstand wickedness and to be a voice for the Lord for good.

Grandma and Grandpa Shefchik

Grandma and Grandpa Gibby

Great-Grandma and Grandpa Nielsen

Nathan with 2 of the 7 cousins that came

Showing off my new haircut. My uncontrollable hair was really stressing me out, so I chopped it all off and I am really liking it.

Claire's Photo Shoot

Some good friends of ours came over when Claire was 10 days old and did a photo shot of her. They turned out so cute. I kept forgetting to post them here. There is also a slide show of them on Youtube:
Claire's Photo Shoot on Youtube

She is so sweet, we are so blessed to have her. She is a good eater and an ok sleeper. It is hard to get her to take a nap during the day and she wants to be held all the time, but don't all newborns?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The First Week

I can't believe our Claire Bear is already more than a week old. She has been so sweet and the kids love her so much. She is a good eater and a good sucker, already starting to enjoy a pacifier.

I am recovering well. I feel better now than I did the last couple months of pregnancy. It is so good to have my body be my own again, even if it isn't the same.

This is a picture of her hair. I know it doesn't look like much, but for us it is a lot. Nathan says, "I have blond hair and her hair is dark!" Not sure where the dark hair came from either.

We were trying to get a picture of her tongue tied mouth in this picture.
She didn't like it very much and you can't see it, but it is pretty significant and it will be cut at her first appointment to the pediatrician.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Two Slide Shows for Your Enjoyment

Here are two slide shows Curtis and I made. The first is of my growing belly and the second is of Claire's Birth. Enjoy.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Me Brave? Not Really.

I have received comments about how brave I am for having a baby at home, but the truth is I was more scared to have the baby at the hospital.

I was afraid I wouldn't make it to the hospital on time or arrive there too early.
I was afraid that they would strap me into the monitors so that I couldn't help the baby move down by moving myself.
I was afraid that the labor would try to be controlled rather than monitored.
I was afraid that they wouldn't let me eat and drink what I want to keep up my energy.
I was afraid that the labor wouldn't progress as they wanted and they would put me on pitocin.
I was afraid that the labor would be too painful to bare being stuck in a bed and augmented with pit that I would end up getting an epidural.
I was afraid my back would ache for 9 months again at the epidural injection site.
I was afraid of getting a spinal headache or other side effects from the epidural.
I was afraid the epidural would slow down the labor and they would have to up the pit.
I was afraid that too much pit would cause the baby to go into distress.
I was afraid that the doctor would tell me that he didn't think I could do it and that I would need help.
I was afraid that he would cut me in my most private place and that it would take years to be comfortably intimate with my husband again.
I was afraid of being the 1 in 3 that ends up being sliced open through layers of skin and muscle to have a baby pulled from me and then take weeks to recover while trying to take care of a young family.
I was afraid they would take the baby from me and poke it and prod it before I was able to admire how amazing he/she is.
I was afraid of the $10,000 medical bill, even if no interventions were needed.
I was afraid that my other two children wouldn't get to see their new sibling for hours or days after.

I was not afraid of what I knew my body could do.
I was not afraid that my doctor would ignore signs of trouble.
I was comfortable at home. It was wonderful.

Others have said, "I've tried to have a natural birth, but I just couldn't do it."
I didn't do it the first time either, but that is because I didn't have the proper support and knowledge.

If you were trying to lose weight, would you choose a place that straps you into a chair and places a delicious looking cake in front of you and the only people there to lend support are the pastry chef and his assistants who keep saying, "Just eat it, it will make you feel better!"

Or would you choose a place that has lots of workout equipment, a personal trainer and plenty of fresh veggies to eat?

Hospitals just don't know what to do with someone who wants to labor naturally and avoid all the risks that come with interventions.

