Monday, October 24, 2011

Pictures Mostly


Because that’s about all I can manage.

IMG_9464_edited-1Maybe because there are so many of them? (See above photo)

No. Honestly, I don’t think it is that. It is really only because there is so much of . . . him:
IMG_9389_edited-1And by “him”, I am referring to the one on the left. The little one.

The other one, this kid:
is pretty much nothing but a perfect and perfectly easy child.

But the other one. The one telling Daisy some interesting little tale here:
Well, he is . . . less easy. He is three weeks old, and, to be honest, I haven’t one bit figured life out with him.

That’s not to say I don’t love him. I do. I adore the little fella. Lots and lots and a really really lot:

But I feel like life was sooo incredibly easy a few weeks ago . . . when nobody was a newborn.

I keep thinking back to when I had Jesse and wondering just who on earth I thought I was. You may recall that about one minute after he was born we closed on a house. A house that had been basically abandoned with clothes and junk and . . . pots of marijuana soil . . . left behind. I was carting my oldest two out to their new school – a 45 minute round trip twice a day, I was cleaning frantically every inch of this new house, I was rounding up all our stuff from several months living at my moms, and then unpacking an entire house from all our storage unit stuff. I also happened to have three small ones at home in the day, like I do now, only the oldest after my newborn was only 1 1/2. Somehow I seemed to be managing the weight and responsibility of a lifetime along with adjusting to my newborn. And I seemed to be doing it just fine. Maybe I wasn’t just fine. Maybe I was overwhelmed and stressed, but it seems like I had no problem, and now? One newborn and I can barely manage to fold the laundry or even shower. 

Ah well. I guess life is supposed to feel hard sometimes. I suppose I should be trying valiantly to learn patience and empathy for others and all sorts of lessons. But I must admit that often, when life is hard, I feel like I am Saul “kicking against the pricks” – like a plow ox who, not wanting to go the way he should, pushes into the sharp goad rather than letting it push him gently where he needs to go.  I feel like sometimes, instead of letting trials shape me and mold me into something better, I just cry and push against them and say, “No!! I only like EASY!!”

But, even when hard, life is also filled with good – like all these little folks who are surely more than worth any days of hardly being able to shower. These photos got cut short because I didn’t notice my camera battery was almost dead as we were walking out the door. Still, we had some fun for a minute . . . especially because there was, what appeared to be, a zombie convention going on in the parking lot. That was actually kind of . . . weird.


I love this one. This shows how it really goes trying to get them all in one picture. What coolness is happening with Goldie at the back?IMG_9527_edited-1IMG_9539_edited-1IMG_9549_edited-1IMG_9557_edited-1IMG_9561_edited-1IMG_9564_edited-1IMG_9569_edited-1IMG_9576_edited-1IMG_9579_edited-1IMG_9584_edited-1

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Nearly Two Weeks

Now that I have some idea about how to use a camera, I was quite looking forward to taking pictures of my newborn – you know, an immobile kid who couldn’t protest. Turns out he can and does protest. Bless his little heart, he isn’t necessarily the most content little soul. When he is awake, he is generally a bit unhappy and wants to be eating. When he is asleep, he is often being held (by me – which doesn’t allow great photo taking) or, on the rare chance that he is sleeping in his cradle, I have too much to get done with my two free hands to even think about taking pictures or risking waking the little man. Sigh.

Still, here are a few shots of our little Anders during his second week of this living business.


Sunday, October 9, 2011



I was telling Mike how overwhelmed I felt the other day. I said, “I just need to try and stay calm. I was reading in my journal about after Penny was born and I wrote how I felt totally panicked and overwhelmed the first week, but that even by the second week I just felt . . .”

Here Mike interrupted me and said, “underwhelmed?”

We had a good chuckle at the sad thought of being totally underwhelmed by something as life changing and incredible as a newborn baby. Then Mike said, “We need you to be just whelmed. You don’t hear that very often, that someone is just the exact right amount of whelmed.”

And yes, I would like very much to be the exact right amount of whelmed. Right now I am anything but. Mike is spectacular. I feel like he is this pillar that keeps my whole world from flying apart. Yes, he jokes and teases when I am on the verge of panic, but he also keeps me calm and keeps me feeling like all will be well again and my current frettings are just part of the package of life with a newborn. He has been taking care of everything around here. And by everything, I mean even all the things that are not one bit in his nature to take care of – like dishes and laundry and small tidying projects. He seems to know that my sense of calm revolves around a few main relied upon normalcies – if the kids still get bathed, if the house stays relatively tidy, and a few other insignificant things of that nature can be relied upon, my world seems much more steady and sure, and Mike, bless his heart has been making sure all of that happens as well as extra kindnesses like making me lunch, taking the older kids off to run errands so I have some time alone with Anders, etc. We didn’t have this luxury with our first three kids. Mike had school and tests and multiple part time jobs to attend to, but I am loving him having a few days off to keep my world steady. I feel so extra aware of how blessed I am to have him and so extra in love with him. Next week I will be thrown head on back into the thick of life, and while I’m a little scared, I also feel like my confidence about how life will work out with all the newness to it will increase quite a bit as I see that I can somehow manage things.

