Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Halloween, almost a month late

I know I have been horrible of late about keeping up with my blog. I wanted to get pictures of our Halloween put up though before I completely forget about doing so. So here is our Halloween, a bit late.

The Theme this year: Star Wars

Boy was a padawan learner or Luke Skywalker depending on when you asked him.

Goob was the cutest Yoda ever known to man kind! I was Padme Amidala in her Mustafa outfit. Benjamin was Obi Wan Kenobi. Sheepie was Anikan Skywalker. and FP was Mace Windu; we ended up shaving his head bald after taking these pictures. You can see he's bald in the family picture.

I realise now, this is the last picture I have of me pregnant with Beaney, I think.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Week 1: Mr. Beaney and Big Boy Beds

Beaney at One week old.

Isn't he darling?
Almost back to his birth weight almost.
Sleeping for 3 or so hours at time.
Sadly, extremely gassy.
A peaceful guy in general.

To get the Littles ready for Beaney as a new roommate we had to make some changes in the sleeping arrangements. The kids managed to break the crib we owned by jumping on it, once we turned it into a toddler bed for Goob. Because of this we needed to buy a new crib and figured it was a great time to move Goob up to a real toddler bed. So how do you fit three kids in a room? Bunk beds of course. As you can see from the pictures, we build them mini bunk beds. Basically we just build a small loft bed over Boy's existing bed, and let Boy have the top bunk. We then moved Goob into Boy's old bed, and bought a new crib for when Beaney leaves our room and moves in with them. So far, everyone seems to like their new sleeping space.

Introducing the Bean

Our sweet Mr. Beaney was born November 8th, 2011

8lbs 9oz.
21 inches long
4:32 pm

Everyone is happy and healthy, and Beaney has slipped right into our family seamlessly. I don't we could love him more if we tried.

Labour with Beaney was unlike anything I have ever gone through. I gave birth naturally this time, but not quite like I expected to. A week or so before the Bean was born I had mentioned to Benjamin that I thought I'd like to try having him naturally. Just so I can say I've had the experience, but truth be told I kind of dismissed that idea fairly quickly.

The day Bean was born started out like any other day. I'd had no signs of labour at all and was getting ready to go crazy. In the morning, I dropped everyone where they needed to be and then went in for my weekly OB appointment. At this point, I begged to be induced. None of my kids have made it to their actual due day except my eldest and I was beyond ready to have the kid out of me. My OB was actually just fine with inducing me, and we scheduled it for the following morning. Quite happy with that, I went on my way and headed off to a massage and chiropractic adjustment. Still nothing unusual about my day at this point. No contractions or signs of labour approaching. Around 12:30 I went to pick up Boy and Goob from my friend Robyn's house, and stayed until about 1:30. Now this is where the day started to get fun. At 2:30, my kids get out of school, and as I was driving to get them, had had the most intermittent and mild contractions. No worse than the Braxton Hicks I'd been having off and on for weeks. I even stopped to talk to each of my son's teachers, and had a good laugh b/c I had to pause our conversation b/c of contractions. However, it was still nothing I thought to be real labour because I was able to drive home. By the time we got home, I thought I might be in early labour, as my contractions were now regular, though still far apart.

I decided to call Benjamin around 3:30 and suggested to him that he might want to leave a bit earlier than normal so that he'd have time to pack a bag before it was time to go to the hospital. By this point my contractions were very uncomfortable, and I had to focus quite a bit to get through them. However they were still manageable. I then went up stairs and decided to get in the shower to try and relax a bit. The shower helped but by the time I got out, I was in quite a bit of pain in each contraction, and it was all I could do to not curl up on my floor and cry. The younger boys were sleeping though, and the older boys were in the next room over though, so I didn't want to freak them out by making too much noise. I decided to call my mother in law and have her come over to watch the boys, so that when Benjamin got home we could head to the hospital. I wasn't sure that they would keep me, because, painful though they were, I didn't think my contractions were regular enough. I had after all still been able to move aruond the house and deal with the boys.

Benjamin got home, and I knew it was time to go. The contractions were right on top of each other at this point, and the five minute drive to the hospital was gruelling. I remember telling him in the car I was sorry ahead of time, because I was pretty sure I was going to end up swearing soon, since it hurt so much. In asking him later though, he said I never did end up swearing. I can remember thinking in the car ride over two things. One: the car in front of us was driving way too slowly for a highway, and two: I really had to pee. By the time we pulled up to the ER and got in, the contractions were so painful I just stood in the lobby as the guy printed off my admitting stuff, and buried my head in Benjamins back while rocking back and forth. As the man put my wrist band on (I was this close to clawing at him, he was taking so long!) Benjamin grabbed a wheel chair, and basically just ran me up to the OB floor. When we got to the OB floor, he slowed down long enough to ask me what room we were in, and then we went. It felt as if we didn't stop for the nurses or anything, just wheeled past them, leaving them and my midwife to follow behind.