I did not do this on my own. I had a doctor monitoring me from the moment I got pregnant. Everything was completely normal and healthy. He had no concerns and therefore I had no concerns. If there were complications then the hospital would have definitely been necessary.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Welcome Claire! The Birth Story

(40 weeks pregnant)

First of all, I just want to say that when you expect a baby to come early and you pass your due date, it is very hard. I was so tired and ready to be done. Each day felt like a year and was a huge hurdle to get through knowing I would still be pregnant that night. Originally, we thought August 28th would be a great day, my brother's and my aunts' birthdays, then just August, then labor day, then my mom's b-day, Sept. 7th ... we had a great reason for almost everyday between then and the actual date.

The due date came and went and so did the weekend. I woke up Monday morning like any other day thinking, "Here comes another long day without a baby." But it didn't take long before contractions started and we began using the contraction timer app on the iphone. After about an hour of them being 3-5 minutes apart and 40 seconds long, they petered out and I sent Curtis off to work. An hour later they were back. I called my sisters and mothers to let them know things might start happening today. Zilpha didn't answer her phone, but I left a "heads up" message. I also called my doctor who said he would come by that morning to check on me. When he arrived I was still taking care of the kids, jumping on the mini tramp and talking during contractions. He checked me and said I was in early labor, 5 cm dilated, 90% effaced and at -1 station. He headed back to work and said to call him when the contractions got more intense.

(2 hours before the birth)

Alaura arrived and took Audrey to the bus stop and so did my mother-in-law Shauna, who took Nathan shopping. My mom came and took Audrey to school because she had missed the bus. I was glad to not be laboring while trying to take care of kids anymore because they were getting more intense without much break in between. I told Curtis to come home and called the doctor. He knew when he walked in the door that this would be it and he called his helpers, a midwife and a midwifery student. Alaura tried emailing and facebooking Zilpha, but it wasn't until mom called her in-laws that we got a hold of her and she started driving the hour down here.

Curtis and Dr. Wright got busy filling the tub and by 1:30 I was "relaxing" in the warm water. Curtis changed and joined me shortly after. He held me in his arms, holding me from behind as I tried to relax with each contraction getting more and more intense.

After about 1/2 hour after getting in, Dr. Wright checked me again. I was 100% efface, 5 cm dilated and at a station +2. I thought to myself, "Really? Only 5cm? How many more hours of this do I have then? 4 or 5? Can I do this for 5 more hours?" The contractions were really intense by then.

Within 15 minutes my water broke and I had the urge to push, so I went along what my body was doing. I reached down and could feel the baby's head not crowning, but there. It was exhilarating. During those crazy intense contractions I was engulfed in joy and excitement! I called out, "I am so excited to have this baby!" A couple more pushes and I was crowning! The baby just slipped out and Dr. Wright placed him/her on my chest. Amazing!

We just sat there cradling our new little one, no one prodded or bothered us, we were able to just take it all in and fall head over heels with this precious little one.

After a couple of minutes someone asked if it was a girl or a boy. I said, "I don't care." because I really didn't. I was just so excited to be hold the baby in my arms. Dr. Wright took a peek and said, "It's a girl!" and Curtis and I said together, "Claire!"

Not long after the birth, Nathan came up to meet his new sister and Zilpha arrived 5 minutes too late. We were in the process of getting cleaned up when Audrey came home from school. It was early out day, we had totally forgotten.

We couldn't be any happier with the way things turned out. Everyone is healthy and happy. What a wonderful day!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Which Blanket?

I made two quilts for the baby, one boy, one girl. Which do you think we'll be using? =)

And here's a pic of the valance I made to coordinate with the room.

Audrey is a Kindergartner!

Today was Audrey's first day of kindergarten. She was a little nervous last night and even ended up sleeping on the floor in our bedroom last night, but this morning she said she was excited to go to school and she happily went on her way with the teacher when it was time. She is excited that two of her friends from preschool are in her class again this year.

We are so proud of her!

Getting Ready

The baby room is all set up, all unisex clothes washed and in the drawers, bed made with cute new brown and green bumpers, valances made and hung, diapers purchased and blankets folded ready to use.

