My Boys

My Boys

Friday, September 4, 2015

Birthday Boy

 Caleb's birthday was on the Saturday before school started. It was hard for him because he was looking forward to his birthday but was NOT looking forward to school starting.

Due to Matt's cousin getting married on the same day, it put a damper on being able to focus on Caleb all day, so we also celebrated the day before as well. We attended Allison and Kyle's temple sealing at 9 am while my parents watched the boys, and we also attended their wedding reception that night. Mid-day, Caleb was finally able to open his presents. He got a lot of new clothes, an in-door soccer ball (hover ball), a new game, and some Rubik's cubes.


We met up with my family for lunch and our monthly Family Home Evening and also celebrated Caleb's birthday. His choice of cake this year was angel food cake and fruit. He's not the biggest fan of frosting.


My parents gave Caleb his new Cub Scout shirt and Wolf book. He's a Cub Scout now!

As I mentioned, we tried to make Friday a super fun day as well in celebration of Caleb's birthday and also as the last day of summer vacation. We spent 3 hours at Pump It Up, an indoor inflatable bounce house, then went to lunch at Chick-fil-A, followed by 3 hours at Splashtown. This pregnant momma was exhausted! Also one of Caleb's birthday presents was a night out bowling. Since Bryson and I were done for the day, Matt took Caleb and Carter out bowling to end the day of fun.


Happy 8th birthday Caleb!

Caleb at 8 years old:
He has a very tender and sensitive spirit. He rarely slept through the night as a little boy until Carter was old enough to share a room with him because he was so scared. That fear is still there, and he loves sharing a room with Carter and Bryson.
He is a people-pleaser. He hates to mess up or feel like he didn't live up to someone's expectations.  Because of this, he has yet to step out of line at school or church. He's a very well-behaved boy in public and very polite.
Caleb is very mature and a great helper with Bryson. I know he's going to be a great helper when the new baby comes as well.
Caleb is very athletic and can play any sport well! He is also very competitive and hates to lose. Besides playing sports, one of Caleb's favorite things to do is watch sports (especially baseball) with his dad.
He is a talented piano player, but is struggling right now with a new teacher and a new style of learning.
Caleb and I have a tendency to butt heads; we are learning that our personalities don't work very well together! We have had to learn patience with one another, especially when it comes to practicing the piano.
His love language is quality time. He LOVES playing games or ping pong with anyone who will play with him.
Caleb is very smart. He can achieve anything he sets his mind to!

Monday, August 24, 2015

First Day of School

My handsome boys!

Caleb's first day of 3rd grade 

 Carter's first day of Kindergarten

Caleb's classroom is conveniently just down the hall from Carter's class, so I didn't walk Carter in for his first day--older brother dropped him off. Carter wasn't nervous at all. Caleb kept telling him all this last week, "Carter, school isn't that fun. You just have to do lots of homework and tests." Despite that, Carter was still excited to go.

Bryson bawled almost the whole way home that he didn't get to go to school too. :(

Family Time

We did a family night painting with marshmallow paint. Inevitably it ended up on our faces.

The games on the table were a permanent fixture for the whole month of July. Caleb and I played at least an hour per day of different games. Carter has quite a few games that he really likes to play as well so I would play separately with him or sometimes the three of us together. Soon Daddy joined in on the fun and we did a few weeks of a family game every night. We've slowed down in August as we all got a little burned out. :) Carter's favorite games are Uno, Love Letters, It Came to Pass, and Rage. Caleb and I played a lot of Ticket to Ride and Settlers of Catan.

We went to an Astros game a few rows up from the field. Orbit ran right past us which the boys thought was exciting.





Carter learned how to ride a bike this summer. Matt tried earlier in the year to teach him, but Carter got too frustrated. A month or so ago, they tried again and Carter picked up on it really fast in two tries. The tricky thing for Carter has been practicing on a narrower space like a sidewalk, which we needed him to master before school started. We practiced almost daily, but he still has a tendency to weave because he'll concentrate on pedaling and forget about keeping his arms steady. I'm nervous about him crashing into other bike riders for the first little while!

For the most part, he is doing great!