As soon as we got to the room, I got out of the wheel chair and made a beeline for the bathroom still feeling like I had to pee. I had never felt so much pain before, but by this point it felt as if the entire thing were an out of body experience. I did not have to pee, I was ready to push. That quickly, I was ready to push, so I went to the bed, climbed up and started to sob to my midwife that it hurt so badly and I just wanted her to get him out of me.

She told me she was going to check me, and I remember snapping at her that I didn't want to be touched, and she replied that she wasn't touching me, what I felt was the babies head and it was RIGHT there. Again it was such an out of body experience at this point. I have never yelled through a birth (b/c I've always had an epidural) but I was yelling and begging for her to get him out. I remember begging her for an epidural, and it just not making sense in my head that it was too far along to have it, even though I knew he was right there. It seemed as if everyone was scrambling around the room to get things ready. Normally I doubt they have patients just walk in and crawl up on all fours on the bed and announce that whether the nurses were ready or not, they were going to start pushing the kid out. However, that is exactly what I did, and ten agonizing and surreal minutes after I walked into the ER doors I was holding my new son against my chest.

The moments after Beaney was born were equally surreal. Looking back on it now, I honestly think I was in a mild state of shock. Everything had happened so quickly, and after giving him to me for a minute, they took Beaney away to make sure that the rapid fire delivery didn't do anything to him. So as he was being looked over I remember just sitting there trying to process everything, and slowly returning to myself from my 'out of bodiness'. Truthfully, because it was all so fast and I think I was in a bit of shock I don't recall having that overwhelming whoosh of love for Beaney that I did with the other boys, but more of a slow realization that he was actually here and he was ours. Soon enough, people cleared out of our room, and we were left to cuddle in with Bean and get to know him.

Looking back at it, I commented to a friend that the were was no way I could have given birth naturally of my own choice. That I just wasn't strong enough to have not chickened out, given the choice. But as I think about it, I realise that in a way, it was my own choice, and I was strong enough. Yes, my labour was quite short this time, but I was at home for all but the last 15 minutes of it. I was working through the contractions while I was dealing with children, driving cars, and moving around, all the time telling myself that they were not too painful to cope with. All the time thinking that I surely had much longer to go and that the truly painful stuff was yet to come at a later point. But I was, in reality dealing with it right then. I was labouring naturally. And so, when that time came to deliver, yes the window for drugs was gone, and yes it was insanely painful and fast, but I was able to do it, and do it strong. When I think of it in that regard, I find the whole experience quite empowering. To think of my body and self as being that strong and not even consciously knowing it at the time. Like I said, quite empowering.

In the end, having delivered both with medicine and naturally now, I still stand by my original view point that it doesn't matter how the child arrives so long as, in the end both mother and child are healthy. However, I feel quite blessed to have had this experience, to show me how strong I am, and that in the end I can say I belong to a collection of women who have, through history, delivered their children in such a way.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Just testing...

I'm just testing to see what happens when I post using a different email address.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sweet Sheepie is growing up

When FP turned five, I put together a sweet video of pictures and videos of him through his first five years. I had every intention of doing this for Sheepie when he turned five too. For whatever reason, sadly, it never got made. Today he asked me, as FP was looking at his video, where the Sheepie video was. I had to admit it was never made. Until today....

It's a year and a half late, but while he was napping I made a video for him..... using his favourite Beatles songs. So, Happy 5 years video, my sweet Sheepie (only a year and a half late).

Boys new glasses

As you might have noticed in the back to school pictures, Boy was sporting something new in his back to school look....

After years of hoping and wishing to be like his two older brothers, Boy finally got the desires of his heart, and was told he'd get to wear glasses.

At his 3 year check up, the Dr. told me that he was quite certain that by the time he was 5 he'd need glasses for being far sighted and having an astigmatism. He has a very slight one now, and the Dr. said while he could do without them, glasses now would help. So we decided that since he was so very excited now, getting him in the habit of wearing them would be worth purchasing glasses now.

Now let's hope that either Goob and Beany both need glasses when they are older, or that neither one does. Could you imagine being the odd kid out, when it comes to wearing glasses in this family. haha

He calls them his Benny the Beaver glasses, because on the inside of the frame and on the sides, they are bright orange; his favourite colour.

First Day of School! First Day of School!!!!

As pretty much every other mommy blog in the world has updated, it's a new school year. Here are at the Carleski Casa, we too were too have been excited to greet Autumn and the smell of fresh crayons and pencil shavings. The three oldest boys counted the days anxiously from the moment we got back from Utah, and thankfully it wasn't too long of a wait for them.

Sheepie and Frog Prince were off first, heading out for a new year of fun.

FP and his 2nd grade (!!! when did he get so old) teacher, Mrs. Free.
I love her to pieces already. She is totally no nonsense, but makes the kids laugh and is very much concerned with helping FP stay on track, while still reinforcing that she cares.

Sheepie and his 1st grade teacher, Mrs. T.
I am so excited to have another kid in Mrs Tyrrell's class this year. She was so much fun to be involved with last year, and I know she will find the perfect ways to help Sheepie push himself and have fun this year.

A few days later, this noodle head started his second year of preschool. I'm not sure what happened, but looking at this picture it seemed like he grew up over night. I remember being so worried when he started last year about how small he was, but now he seems so grown up and big when he is in his class. He loves preschool so much, and asks me every night if he has class in the morning.