The doctor brought over the birthing tub and all the needed equipment last Tuesday and this weekend we tried it out. It comfortably fit Curtis and I. He plans on catching the baby, though he has some concerns that he won't be able to do all I need him to, I know he will be great. All I really need is him there beside me. And he will have help. The doctor plans on bringing a nurse or two and my mother, mother-in-law and two sisters will be there to help with all the little errands and watching the kids.

I am really looking forward to birthing comfortably at home, not stressing about if I will make it to the hospital on time, or worrying about the doctor doing unnecessary procedures.

I have been really uncomfortable today and really tired. I have had mild contractions the last couple of nights, but nothing that should get my hopes up too high.

Audrey kisses my belly goodnight and holds it as she bounces up and down saying, "Baby, baby, baby!" She can't wait to have a baby brother or sister.

We are ready little one!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I looked out the window and what did I see?

...four curious chickens looking at me!

I think they were enjoying watching Care Bears as much as Audrey and Nathan were. Silly chickies. I really do enjoy them. We are still getting 4 eggs everyday. I need to make eggs more often.

All of the grand kids loved playing with them. They treated them like puppies, putting them on the tramp and on the swing or hammock with them. I'm glad they are so nice. They follow anyone around the yard, which kind of freaks Nathan out, so he runs and then they run. Now he won't go out when the chickens are out unless I carry him, which is getting harder to do. They just want to be fed, but Nathan just doesn't understand that.

Grandma Camp

Because Becca and Zilpha were going to be in Utah around the same time, my mom thought it would be fun to try to get all the grand kids together, so they can get to know each other and make memories, something that doesn't happen very often when they live across the country, or across the world. Both of my brother's were out of the country, so we were happy with 8 of the 14 grand kids. My house was the place that all of this happened because mom and dad live in a small basement apartment and I have the trampoline, swing set and chickens. I requested that everyone be willing to help since I was 8 months pregnant. Mom paid for airplane tickets, food, activities, etc. for everyone. Most of the journaling here was also written by my mom, she did so much for all of us.

Here is a list of what we did and ate for Grandma Camp - July 30 - August 10, 2010.

July 25 - The Larsens and mom and dad had dinner with us at our house. We ate steak, which Curtis grilled outside. Yum.

July 28 - Alaura came home from college to spend the weekend with us.

July 30 - Friday - After packing a picnic sack lunches, Alaura, mom and I drove our two Toyota Siennas to the Airport. I picked up the Larsen children from the Larsen Grandparents in the park and wait lot, because John and Zilpha were on a "honeymoon" in Las Vegas with two other couples. Alaura went into the airport to meet Becca, Addy, Ellen, Marilyn, and Walter. We then drove to the Saltair for a view of the Great Salt Lake. It was disappointing. The lake was receded so far we could hardly see any water. The once beautiful building was dirty and vacant, except for a gift shop and bathrooms. The children were hot and hungry, so we sat on two dirty benches under the overhang and ate our sack lunches. We then drove to Liberty park to play in the water, but the water system was broken. Another disappointment. We then drove to the Highland Splash Park where everyone got in the water.

The adults just got their feet wet. It was fun.

We had planned to go to the Sweets Candy Factory, but it was closed on Fridays, to Temple Square, but we were all too tired and hot, and to the Folk Fest in Springville, but no one wanted to go with Grandma. Alaura went to Papa Murphy's and bought pizza, which they baked at home. Everyone enjoyed it. Marilyn had no appropriate shoes, so Ellen, Marilyn and Grandma went to Deseret Industries where the girls choose shoes, pants, skirts, and anything else they wanted.

July 31 - Saturday - Painting Day - Grandpa was on call for the elevators in Salt Lake and got a trapped passenger call early in the morning. Grandma arrived early (7:30 AM) to start the painting of our fence. Everyone was given an over-sized old shirt cast off by Grandma, a roller or brush and access to paint. It was amazing how fast the fence got painted and how much they all enjoyed it. By 9:00 AM, it was hot and everyone was ready to quit.