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Pregnancy Update & Delivery Plan

We are nearing the end of this pregnancy with only 4 weeks till baby Austin joins the family. The middle name is not decided yet. I spent the first half of the pregnancy planning on the name Liam and was absolutely crushed when a close neighbor and church friend named her baby Liam a few months ago. I debated for the next month continuing with the plan of Liam, but soon fell in love with the name Austin. Matt is very easy-going when it comes to naming our children; he will let me know when he strongly opposes a name, but doesn't give a ton of input on name suggestions which can be frustrating at times. :)

The pregnancy has continued to go well. I've never had a doctor that will do extra ultrasounds so I've only had the 8 week and 20 week ultrasounds. I get nervous when I can't see the baby and have the doctor assure me that all is well with baby's growth. I took the 3-hour glucose test instead of the 1-hour this time; it just made sense to jump straight to the 3-hour since I've failed the 1-hour 2 out of 3 times in previous pregnancies. I passed the 3-hour test just fine.

My weight gain was looking off-track this time around for my personal goal to only gain 25 lbs. I was doing worse than my other pregnancies and gaining more weight sooner; I just attributed it to the fact that my body is older though it was frustrating since I was running more than in previous pregnancies. However, something shifted where my weight gain slowed down even though nothing changed in my appetite. I am currently at 22 lbs. gained and am on track to gain the least out of all my pregnancies. Something else odd this time around is that I didn't gain as much weight in my face, which I was happy about!

I constantly hear how small I look for as far along as I am. As in the two previous pregnancies, I am measuring smaller, but only by a centimeter. I definitely take it as a compliment when I hear this, but I hope people realize it doesn't come naturally--it's a lot of hard work! I attribute it to my running since my eating habits could definitely improve. A few people have assumed I just have smaller babies. All my babies have been average-size: 7 lbs. 11 oz., 7 lbs. 13 oz., and 8 lbs.

I've cut back from running my 17 miles a week (4 days: 3, 3, 3, and 6) that I've been doing throughout my pregnancy to running 12-13 miles a week (4 days: 2.5, 2.5, 2.5, 5). My pace continues to get slower, currently 10:45. Some days are better than others depending on how I'm feeling; some days I can run the whole time and other days I have to walk one or two times. I'm sure I look pretty silly while running with a big belly which is why I try to go really early. :)

The BIG NEWS of this pregnancy was a change in delivery plans at 26 weeks. After gathering a lot of information, I've decided to deliver at a birthing center with a midwife. I haven't loved the OB I've used for the last 3 pregnancies, but I was too lazy to switch over to someone new. It was convenient to stay with the only thing I've known. He hasn't been super supportive over my decision to birth naturally and also my personal feelings against being induced. Each baby he has tried many times to convince me to be induced so that it can be on his time table--it has just made me feel that all he cared about was being there to deliver the baby for the money. I've always felt good about the baby coming on baby's time table, not on anyone else's.

The switch to a midwife is definitely different. Some things that I thought were just part of OB appointments I'm learning are not necessary. For example, I do not do a urine sample each visit. The midwife doesn't do cervical exams at all (unless warranted or desired) because it does nothing to tell you the timing of when the baby will come and increases the chance of infection.

The doctors that have delivered me (different doctors for each baby since 2 were on-call doctors), had very little to do with the labor. They were just there to catch the baby. I'm excited to have a midwife with me every step of the way during labor, which should be quick based off my record. I'm also looking forward to the experience of a water birth as I hear that it does a lot to ease the contractions. All in all, the decision to switch to a midwife just felt right despite the stories I've heard about a few bad experiences.

All of my previous pregnancies I wasn't necessarily excited for the pregnancy to end, despite how uncomfortable it can be those last few months! I knew that having the baby out was a lot more difficult than having the baby in! Once the baby comes, so do the sleepless nights, the worrying about every little thing, the demand on your time with nursing so often... However, this time around I'm not feeling quite the same way. I can't wait for baby Austin to be here! Maybe because I'm not so nervous about the labor this time around combined with the fact that I'm more experienced. Also Carter and Bryson are both obsessed with babies right now. I can't wait for them to have their own little baby in the home to be obsessed with. :)

Here's to hoping the rest goes well...

Friday, July 17, 2015

July Update


Father's Day 2015

July 4th Bike Parade followed by swimming at the neighborhood pool


Bryson conquered potty-training! I needed to wait till preschool was over before I could fully concentrate on it. So after our vacation in the beginning of June, it was time to make some progress. We were already at the point where if I left Bryson naked all day, he would go in the potty just fine. It was time to take it to the next level where he could wear clothing and still go in the potty. That took a few weeks to master. Then it was a matter of having him tell me while we were out running errands as well as be able to tell someone other than his parents (babysitter, nursery leaders, extended family). He did 5 days in a row perfectly, and I thought we were there. Then when we were at someone else's house, he had a poopy accident. Ironically, I had just written in his journal the day before that throughout all the potty-training saga he had never had a poopy accident in his underwear! Another week without accidents and him being able to tell his nursery leaders at church when he needed to go potty, and I feel like we're there. It feels quite liberating not to have to change diapers for a few more months! He's 2 years and 8 months, so later than my other boys. Bryson was very interesting in the fact that he didn't like having a potty seat on the toilet. He loved to climb on all by himself.

