Our big 5 year old. I mean, our 5 year old. Had a hoot of a birthday; got himself a new bike. He was a great sport when his Christmas bike 18 months ago looked unsettlingly similar to what a polished up version of Payte's old bike might have looked like. This one was his own, brand spankin new.
Here's a shot that the kids call "Dak's floating head". They think it looks like his head fell off and was floating around in the water.
Grandma Reynolds sent Dak some workout stuff, since he is quite a muscle man and was very much into her headband when were in Washington this summer.
Dak's birthday cake. I'd tell the story about how this thing was made, but suffice it to say that about 1/3 of the cake was left by the time I finished carving, fixing, recarving, refrosting, etc. It was a nightmare, but Dak was pleased with the outcome nonetheless.
While I struggled mightily to salvage the disaster I had created, Kat found great humor in my repeated failures so she thought to take a picture or two. You'll see in the picture a large bowl, full of failed cuttings, frosting, cake chunks, etc. Yes, we threw out more than actually survived on the cake. Don't be deceived by the smile - that's after the absurdity of my repeated messes and the lateness of the hour left me with no other reaction but to laugh. Trust me, it was preceeded by plenty of frustrated groans and growls.
Payte turned 7. Not much to say about that, just thought this was a cute picture. Of course she wanted a soccer ball cake, though her league was cancelled this season which has her a bit bummed.
So, we had a family lesson where we talked about self-control and sacrifice. The girls decided they wanted to try to go without sugar for a while. They set a goal of 2 months - I never thought it possible - but they were awesome. No syrup on pancakes, no candy, no ice cream, nothing. When it was over we told them both they could have an award for how well they'd done (the whole idea of sacrifice bringing blessings). Tay chose some new roller-blades, and Payte chose Draco - that's her snake. For all you parents out there who freak out at the site of snakes, just remember that we feed this guy once every two weeks, he rarely goes to the bathroom, rarely sheds, no potty training, and totally loves being held but doesn't care if you don't. We go on vacation and don't have a single worry. This is a dreamy pet if you ask me.
Payte's a goofy kid. She's obsessed with animals - dead or alive. She found this dead fish and dragged it around with her for a while.
My mom always said if she could choose one person in the family to get sick it would be me. Not that she wanted me to. It's just that I was the perfect little patient. I locked myself in my room and didn't come out until I felt better; never asked for anything, never whined. Well, Dak caught a cold three weeks ago. No big deal right? When my kids get colds they get a runny nose and cough like crazy. Does that slow them down? No, not one bit, much to my dismay. But not this time. We should have had a HUGE "out of order" sign on our front door over the last few weeks.
I'm not one that rushes to the doctor every time my child spikes a fever. It takes a lot to get me to go in. Maybe it's the doctor blood running through my veins. My dad was the same way. Once my brother fell out of the tree house and hurt his leg. My mom wanted to take him in but my dad said "Aww, he's fine." She took him in for x-rays a few days later. Sure enough, BROKEN.
So Dak got bad, FAST! He had high fevers, slept all day, and coughed all night. Seriously, I've never seen anyone cough as much as he did. He couldn't talk, eat, or do anything. I had to carry him from room to room. We went to the doctor and she immediately sent us to the hospital. He had pneumonia. Dak was a trooper (at first)! He was hooked up to a million different things and had what seemed like constant breathing , pounding and shaking treatments. Poor baby had six IV's in the five days he was there. Fortunately, he doesn't remember a whole lot of it; too traumatizing I guess.
While Dak and Reese and/or my mother-in-law were in the hospital I was at home taking care of the rest of us sickies, me included. We had strep throat, pink eye, ear infections, you name it we had it. We were all on antibiotics but getting worse. And why was that one might ask? We had something called mycoplasma. You catch it just like you would a cold, but regular antibiotics won't treat infections caused by it. After our medications were switched we started getting better, slowly. Our house was like regular pharmacy. Kids were passed out all over the place with cool wet rags over their foreheads.
Just after Dak got home, Rook started getting worse. Same story. He had a temperature of 104 when we got to the hospital. Still there actually. I'm rocking Rook now. I can't wait to hold him sans tubes and wires coming from every appendage. The good news is I just found out that Tay might have a serious urinary tract infection that can only be treated through an IV. GREAT! What next?
Seriously though, this month has been awful awful awful. Watching your children suffer has got to be the hardest thing in the world. But, I know we go through these kinds of things for our own learning and growth. And, I am very grateful we had the means and resources to get our children healthy again. I'm also thankful for the power of priesthood blessings and a fantastic mother-in-law (she got sick too) and friends that have helped us through this. Now that we've reached our out of pocket maximum for the year Reese can get that back surgery he's been needing!
This is Dak at the doctor's office. Reese has all the good hospital pics on his phone.
Rook just after his IV was put in
He didn't smile for over a week.
Tigue (little rascal) never got sick! Amazing. They shared a crib before all this. No longer my little friends. Our nurse held Tigue while I went down the hall to shower. She had a nice BIG blowout all over the nurse. Nice! She got to sport a hospital gown the rest of the night. It was interesting. Rook's spirits seemed a little brighter when she was around.
I think we've all seen enough of the hospital for a good LONG time.
We did something CRAZY for Spring Break. We loaded our six kids in the car and made a 14 hour trip to Virginia. Ahhhhhh, Virigina! I love it there. Great friends and great times. I need to stop going there in the Fall and the Spring when it is so beautiful. It makes me want to move.