The children played at home in the backyard with the sprinkler under the trampoline and kiddie pools, hours of fun. We also made a plan for what to eat for the week. It made meals so much easier to not have to think of what to make each day. While mom and I went shopping for the food we would need the whole week, Becca made dinner, spaghetti, got each child to do a "chore" and got all the kids (total of 8) bathed and into bed.

Curtis helped with the teeth brushing and getting to bed. Mom took the three oldest girls - Ellen, Marilyn, and Katie to her house so they could go to church with Grandma and Grandpa the next morning at 9:00 AM.

August 1 - Sunday - After sleeping on the couch and pad on the floor, the girls were up early, had cereal for breakfast and got dressed for church. Ellen and Marilyn knew how to find their classrooms and were very independent. Katie went with Ellen. When asked how she liked it, she said it was OK, just very long. We took Becca and the other kids to our ward which started at 1:00 PM. Becca and Addy left shortly to attend her niece Collette Hirschi's baby blessing in Eagle Mountain. We made Kabobs with chicken balls, fresh pineapple, and red and green peppers on the grill plus corn on the cob. Zilpha and John returned in time for leftovers, then they took Katie and Quinn with them to Larsen's.

August 2 - Monday - We again packed lunches and then joined Becca and her swim team friends at the Rotary Park at noon. The children played in the park. We had taco salad for dinner. Becca led us in a Family Home Evening.

August 3 - Tuesday - Two dollar Tuesday at Thanksgiving Point! We got to the farm about 10:00AM. The children enjoyed seeing all the animals, petting the baby goats, and having a wagon ride. The Durkees had "vacation money" they wanted to spend, so spent time in the gift store. Walter found a cricket clicker which kept his hand busy. He got quite good at it. Ellen bought a fan which broke right away and Marilyn bought a small plastic chicken to remind her of our chickens. Then we had our sack lunches on the grass near the Dinosaur Museum. Because it was noon, the entry line was quite short. We felt we planned our day appropriately, so we didn't have any long lines to stand in. We moved through the museum rather quickly because of short attention spans. They loved digging in the water and sand.

For dinner we had taco salad.
Then we went to the movie Shrek Ever After in the local $1.50 theater (The Sticky Shoe). We also took time that night to practice with Audrey how things would go at the dentist.

August 4 - Wednesday - Water Slide Day - Audrey had a 10 AM dentist appointment.

Mom stayed home with the little kids and Becca and Alaura took Katie, Ellen and Marilyn to Raging Waters. Later they said that was their favorite part of Grandma Camp. At about 4 PM, the weather turned bad and they decided to leave. Raging Waters gave them each a free pass to be used after 4:00 PM on a later day. Zilpha met us before noon and we took the younger children to the Lehi Legacy Center pool, which is mostly inside. On our way, it started to rain really hard. We sat in the cars and waited for the storm to stop. It got worse. We were pelted with pea sized hail. Quite an adventure. Finally, the rain slowed down and we went into the pool. The kids had a great time. Zilpha took the boys down the big slide. Quinn did fine at the bottom, but Walter was frightened because he doesn't swim that well. For supper we had a potato bar and more fresh corn on the cob. Addy and Nathan helped me wrap the potatoes in aluminum foil for baking. The Larsens spent the night, with the parents on an air mattress in the living room, the boys in Audrey and Nathan's room and our kids on the floor in our room. Yes, 14 people found places to sleep in our house. =)

