Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Happy Birthday Clayton

My little man turned two and I don't think he understood what it meant in the least.  Mariah and Zach tried to prep him for weeks talking about his birthday and trying to get him to say "I'm 2".  Most of their efforts just resulted in blank stares from the kid.  However, he didn't seem to complain when he got presents and cake and he definitely knew how to blow out his candles. 
Clayton LOVES bubbles.  All during sacrament meeting he asks to blow bubbles and can't wait for nursery.  Thus, you can only imagine how much he loves his new lawn mower that blows bubbles.  P.S. you know you have fake grass when my kids don't know what a lawn mower is and they keep calling it a truck.
He also got a plush bowling set that gets pretty good reactions. 
Being the exciting parents that we are, Adam and I gave Clayton sheets for his new bed for his birthday (the toys all came from grandparents).  My mom made the darling quilt top to coordinate with Zach's and on his birthday we decided to give it a go and let him try it out.  He was very excited to sleep in the "big boy bed" and we were optimistic when he went down fairly easily.  We then gave up the next night when we realized that a real bed means Clayton can get up at 5:30 am and make us all start our day.  He wakes up that early most days but we usually leave him there and many mornings he will fall back to sleep.  On the mornings he doesn't, it still means we can stay in bed a bit longer.  I'm not willing to give that up yet but Benson will need that crib soon.  Help!
For Clay's birthday the kids picked to go miniature golfing.  They all enjoyed it but Clay was cracking me up.  He quickly learned that he could get the ball to go where he wanted a lot better by ditching the club and using his hands.  Here he is dropping it in the door after a few failed attempted to get it up the ramp.  When he succeeded, boy would he be proud of himself.  
Just a few things about Clayton:  My favorite phrase that he says is "What that name?"  And he asks it constantly.  Always wanting to learn new words and say new things.  He ADORES Mariah.  In fact, when he wakes up from his nap you usually hear him calling out for "Riah" instead of Mom.  Same for when he gets hurt.  He runs to her with open arms knowing she will cuddle him as long as he needs and give all the sympathy he wants.  Not sure what that says about me as a mom except that I've raised an awesome daughter :)  Zach and Clay butt heads a little more but overall, they still play together well most of the time.  Clayton seems to be a coordinated little boy with a passion for playing basketball and soccer and throwing objects...any object.  He warms up to strangers quickly and loves to sit on other peoples laps.  His favorite book is Go, Dog, Go and he loves blueberries.  Unfortunately, blueberries do not love his diapers :/  
We can't wait to see what this year holds for our favorite little two year old!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Family Outings

With no thanks to me we had a wonderful Easter.  I'm grateful that family and friends were able to step it up this year since I had little to no motivation to plan any sort of fun things to do with the kids in my sleep deprived state.  My mom bought the book "A Christ Centered Easter" and while she was here, she did crafts and activities with the kids every single day with ideas from the book to help them remember the reason that we celebrate.  I should have taken pictures of all of the fun things they did.  From Enchanted eggs, to planting wheat grass, testimony eggs, to empty tomb rolls and the list goes on.  They loved it.
Then Adam's mom brought additional magic to the holiday by sending magic jelly beans for the kids to plant and have blossom into lollipops!  
Luckily, I don't just have great family but great friends too. One of my good friends planned a 'bunny brunch' that included a spiritual message and golden eggs.  She went all out and I did nothing but show up
Our HOA also had their annual hunt.  Clayton was too funny.  He was so distracted with all the kids that he simply would not pick up an egg and put it in his basket.  Luckily by Sunday morning when the Easter Bunny had arrived, he was in his comfort zone and knew just what to do!  Zach on the other hand went running for the field the second he hopped out of the car.  We had to halt him and tell him it hadn't even started yet.
After they got all their eggs we grabbed a picture with the Easter Bunny.  This was as good as we could do considering the before mentioned distractions and a long line on our tail.
We also talked about how Easter and Christmas are related and played a few Christmas songs one Sunday afternoon.  Seriously cracked up at Clayton singing "Mary Did You Know".  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DTrbzt_vxsE&feature=em-upload_owner

We had another great week a short while later, no thanks to me again but this time the credit goes to Adam and his hard work at Intel.  He won a bonus but rather than give him cash they gave him the company credit card and said it HAD to be spent doing something fun.  We chose to buy tickets for the whole family to attend Disney on Ice.
We actually had seats that weren't in the nose bleeds plus we let each kid pick an overpriced souvenir.  They were over the moon happy about it.  Afterwords, we hit up Outback Steakhouse to top off the day of complete indulgence. 
Then Intel came through again with a company party at the one and only Macayos!  You can only imagine how happy I was about that.  They even provided my pina colada, face painting, and the best balloon artist I've ever seen. Each child was quite content when he accepted their request for Elsa, Spider-Man, and Olaf. 
It was nice to have some things to look forward to that required nothing more than getting everyone ready (not that that's a small feat these days).  Now just a random picture of story time before bed because it's cute and I had to share.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Survival Mode

When Benson turned a week old I decided to have myself a little photo shoot to capture the pureness of a newborn.  It didn't start out well.  Bad lighting, bad prop set up, peed on clothes, and a grumpy baby but pretty cute hats from my twin nephews.