With all my talk of being overwhelmed and a bit ready to cry at any given moment about things like, “How do I run errands with a newborn again?” and “How did I get my other ones to eventually have nap times?” and “How will Jesse adjust so he isn’t so overly whiny and sad?” and “How do I ever run again?” there is a definite conflicting feeling going on. In exact opposition to these feelings is the feeling of desperately wanting to hold on to this phase.


I keep staring at his tiny perfect features, at his sad little chin that quivers uncontrollably when he starts to cry, at his scrawny little arms shaking nervously if he is unbundled, or resting scrunched up against my chest as I rock him on my shoulder, and I can hardly bare the thought that he will outgrow all this newborness in only a matter of weeks. It seems almost unfair that all of this perfect and helpless newness will be left behind. Obviously it is fine as it happens because each new thing they do and learn only seems more wonderful, but I honestly almost keep feeling like maybe we only get them as newborns for such a short while because it is simply too much of a sacred thing. Is that wrong to say? They seem totally sacred to me. They seem incredible and impossible, and I almost feel like we only get that tiny newborn for a little bit so we don’t have a chance to take it for granted or to feel like it is in any way common or, in any way, anything but a total and real miracle.

So, that’s the whole craziness of life for me right now. Overwhelmed with responsibility and stress about how life will ever get back to normal, and yet overwhelmed by the thought that it will get back to normal, that I won’t get to keep this tiny unearthly phase with my little Anders for much longer. Clearly if I was rational, that feeling would cancel out the other – I would realize how short this time is and embrace it with all its chaos, knowing that life truly WILL go back to “normal” all too quickly, but, alas, I am hardly rational at all, so both feelings just exist – completely, and completely opposite, and side by side in me. What a crazy thing it is welcoming a new life to your own existence!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Oct. 3, 2011–Monday



I woke early Monday morning – partially to get everything ready for the day before heading for the hospital, and partially because I couldn’t sleep. It should have been over excitement about the day finally being the day to get my little one here, but the inability to sleep was actually due more to anxiety. I had woken all through the night hoping labor would start. Being induced still felt unfamiliar and forced and I was still hesitant. However, as I lay there in the quiet darkness a different feeling came over me. My thoughts were turned very much away from myself and I felt like I was on the very edge of seeing or hearing something from somewhere else. I had this small sense of bustling and people gathering and excitement and that was all really. The veil just seemed incredibly thin. I hardly dared move for fear the sensation would shatter – kind of like the disturbance swirling a reflection in water would cause. I just stayed there. Very still and teary eyed until, finally, it was time to get up and, with the bustle of kids waking and school lunches being made, the delicate little window seemed to close tightly again, but it left me with a cool feeling and a more peaceful approach to the day.

At around 8:00 am, Mike and I bid the kids farewell – leaving the older ones to be picked up by a neighbor for school and the little ones in the care of my mom, while we headed off to the hospital for my 8:30 appointment. It did seem very odd to be making that drive with no labor pains, and slightly unreal and silly to be checking in at the labor and delivery desk with not so much as a contraction.

Still, check in we did, and by 9:00 we were all set up in our room. The plan was not to start me immediately. I always test positive for that darn group B strep, and they like to have penicillin floating around in your system for a good four hours before you deliver baby. So, at 9:00 we just started my penicillin IV with plans to induce me around 11:00 (and hopefully not have the baby ‘til 1:00).

However, around 10:00 things got a little silly. I started into labor on my own. I say silly because I thought, “Oh for crying out loud! Is this all it took? My body being tricked? My body thinking, ‘well, I am in the hospital with an IV . . . I must be in labor’” Contractions were still not very intense at 11:00, but I had dilated a bit further and the nurse was nervous that adding Pitocin to the mix would hurry things along too quickly – perhaps bringing baby before the penicillin had done its thing. So, we decided to just wait until 1:00 and then add Pitocin to hurry things along.

By 1:00, my contractions weren’t the end of the world, but they were quite uncomfortable. I had to swat Mike when, talking to his mother on the phone he said, “She’s kind of gone into labor on her own . . . kind of half labor,” as I laughingly protested (I wasn’t having a contraction at the moment or I probably wouldn’t have laughed) he just said, “She’s just agreeing with me.” However my “half labor” had dilated me to a 5 (at which point Mike pointed out that I was half way so I had half labored) and things were looking good to go.