Occasionally Bryson will go on the potty like this. It's too funny!

This boy is slow in the losing teeth department. He just lost his 4th tooth (almost 8 years old)! He's been working on it for several days.


Also, I started teaching piano lessons this summer. There are three teachers in this area who moved, and it has left a lot of people in need of a teacher. After several approaches, I decided to commit to 5 students (including Carter) for up to the next year (my year off of teaching preschool) while they try to get in with other teachers. There's also the factor of a new baby end of Aug./beginning of Sept.--I'll take a month off after he's born and see how things go with teaching piano with a newborn!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Shurtliff Reunion 2015

This year for my family's reunion we headed to Llano, Texas and rented some cabins.

The cabana/outdoor kitchen is the lower left red roof, with a few cabins and a lovely view.

Swimming pool and fun water slide

We all arrived at different times on Sunday evening. We were all nervous from the start when the owner told us that they'd seen a lot more rattlesnakes and scorpions out. The kids had very specific instructions not to leave the paths and to tell a parent before they went anywhere. We did encounter one rattlesnake during the week as well as a handful of scorpions. Fortunately, no accidents.

The majority of our time each day was spent in the pool!

Hot tub






Aunt Kara caught some action shots:
Matt catching the frisbee

Carter jumping off the "high dive"



Then some of the men tried to coordinate jumping and sliding out at the same time with a high five



Playing with Grandpa

Taking a break from swimming and playing games

We took one day to tube down the Llanos River. There were some really great rapids right at the start so we decided to keep tubing down the river knowing that the next chance to exit the river (to avoid private property) was a mile away. Right after we passed our last exit opportunity, the rapids died and it was still water. There were 5 adults left to paddle 10 kids for a mile. It took forever, and worried the other people who stayed behind. We thought the rapids would continue and therefore asked my brother, Jared, to pick us up in 45 minutes. It took more like 2 hours. No one brought sunscreen to reapply and several people got burned badly.

A few days later, some adults and older grandchildren went to kayak on the river again. I didn't head out that time, but I believe they just stuck to the short section of rapids.

As characteristic of Shurtliff vacations, there were morning workouts and tennis games. Here is Carter playing with Lili and Talmage so mommies could workout.

Drew and Caleb playing basketball with Grandpa

Ping pong fun

Matt brought dodge balls for a night game

Great food is another characteristic of Shurtliff vacations. Each family took a day of meals.


Kara celebrated a birthday on vacation. There were plenty of volunteers to help make her birthday cake!

Once kids went to bed, adults congregated every night for some chatting and games. We had a great FHE Monday night about marriage. Ironically, Matt and I were still disagreeing about something that happened 2 days earlier so it was a good lesson for us. :) {My side: he played in a dodge ball tournament which took up 6 hours of his Saturday morning--the day before vacation. I was super stressed about getting some shopping done for vacation, packing, getting the house cleaned, and there was also a neighborhood luau I promised the kids we would go to as a family (minus Matt). Plus he had worked late almost every night that week and not seen the kids much. His side: He still got everything done he was supposed to that day (except I didn't have his help for the 2 hours at the luau), and he needed the outlet from a tough week at work!}

Family picture--impossible to get everyone right :)

Dallin at the top of the water slide

Hanging out with Daddy on our last morning



Relaxing for a minute from all the packing up and cleaning

Finishing off some ice cream on our last morning. Can't let that go to waste!

A big surprise came home with us which I discovered as I was doing laundry!


I absolutely love spending time together with my family and look forward to vacation every year!

Fun memory from this year: our family's cabin had an outdoor shower, so we got very comfortable with  our nakedness and nature.

For the last few years, we've had some illnesses spread around while on vacation. This time we lucked out and everyone was healthy, but somehow Matt still caught some bug the day after vacation. Just like the previous year when I was the sickest I've ever been (caught on vacation), Matt caught something that hit him like a ton of bricks. He struggled with continuing to make an appearance at work each day to get some things done--he had to be there having missed the previous week. Finally the Thursday after vacation he went to the doctor and got some medications. He had a lung and sinus infection--lots of coughing, loss of appetite, diarrhea, and just felt awful. The cough is still lingering, but he's finally starting to feel better now, 2 weeks later. :(