I gave it a try again the next day.  When he flashed me a little smile I knew I had the perfect memory.  I couldn't be happier with the pictures I ended up with.  Adam sent it out to work when they asked for a picture to include in the newsletter and he said he's never had so many men reply back that they loved it.  Not women but men!
 I'm just sad that the teddy bear outfit he's in didn't stand out more ;(
 That picture was almost a month ago.  Now he's way too alert to ever hope of getting those sorts of pictures again.  In fact, he's awake more than I remember my other babies being.  Maybe I've just forgotten but I swear they are suppose to sleep unless they are eating.  Not this little guy.  He will be awake for 5 hours at a time.  And he's proving to be my night owl which is about doing me in.  I can't believe it's already been 5 weeks.  I feel like he already has lost the new born look but as you can tell from the pillow, he's still as little as can be. 
The last 5 weeks have been a whirl wind.  A week after we were back from the hospital with the jaundice episode, I spiked a fever of 102 with stomach pain and uncontrollable shakes that landed me in the ER.  My third time in the hospital in 2 weeks.  That should be enough for another decade right?  After way too many tests ($19,000 worth) they finally concluded that I had a UTI from the delivery and was given an IV and antibiotic.  Who knew you could ever be so cold in 85 degree weather!  I think I now have an understanding as to what hypermedia feels like.  My whole body was sore from shivering so long and hard.  Nothing made me comfortable.  It was possibly the longest few hours of my life.  Boy am I grateful for modern medicine and doctors!
Basically, if I could survive those first few weeks, I think I can survive anything!  Plus, 2 days after I got home from the ER help arrived in the form of my dear mother who allowed me to sleep in daily and take naps, and cooked dinner and played with the kids who had gone completely stir crazy, and cleaned my house and kept me company.  You know this whole parenting thing would actually be pretty easy if I could have a live in nanny.
 In fact, I feel like my adjustment to a fourth kid has been the easiest yet.  Sure having a newborn always comes with some trials but that's just part of having a newborn.  It hasn't been 4 kids that's been difficult, just the baby.  Plus, Benson's been pretty easy as far as babies go.  He's a normal sleeper at night waking every 2-3 hours and I would love for him to go longer stretches and not need rocked back to sleep afterwords but outside of that I can't complain.  He's almost always consolable.  You hardly ever have to pull out extra "tricks" like walking around the room, white noise, or bouncing him to calm him down.  If you just pick him up that's all he asks for.  He has also only spit up 2 times in 5 weeks.  TWO times!  Total!!!  I don't even carry a burp cloth.  Ever!  He's only had 1 blow out diaper and two others that left a dime size spot on his clothes.  Seriously!  Every one of my other kids averaged 1 a day.  It's amazing.  Thus far he will also take a binki which is new for us and a welcomed change.
I've also found it to be easier since I have kids a little bit older who can actually help in small ways.  In fact one morning Benson woke up at about 5 a.m. and I couldn't get him to go back to sleep. At 6:00 Mariah woke up and I handed her Benson and went back to bed.  Another morning Adam had left for work but I was too lazy to get up.  I later found out she had made everyone toast for breakfast so that I could sleep a little longer.  There was a lot of butter on that toast too so nobody complained!
Zach helps in his own ways too.  Like when he will just lay next to Benson and hold the binki in for him to keep him happy.  Or when he plugged in the disco light to give him something to look at.  LOL.  Actually, he did seem to like looking at it and was pretty content for awhile. 
 Clayton is no help at all.  Just being honest on that one.  But he is easily entertained by his older siblings when I need to do other things and that's about all I can ask for right now.  Oh, and he still naps so that makes up for everything else. 
So overall that's how things are going.  We've entered the "sane" category again and are back to being out and about with 4 kids in tow.  I've yet to go somewhere without at least one person commenting on my life but with those full hands comes a full heart so I can't complain...although I do.  Just being honest on that one too :)

