Friday, September 30, 2016

September 2016

We spent the month getting settled in our new home and adjusting to our new life in Kentucky. The kids are loving school and I am still trying to figure out our routine but getting there.

I turned 29 this month! Joe and the kids made me Skookies, one of our family favorites!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Letter to James (September 2016)

You have been a busy boy the past few months. This past June you finished up 1st grade at Cherokee Elementary in Michigan along with Soccer and then we prepared to move to our new home in Kentucky. We bought our first home and you have been such an amazing helper. You have your own room with a Queen size bed now and you absolutely love it. When we put an offer on our home we told the previous owners how much you liked the airplane room and they left everything for you including model airplanes that hang from your bedroom ceiling and a leather pilots jacket that hangs on your wall. You really do love your blue airplane room but your favorite part about your room is still your legos, your dresser is always covered in them and when you get a free minute you go to your room to build.

You started school a few weeks ago. You were sad to leave Michigan behind, especially your school and your best friend Ben. You have already made some great friends at your new school and have transitioned really well. I realized the other day that you are only in 2nd grade and have been to 3 different elementary schools. I feel bad about you having to start a new school each year but know that you have an amazing gift to lead and make new friends easily. I miss you while you are at school and miss having my little boy around throughout the day. You are not really little anymore, you have grown so much over the past few months. You are very independent, responsible and an amazing example and big brother to your sisters.

Last Saturday I took you shopping with me to get you some new tennis shoes and we talked and laughed the whole time. You already wear a size 4 shoe and outgrow your clothes within a month so shopping for you is becoming a normal occurrence. You still hold my hand as we walk into the stores and I just know that is coming to an end and I am going to miss it. I love how much you love your family and one of my favorite things is watching you wave goodbye and blow kisses from the bus as you head to school. I also love watching you head home from the bus stop after school, you hold your sisters hand and you talk and laugh the whole makes me so happy to see you and your sister laugh together.

You love your routine. You don't get home from school until 4 which is so late to me but you know you don't have a lot of time to play before dinner so you always are super quick to do your homework, read for 20 minutes and practice the piano for 10 minutes. When you finish your routine you love to play the Wii, I-pad, watch a movie, play with legos or have a friend over. You also love your night routine of showering, brushing teeth and reading your scriptures. I can't tell you how much joy it brings me as your mom to see you doing the simple things we have taught you to do all on your own, with a reminder. Dad and I have been talking with you about baptism and you are preparing to be baptized in March. You are working on memorizing the articles of faith and just passed off the first three. You are a hard worker and I am so proud of you and the good choices you are making.

I love you!


Letter to Kate (September 2016)


I can't believe that you are only a few days away from turning 6 months old. You are at such a fun age and learning so much everyday. Over the past 2 months you have become such a happy baby always smiling and cooing, staring at me and demanding attention with your big eyes.

The first 4 months of your life you seemed to be uncomfortable, you spit up all the time and whined a lot. I felt like I was always trying to help you feel comfortable but never really knew what to do. We knew pretty quick that you had Reflex a condition where the sphincter in your throat never formed and caused acid from your stomach to burn your esophagus. We put you on medication when you were only a few weeks old but something still seemed to be bothering you and so I went off of dairy and that seemed to help some. You had a difficult time nursing your first few months of life and I always worried you were not getting enough to eat. There was a lot of guessing and truthfully I still don't know what was bothering you but you seem to be doing a lot better now.

You are still on a medication for reflex and still spit up a ton but it doesn't seem to hurt you anymore. After a few months of no dairy I just started eating it again and you seem to be doing well. You are eating solid foods a couple times a day. You have tried a lot of foods including: oatmeal, pears, bananas, watermelon, bread, crackers, granola, avocado and peas. You eat it all but your favorite is oatmeal with pear juice. Usually when you eat you slurp your food off a spoon and then swallow it. You recently started gumming your food and when you eat it looks like you are chewing. The whole family loves to watch you "chew" and laugh as you sit at the dinner table looking around gumming your food.

You love to move. You rolled over when you were only 4 months old (July 12th) and haven't stopped since. You are scooting and rolling all over the place now and can pull yourself up on all fours and kinda launch forward, you are really close to crawling and I can't believe it. This past month you found your toes and you love to play with them.