The nurse was going to put the Pitocin on but informed me that the anesthesiologist was currently in the OR and would likely be there for 15 or 20 minutes. I’ve gone from a 5 to having a baby in my arms in less than an hour before, so even though I was very anxious to pick things up, I was hesitant to start adding to the painful contractions I was already having with the anesthesiologist tied up. I hesitated because I really was anxious, but decided to have her wait and give me the Pitocin when I knew I could get my epidural.

That proved to be a very wise choice as the anesthesiologist ended up stuck in the OR for nearly an hour – and when I did get the Pitocin (around 2:00), I had Anders with in the hour. Seeing how easily I could handle dilating to a 5 made me think I probably am a better candidate than most for handling natural childbirth, and I have handled it, but at the end of this labor, even with my epidural, I could feel those last transition contractions rather miserably and I couldn’t help but feel so utterly grateful I wasn’t feeling them sans the epidural mask!

I was worried he’d be hard to get out with his size, but pushing wasn’t bad. His head was out right away, and then, after some small delays due to the chord around his neck and some rather sturdy shoulders with a little hand tucked right up by them, out came the rest of him. All 9 lbs. 7 oz. and 22 inches of him. There is nothing in the world as incredible and unreal, amazing and heart wrenching  as that very moment when, this almost theoretical little person, is suddenly there – poor tiny arms flailing -- 100 % real and whole and yours. And so he is, this little miracle of Anders, very real and whole and very much ours.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Welcome Anders!


What’s In a Name


When I first found out we were expecting a sixth child, I thought, as you may recall, that it would certainly be a girl. So, I gave very little thought to any possible boy names. Still, I did glance through the boy names in one little book. I don’t think many names stood out to me, but several Scandinavian names did. One of which was Anders.

I brought it up to Mike and told him all about “The Cap That Mother Made” – a book I loved from my childhood. I immediately began to look for the book at the library, and, when I couldn’t find it, stole my mother’s copy. I planned on returning it because, after all, we were most likely having a girl, and, if, on the off chance that my intuition proved wrong, it was a boy, well, we hadn’t decided on Anders for certain.

Still, if you know this tale, as I do, you can’t help but love the name Anders.

Anders is a young boy growing up in Sweden. And, to his delight, his mother knits him a beautiful cap. It is so extraordinary, that all sorts of folks want to have the hat and are willing to exchange nearly anything for it. In the end, the king himself offers Anders his own crown for the cap, but nothing can induce Anders to part with the cap his own mother made for him.

Of course, when he returns home, his brothers are furious. How could he be so foolish? He could buy any number of caps with the king’s crown!

But Anders mother only hugs her boy – and sets to making another cap he can take along should he visit the king again.

And you can tell I just had a new baby because I just started to cry when I typed that. Heehee.

Anyway, so Anders was on my mind as a possible name, but our other boys all have family names, so I wasn’t sure Mike would go for it.

Not long afterwards, I was at my mom’s house looking at some names along our family line (she is quite the genealogist) and lo and behold, what do I see, but both a 6th and an 8th great grandpa named Anders!

I’ve always known the story of my 2nd great grandfather – Edward Allison (which is where my middle name of Allison comes from). He set off from England as a young boy to “make his fortune” – times were hard, his mother had passed away, and that was just what you did. One brother went to Australia, I think one stayed there, and Ed headed for America.

I don’t know his whole story, he ended up eventually in UT as the Sheriff of Summit County, but, in the mean time, he worked for awhile on a ranch where his friend had just married a girl from Norway. Edward took a liking to, and later married, this girls’ younger sister – Eliza Bruun. The Bruuns had been baptized into our church back in Norway and had made the trek to America with their father, mother, and brother; only to have their mother die at Winter Quarters – leaving their dad to make his way to UT alone with the three kids.

It was in tracing back along Eliza’s line that I found, on both her mother’s and her father’s side my Anders grandpas. One was born as early as 1650. One in Norway and one in Sweden.

Also, while we don’t yet know much about them, Mike recently discovered some Anderses exist on his side as well.

I keep wondering about them. Wishing we had more information. Wondering what they would have thought had they known, back working their land in Norway several hundred years ago, that some day, generations later, a little boy would be born in America and named after them. I wonder a little if there is any pull between between the generations; if the fact that this ninth and seventh great grandson was about to be born and given their name forged a connection between them; if they were there to send him off and bid him good luck; or, maybe if he already knew and was connected to them and that is what influenced Mike and my decision on the name. Maybe not, but I feel very happy with the name of Anders for this strapping new boy of mine!

P.S. While I have no skills or knowledge in knitting myself, my sweet niece Ashley did knit him the hat in the above picture. It came a few days before he was born and I couldn’t help but think again that Anders would be just the name for a boy with such a fine cap!

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