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Benson Richard Cuppett

Benson Richard Cuppett was born on March 6th, 2015 at 5:00 pm in Gilbert, Arizona.  He weighed in at 8 lbs. 8 oz and 21 inches long.  Has already stolen our hearts. 
On Thursday night at about 11:00 as I was just about to doze of to bed I felt my water break and went rushing to the bathroom.  Seriously?  Could it have not just held out until 7:00 am???  Why do you always have to start things off sleep deprived?  Because I wasn't contracting, we decided to wait until morning to head to the hospital so we didn't have to find someone to watch the kids and so Adam could catch some z's. Heaven knows I got no sleep between the "trickle" of constant fluid and the anticipation of the day BUT at least the pregnancy was over!  We headed to the hospital at about 9:00 am the next morning after a good breakfast (which was smart since I wouldn't eat until 7:00 pm that night) and were admitted.  Let the waiting game begin!
I'm telling you, having your water break is the way to go!  So much more of a pain free delivery since you don't have to wait for contractions to be close together to get an epidural (which this time actually made me throw up!).  Between that and only having to push once to turn the baby and for 1 minute to get him out, I was feeling like the giving birth part is actually pretty easy.  Hence the smiles and sweat free face. 
It looks like Benson however, had a little bit more of a difficult time with the whole process.
The kids were so anxious to meet their new brother and they had to wait ALL day long.  Mariah asked the sitter constantly when her daddy was coming to take her to the hospital!  She passed the time by making videos as to how she was going to be a good sister and drew me a picture to bring to the hospital as a gift.
She by far was the most excited to have a new baby. Excited is an understatement.  When we told her that morning that we were headed to the hospital, giddy laughter commenced.
Zach on the other hand has been a little less interested.  He's been sweet and gentle but more focused on making faces for the camera than anything else.
He even pulled the same little stunt in our first family picture of 6.  SIX!!!
I have been pleasantly surprised with Clayton.  He's completely enamored.  He asks to hold the baby all the time and gives genuine smiles each time you oblige.  I heart this picture!  P.S. Do you like the "yamaka" hat the nurse gave him to wear to his circ?
Lie Benson down and Clay's immediately right next to him (and occasionally honks his nose--we're working on that).
When I got home from the hospital this is what I find written on my "to do" board that I fill out daily.  Adam is too good to me.  I don't ever plan on getting rid of him.  
And that's where the good part of this blog post ends :(  We leave the hospital and Benson seems to be sleeping like a champ.  Feeds, sleeps, feeds, sleeps etc.  I lie down for bed at 9:30 and at 11:15 he wakes up.  I feed him and the next time that he sleeps for more than a 20-30 minute time period is at 6:30 am.  At this point he knocks out until 9:30 before waking.  Unfortunately, Clayton woke up at 6:00 am.  I basically was up all night.  Benson then goes back to a feed, sleeps, feeds, sleeps schedule.  At 10:00 the next night I go to bed.  At 10:15 he wakes up and doesn't sleep again until 3:00 am!  The next morning Adam took all the kids to Benson's first check up and let me sleep.  I needed that 3 hour nap!!!  I don't remember when I last got a 3 hour nap!  Never???
During Benson's check up they examined his jaundice levels.  Perhaps my favorite picture of the entire week is this one.  It's not even of the baby!  Mariah and Zach hid their heads in the corner because they couldn't bare to watch their little brother get his feet pricked.
A couple hours later I get a call from the pediatrician.  When we left the hospital Benson's jaundice levels were at a 4-- very low risk. After the test they were at a 16.4.  At 17 things get pretty scary.  Hit a 20 and you are looking at blood transfusions.  I was told to pack by bags for a few days and head over to Phoenix Children's Hospital where a room was waiting for me and Benson so he could be treated ASAP.  I immediately had flash backs to this...Mariah on the bed of lights being treated for jaundice. 

I may have lost it.  I can honestly say those 4 days of Mariah on the bed of lights was one of the top worst weeks of my entire life.  It was awful in every way.  I was a wreck.  She was a wreck.  I cried more tears than I had in a year those 4 days.  She didn't stop crying those 4 days and now we are going to do it all again...In a hospital because it was so bad...where it's RSV season so they wont allow my kids to even come and see me.  In my head at this point things couldn't get any worse. 

Luckily, Benson's bed was more cozy and the lights were as if he was in his own tanning bed.  He seemed to be a lot more comfortable than Mariah ever was.  That being said, they had to put an IV in my 4 day old baby and I could hold him only for feedings.  I stood by that bed of lights until 3:30 am that night (because yes, that's when he finally fell asleep!) holding a pacifier in his mouth.  It's the only thing that kept him calm when he wasn't asleep.  He did NOT like that eye mask when he was awake. But from 3:30 on he slept like a champ and I didn't have any other kids in the house so we both slept half the day away (since that's his preferred time to sleep). 
After 12 hours his levels were at an 11.6 which they were thrilled with and figured I would be able to leave after 24-36 hours.  We were given the go to head home and were all under one roof again by 8:30 pm.  Benson fell asleep at 10:30 and had normal newborn wake times, even sleeping for a 4 hour shift!  Basically today we've entered the "sane" category again and have hope that the worst is over. 
A special shout out to this man...
He juggled a lot of balls the past few days.  Helping to hold a crying baby in the wee hours of the night and then never resting as he entertained the kids, made hospital visits, found people to watch the kids, ran errands, brought me take out, and kept a clean house.  All while demanding that I lay low and let myself recover.  Thanks doesn't seem sufficient.  XOXO