You know your name and respond when you hear it. I love watching your siblings play with you and fight for your attention. Your siblings all love you so so much. They make sure to give you hugs and kisses when you wake up and before you go to bed. The moment you whine or let out a cry they all come running to you.

I love you, my sweet little one.


Letter to Hannah (September 2016)


I am writing this letter as you sit beside me watching a movie on Netflix and play with your dollhouse. You have the most amazing imagination, dad and I just love listening to you as you play. You love to pretend and spend a lot of time playing with your kitchen, baby dolls and your dollhouse. You also love to watch Netflix, your current favorite shows are ones that get you up and dancing or exercising as part of the show.

We just moved to Kentucky! You are only 3 years old and have lived in 4 different states and 5 different homes. You seem to really like our new home which is a good thing since you spend most of the day home with me. James is in 2nd grade and goes to school all day and Ali goes to afternoon Kindergarten. Kate, you and I spend our afternoons together and most afternoons Kate is taking a nap which means it's just you and me. We have fun afternoons together and other days you entertain yourself so I can get things done around the house or write letters like these. Most of the time though you love to help me. You love to help me cook (eat all the strawberries & chocolate chips), wash the dishes (play in the water) and fold laundry (sort things).  You are an independent little girl and like to help or do things if its your idea. I love to find ways to make our everyday fun or turn chores into a game. You love games, imagining and pretending. You also love your sister and are a great big sister.

I love you!


Letter to Ali (September 2016)

Ali cakes,

You love to be called Ali cakes and saying it always brings a smile to your face. I just love your pure happiness for life and your desire to please and help those around you. You are so kind and loving and an amazing big helper and sister. The past few months have been pretty busy as you finished up Preschool in Michigan and we moved to Kentucky and you started Kindergarten.

You love our new home and spend a lot of time in the loft playing pretend with your sister. You also love to ride your bike in our driveway. You have a small walk in closet in your bedroom and love to get dressed in it each morning and change into your pajamas as night. You share a room with Hannah and your closet is like your own secret place. 

You go to afternoon Kindergarten and although the first few days were scary for you and you were a little shy and had to be brave you are now loving school.  You are doing remarkably well in school and although you already know your letters and numbers you love reviewing them with me and show me what you have done each day at school. You love to read and are asking to write a lot and have a deep desire to learn. You just started taking piano lessons which you love!  

I am amazed by your ability to remember others and their needs. I pray with you each night before you go to bed and you always seem to remember somebody who is in need and you pray for them. Often times you pray for somebody that I mentioned was in need just in remember though and pray for them. 

I love you Ali girl.

~M-O-M (That is how you say my name, you spell it out) 

Monday, September 26, 2016

Kate's Birth Story

I am finally sitting down to write this and Kate is almost 6 months old. The past few months have been beyond crazy as I have tried to adjust to taking care of 4 kiddos all while purchasing our first home and preparing for a move. Joe recently got a promotion with his company and so we relocated from Michigan to Kentucky and bought our first home. We have seen so many blessings the past few months and have had lots of help from family and friends. I am grateful to be getting into a routine again and hope to remember the details of sweet Kate's birth.


Pregnancy & Leading Up to the Birth

I found out I was pregnant only one week after moving into our new house in Michigan. I remember feeling really nauseous and telling a neighbor that I felt like I was pregnant, at the time I didn't think that it was a real possibility because we had been unsuccessfully trying for a year. When I saw the pregnancy test I was so excited that we were going to have another baby but I also felt nervous because I had just moved away from family and I didn't know anybody and knew that pregnancy would bring sickness.

My eyes begin to tear up just thinking about the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, they were very difficult. I remember feeling alone, helpless and sick. The daily struggle to try to keep hydrated  and take care of myself was difficult. I wanted to get to know neighbors and ward members and wanted to help my kids adjust and make friends but every effort seemed helpless as I ended up spending the whole time at events in the bathroom throwing up. I did okay in the day but evenings were very difficult. Joe did most of the cooking and I eventually started going to bed at 7pm to keep myself from vomiting all night long. Emotionally I felt like I was failing, I wanted to do more for my family but I physically couldn't and it was all falling on Joe. The first 20 weeks of pregnancy were very difficult but I learned to rely on my husband, children and Heavenly Father. The extra things that once seemed to be so important no longer were. Despite the hard moments I felt so blessed to be pregnant and knew the struggle was worth it and that it would end.