Reese was asked to speak at SVU, the college we went to, so we got to stay in the guest house. I don't know that we would have all gone up if it hadn't been for that. A family of eight descending on a household, when they are not related, might be a bit too much to ask. Reese was able to teach a couple classes too. He's the BEST speaker! Truly, I love to hear him speak. He taught a Sunday School class the first time I ever saw him. I was so impressed. He's so captivating.
So, moving on......... I took off midweek for my parent's house. Yes, I braved an eight hour drive with six kids by myself. The kids did great! We just stopped once to feed ourselves and the babies. Reese wanted to come but I wouldn't wait for him. I wanted to be with my dad on his birthday, and it so happened that my brother's new baby was born the same day. I got to help watch his other two kids, Taden and Lily. It was NUTS but fun!
When the week was over Reese flew, and I drove, to Nashville so we could drive home together. So much fun! I wasn't ready to come home.
My dad and I took the kids to the park I grew up playing in. Much of it was unchanged.
Dad pushing the kids
We went to an indoor waterpark. My poor short kids. I sent them up the stairs to go down the big waterslides. They were SO excited. They came down crying. "We're too short," they said. So, I sent them over to the lazy river. They came back crying. "We're too short and they're making us wear a life jacket." My kids are awesome swimmers. We live in Florida for heaven's sake! I tried to see if there was some kind of swimming test they could pass so as to be able to do all the stuff they wanted. Nope. Well kids, maybe in ten years.
They still managed to have a FANTASTIC time.
Michael and Lily
We went through the house I lived in until I was five. It's being torn down to be turned into a driveway for doctor's office going up behind it. It was fun to take the kids there. It smelled the same, had the same curtains, and carpet. It was pretty much unchanged too. Nothing like some childhood nostalgia.
Meanwhile, Reese snuck away from the school and went camping with his best friend Correy. We all got to see Correy and his darling family. Man, I wish we lived closer to them.
If only arranged marriages were acceptable these days. We'd be set! The Davis kids were TONS of crazy fun. While in Virginia we spent an evening with one of my favorite friends, Kari, and her family. She's amazing in just about every way. I love her to death. Our kids all begged to go back the next day.
You can get gallons of strawberries for NOTHING! Have you noticed how cheap the strawberries are in the grocery stores lately? Florida's "harsh" winter caused the strawberries to ripen all at once. Fields full of strawberries were going to waste. We scored 40 quarts for 8 bucks!
My AWESOME brother Ross came down to Florida for Spring Break. I just LOVE Ross. Lucky is the lady who pins him down. He brought three friends with him; Dustin, Kyle, and Ryan. One would think that it was mayhem in our house with six kids and four college boys, but really, the week was nothing but enjoyable. It's no surprise that Ross chooses great people to be friends with. The boys were considerate, helpful, and fun, and they ate a TON! I seriously there was enough food on one their plates to feed our entire family. I hope they all come back again.
Ross and the kiddos. I don't know what Payte's and Dak's deal is in this pic.
Just surviving, that's what we're doing. These last couple of months have been CRAZY. We've been SO grateful for all the friends and family members that have come from near and far to help...........cause we needed it! The babies are doing great. They are nearly 11 weeks now. Wow! The days are endlessly long but the weeks fly by. They are sleeping through the night now which is HUGE. I was getting tired of, as Reese puts it, "lots of little sleeps."
I love this picture.
I took this pic at six weeks. Now, at nearly eleven weeks, Rook is 10.5 lbs and Tigue is 8.5. She feels like a feather compared to him.
Getting a morning shave.
Grandma Reynolds and the babies. She was able to see them in the hospital. We are sure happy to have her close by.
Tay and Tigue
Tay and her friend Sarah dressed the babies up in American Girl Doll and Build-a-Bear clothes.
Each of the babies' personalities are consistent with how the were in the womb. Rook didn't move a whole lot. In the hospital the nurses had me eat and drink certain things to get him to perform on the NST's (non stress tests). Tigue, well she was another story; always kicking. The ultrasounds showed how she forced Rook into a little ball in the bottom of my tummy while she was sprawled out and comfortable on the top. Now, Rook is the easier baby. He sleeps well, eats well, and well, that's about it. Tigue seems to have an opinion about EVERYTHING. She spits up all the time and will only take a certain pacifier which, of course, is hardest one to find in the stores. She doesn't care for formula, insists on having a dry diaper, and wants someone's attention all the time. When all of those "needs" are met, she's great! But, really, she's such a doll! I can't hug and kiss them enough.
Our SUPER friends Dee and Shelby came to help from Illinois. It was SO nice to take LoNg naps during the day while they watched the kids.
Vicki came from Seattle. She's the greatest. She got up with the twins during the night! She helped me get them on a four hour feeding schedule as opposed to a three. Having that extra hour helps me a lot! Ahhhhhh, I miss Vicki.
Chula cuddling up to Rook.
Payte and Rook
Mo stayed with us for a week. It was great to see him. He leaves on his mission to New Hampshire next week. We miss you Mo.
Grandma and Grandpa Miller with all the kids. They came to help out and be here for the twins' blessing. They've been at every single one of my kids' blessings. My mom got up with the babies at night too. Sleep in heaven.
Grandpa Reynolds flew in for the blessing too. He flew in Saturday and left Sunday; way too quick of a trip, but we're so grateful he came. He walked in, picked up Rook, and was immediately doused with spit-up.
Uncle Daman wrestling with the kids.
Brady, Julie, and fam came down too. Brady made new doors for our kitchen cabinets. He's amazing. Just show him a picture and he can build it. He, Julie and Daman all worked hard to get the project done. It looks great guys! Thanks.