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Killing Time

The worst part about not knowing when a baby is actually going to be born isn't the being pregnant part, it's the not knowing part.  I feel like I wake up each day thinking "I didn't go into labor...now what?"  I've tried to plan stuff to do to help with the wait but I also feel like I can't commit to anything.  I've also stayed caught up on the housecleaning (laundry, bathrooms, clean sheets etc) but I just can't help but wonder if it's the last time I'll mop before baby or if I should wait 2 days so it actually stays clean.  Blah, blah, blah.  I just wish there was a better way to predict when he will come.  In the words of my doctor there is-- It will happen in the middle of the night on the worst day possible.
And for the last belly shot.  39 weeks baby!  I just wish I didn't have to admit that I've gained 40 lbs with this one!  And I haven't delivered yet!  That means there is no way this is all baby weight :(  I guess I technically didn't have to admit that but this blog is basically my journal and it may be something that I want to remember down the line so there ya go.  Layin it all out.   Oh and I chopped my hair.  Something had to change in my life.
Until delivery, I'm just trying to accomplish my 'to do list' and enjoy lots of outings with the kids.  Yesterday we spent 5 hours at the park, today kids club/out to lunch and tomorrow the play Cinderella.  Right now, we are enjoying long outings without a worry of feedings and naps.

I've worked super hard the last few months to try to accomplish a lot on the new house.  Especially the paint.  Yes, at 8 and 9 months pregnant, I was on a ladder and on my hands and knees painting this house.  I knew it would be easier now than anytime in the next 6 months.  I'm proud to say that we are finally finished and I'm quite happy with the outcome.  My 2 favorite paint jobs in the house are the boys rooms.  They were a lot of extra work but they make me happy.  Plus, it was kinda fun to try something new.
Zach's room.  And he loves it, I might add
Zach's room at another angle

Clayton's room/Future nursery.  P.S., I found the changing table on Craigslist and totally redid that too
Other angle as well as the box valance that I made :)
We (meaning Adam) worked HARD on finishing the back yard.  He moved 17 tons of rock with a wheelbarrow.  That's a lot of rock in case you were wondering.  Then he installed artificial grass and we are in love with it.  It's amazing having a yard let alone one with almost no maintenance.  The kids are out there every single day this time of year so we wanted to make sure that we had it done in time to actually enjoy it.  Once we had the rock and "grass" in, we bought some planter boxes to have us a [very little] garden.  We will see if we have green thumbs but so far it's looking great.  Zach loved helping Adam plant.  He's putting the dirt around our grape vine below.  We also planted one orange tree and it already has blossoms :)
Speaking of Zach, he's definitely got part of his dad in him.  He loves his tool set more than you could imagine and is constantly finding things to fix and work on.  As Adam has been working a lot on odd end projects lately, Zach's been in seventh heaven as the little helper.  And he never forgets the safety goggles.  Below he is fixing one of my decorations that Clayton threw (shocker) with his hammer. 
The other day he didn't want to take a nap despite being very cranky, which in turn makes me very cranky.  I found him hiding from me. 
Basically, he won and didn't have to take a nap.  Then I found him like this at 3:30 which means it was a late night and I shouldn't have let him win.  Yes, Mother knows best!
However, I learn with 3 little kids sometimes you just have to pick your battles.  Which is why he was a pirate at Costco.  But hey, a lot of strangers gave us a lot of smiles with that one. 
Moving onto the little Miss.  I may only have 1 girl but she is a girl!  Lately she's been wanting her hair in curlers after baths.  Sometimes it ends up looking cute the next day and sometimes it goes a little crazy.  This day it went crazy so we pulled it up with a headband and boy did she think she looked adorable after that!  She requested that a picture was sent to dad so he could see how beautiful she was! 
One last story on her-- the other day I couldn't find my cell phone at bed time so I had Adam call it.  After searching as it rang we found it in Mariah's room as she remained sound asleep.  Which is why when she tells me that I should just sleep the new baby in her room and she will get up with him all night so I can sleep I don't get my hopes up.  But I DO love her for even offering. 
There ya have it, just killing time around here.  Our next update will most certainly include the newest and cutest addition.