At 20 weeks we found out we were going to be having a baby GIRL! About that time I stopped throwing up on a regular basis and we started back into a normal routine for which I am so grateful! I felt really nervous that I would be put on bed rest with this baby because I was with my previous pregnancy but I never had to be put on bed rest. I was just told to "take it easy, put my feet up and avoid anything that might cause me to go into labor." I did have a lot of contractions from about 28 weeks on and the worry and emotional fear of having the baby come early was real especially since Joe was traveling.

I wrote this poem and took this picture around 36 weeks:

I reflect on the past full of moments so hard: 
nauseousness, weight gain, dehydration and scares, 
the silent prayers that brought me this far. 

Constantly reminded that I am not alone: 
tiny hands, a rounded knee 
remind me of the miracle growing within me. 

I wait in anticipation to see her sweet face, 
to kiss her soft cheeks and give a warm embrace. 

Moments so hard and others sweet, 
a reminder of the blessing this baby will be 
and the joy she will bring to our family. 

At about 36 weeks I started having regular contractions and labor pain and felt like I was going to go into labor about everyday leading up to the birth. I would have regular contractions 5 minutes apart anywhere from 3-8 hours then they would was an emotional roller coaster for me.

The night of Thursday the 17th I woke up with intense pains thinking I was in labor then the contractions stopped. When I woke up the next morning I was having strong contractions again and I was determined to keep them coming so I spent the whole day on my feet. I cleaned our basement, vacuumed the house and mopped the floor. I started timing contractions that evening around 4. They were coming about every 3 minutes and I was having a lot of pain in my back. I sent the kids to the pool with Joe and stayed behind to back my hospital bag still half thinking they might stop. When the kids returned from the pool I was still having contractions and we called our OB to let him know we would be coming to the hospital.

The Birth

We checked into our room and got settled around 10 pm. The nurse did an ultrasound to check baby and checked to see if  I was dilated, I about died when the nurse checked me and told me that I was only at a 1 1/2. With all my other pregnancies I didn't feel a lot of labor and when we checked in I had dilated to at least a 6. I looked and Joe and said: "We are going home." Our OB came in and said that my contractions were regular but they were not doing much and thought I should walk the halls and give it a little time and so we did just that. After an hour I had progressed.

The nurse gave me an IV around 11:30pm and our OB broke my water at about 1am and then we all tried to get a little bit of sleep.

I woke Joe up at about 5 am and we walked the halls again. At about 6:45 am contractions started getting really intense to the point where I couldn't move through them and so we made our final lap around the hall and back to our room. (The picture above was taken on our last lap around the hall) About the time we walked into our room (about 7am) I felt the urge to push and told Joe to get the nurse and tell her I was ready. I climbed into the bed while the nurses set up and 3 pushed later at 7:18 am our sweet little girl was born weighing 7 lbs. 6 oz.

It was a long night but my easiest labor. I remember being surprised that my body wasn't shaking following labor like it had with all my others kiddos. My first thought when I saw Kate was she is so small. She seemed a lot smaller to me than my other babies and was my smallest. My next thought was she has a soft cry.  I nursed Kate for an hour and then Joe got to hold her. Kate nursed well initially but had unstable blood sugar levels and so we supplemented with formula.

The Name

We named our little girl Kate Nicole Palmer!

Naming our other daughters was easy for me. From the time I was a little girl I knew I wanted to name my daughter Alicen and call her Ali. Joe always really liked the name Hannah. Kate was not a name that either Joe or I really thought about until we were pregnant with our third daughter.  I had a list of girl names I liked, the list included: Emma, Madison, Madelyn, Olivia, Nicole, Aubrey and Sarah. I remember looking up the meanings to each of the names and reading the name Kate and liking it, when I read the meaning I fell in love with the name. The name Kate is a Latin baby name and in Latin the meaning of the word Kate is "Pure, Clear." Nicole is my twin sister Holly's middle name.