August 5 - Thursday - Museum Day- Mom got the kids working again and in no time our front walk was rid of weeds. I had a doctor appointment in Provo, so we decided to go to museums down there. We started at the Bean Museum which is full of stuffed animals and natural science displays.
The children enjoyed it, but soon became hungry. They had told us that they were tired of sack lunches, so we went to McDonalds and had cheeseburgers and fries from the $1 menu. Then the kids played on the indoor playground. They all got treated to an ice cream cone too. We had to leave the play area because our older kids were up at the top "roaring" so loud, it scared the younger children in the area. Becca left to inspect her Provo apartments. We went to the Museum of Peoples and Cultures. It was disappointing. Very small with displays of Utah Indian artifacts. Alaura found a bag with lesson materials and gave us a little lesson about the Indians. Then we went to Krispy Kreme Donuts. They were not making donuts at the moment, so they kids couldn't see the process. The schedule for making donuts is from 7 to 11 AM and 5 to 10 PM. We were there about 3 PM. For dinner we had a pasta salad buffet with donuts for desert. After dinner, mom and dad, Walter, Quinn, Ellen and I went to Wal-Mart to buy more food, shoes, underwear and socks for the Durkees. On the way there was a tremendous hail storm. It was so loud we couldn't talk to each other. At the same time, the Larsens took some of the other kids to Deseret Industries. Marilyn bought some books and a nice boy doll (Willy) with her vacation money.

August 6 - Friday - Becca, mom, Alaura, Ellen, Marilyn, Walter, and Addy went to IKEA while I stayed home sewing a special order of 10 nursing covers. The children's meals were free! In the evening, Becca and Addy went to a family picnic for her 10 year High School reunion. I finally cooked the chickens that Curtis and I had slaughtered last fall and made chicken noodle soup that all the kids loved, but mom would not eat a bite of her old poor chickens. John and Zilpha had their Mormon Expressions Podcast in Salt Lake and Curtis and I went to the Farmer's Market at Thanksgiving Point and visited an old friend.

August 7 - Saturday - My mother and father-in-law invited all of us to meet them at Willard Bay for a day of boating. All the Curzons, Gibbys, and Durkees went, including Grandpa Bill. We all had a great time tubing and playing in the water.

Alaura stayed home to work on her Anatomy class she is trying to finish before the new school year starts. Mom took Ellen to the airport for her flight home for GS camp. Mom had to run all the way to the gate to get her there on time. Becca attended her High School reunion dinner and we watched Addy. The rest of us went to the Cedar Hollow 1st ward family picnic. The food was good and the kids enjoyed playing games. Marilyn sat under a tree and read her book.

August 8 - Sunday - Church Day - Mom picked up Marilyn from our house and took her to church with them. Bill gave a good talk on Alma 13 and a beautiful testimony. Curtis also had to speak in his ward. He was 10 minutes short, so they asked me to give an extemporaneous testimony. Becca and Addy went to their old church in Sandy. I made a yummy lasagna for Sunday dinner.

August 9 - Monday - Cleaning Day - Becca organized everyone to clean the house. The children didn't do a good enough job to please her, so she redid the bathrooms. Marilyn cleaned the kitchen floor on her hands and knees. Alaura cleaned the family room and found three missing TV remotes under the couch. Mom vacuumed all the main floor carpets. Marilyn vacuumed up the stairs. Walter washed wall the walls he could and then helped the little kids clean the step stools with buckets of water out in the grass. He said this was the best day of the whole week and he wished he could clean everyday. We ate leftovers for dinner. Mom packed the Durkee suitcases so they were ready to leave early in the morning. Alaura liked Becca's hair so much, that she decided she wanted short hair too. I think it turned out really cute. I am now officially the only Shefchik sister who has not "buzzed" her head.

August - 10 - Tuesday - Going Home - Mom arrived at our house at 5:30 AM, I am glad I didn't have to get up. Mom dropped them off at the curb, parked the car, found an abandoned wheelchair, and pushed unwheeled luggage, checked everyone in, got boarding passes, and hugged them all good bye.

We all had a really good time. I did have a couple of really slow days after they left, probably just my body recovering for all that we did. My mo is so generous and worked so hard at making this a fun experience. I hope they will all look back and have great memories of being with the family..