With the Biggies and Boy back to school, it gives me some really nice one on one time with Goober before the baby gets here. So far we've enjoyed a lot of walks and reading books together. I'm thinking, if I can work the schedule out right, we might take a water kids class together, while Boys in class.

Happy back to school!

Monday, August 22, 2011

My Grandfather

The call came Saturday afternoon, and I knew when I saw the caller ID what it was about. My grandfather'd been sick for a while. I contemplated for a minute if I should call my brother back, as I stood hiking up the side of the hills on Antelope Island with my kids. But I did, and as I heard him confirming what I'd suspected, I didn't really have a chance to realise my Grandpa was really gone. In that moment, I went into 'mommy mode' and after hiding behind my husband to sob for a moment, I dried my eyes and proceeded with the day full of fun things we'd planned. There was no point in tell my kids until the end of the day, since it was our last weekend in Utah and we didn't want to ruin it for them.

Then that night, we sat the older boys down and explained to them that their Great Grandpa had died that morning. I shed a few tears as I held a sobbing Frog Prince, and listened to his little broken heart try to come to terms that his Grandpa Ron was in heaven. It wasn't my turn to be sad yet; he needed to have his tears. Sheepie was sad, but at his age, dead is still not quite as solid a concept, and he sadness was not quite as pronounced. Frog Prince has turned the corner and quickly understood the reality that he was gone. His little tears ached for grandpas absence from his upcoming baptism; that their last conversation of having a sleep over wouldn't come true. His sadness came often through the night, and Mommy needed to take first place over upset granddaughter.

Sunday, was filled with the haze of goodbyes at church and getting everything packed up quickly, so that we could come home to Corvallis early. It wasn't until I went to bed last night, that it was my turn finally. I woke up around 3 am, like I tend to do thanks to the Bean in utero somersaults, and decided to hop in the shower. As I sad there it really began to sink in that he was gone. I knew that it was going to happen, as I said he'd been very sick. However, even with that in my head, I just assumed he'd be around. He's been around my entire life, it seemed fairly impossible to have it be any other way. So the tears finally fell freely and I was able to really reflect on my Grandpa.

My grandpa was a pretty awesome guy. Like I said, he was such a fixture of my life, that it was the kind of awesomeness that most of the time you don't even notice because it's always there. I have so many good memories of him that the more I sit here thinking about it, it's hard to pick just a few to write about. I can recall that as a kid, it seemed as if he always had something cool in store for us grand kids.

The two stories I remember the most are ones he'd tell us about his own childhood. My Grandpa Ron grew up in Speedway, Indiana, home of the Indy500. He used to tell us about how the whole town lived for those races, and when the engines would start up for the season you could hear it throughout the town. When the engines revved for the first time they'd all rush out school to the race yards (even mid day) just to see the cars. For a kid, had to be pure bliss.

He'd also tell us stories of how, during the war, his family traveled to San Francisco to visit his brother who was a solider. They rode the bus all the way from Indiana, and then would stay in a hotel. He would tell us about how back then, even as a kid, he was allowed to just leave the hotel and explore the city by himself. He'd find someone who looked interesting and would follow them around, seeing where they'd go for the day.

He loved football too. He used to tell us stories of how he played while he was in college at USC. It was back in the days of soft leather helmets, and for a long time he had his helmet tucked away in a closet in house.

He had great little poems and songs he'd teach us too. It was law in his house that you learned by heart at least one of his poems. To this day, I can say it at the drop of a hat, and fully intend on teaching it to each of the boys.

Ladies and Gentlemen
I come before you, to stand behind you,
to tell you something, I know nothing about.
This Tuesday, which is Good Friday
there will be a women's meeting, for men only.
Admission is Free, pay at the door.
Plenty of seats, sit on the floor.
Next on the agenda is the four corners of the round table.

My Grandpa had two great loves in life: the water and dogs. He had a dog since before I was born. But it always seemed to me that his true love was, Sammie, a white dog that lived forever, it seemed. She was born before I was, and lived up until I was 11 or so. When Sammie died, he never got another dog, but he loved to spoil any dog in sight. His other love was the water. He lived for sailing and boating. When I was a kid he only had a little rubber zodiac. I can imagine, now, that for a man who loved sailing, it was not nearly as thrilling as he wanted, but as a kid, to my brothers and I it was quite possibly the coolest thing ever. We would spend whole weekends speeding up and down the river in that little boat, laughing as he'd cut across wake to bounce us up and down. We learned to love the water in that little boat, and it's a love that I still have. Later, he bought a sail boat, The Serendipity, and we taught us each to sail. I loved sitting on the front of that boat as it'd bob up and down in the water, or spend summer days leaning against the front of the cabin reading a book. My grandpas happiest when he was on his boat, but even more so, it seemed when he was able to share it with his grand kids. It makes me sad to think my kids were too little to ever be able to go out with him.

My Grandpa took me to see my first real theatre production ever. I couldn't have been more than 12, but I remember getting dressed up in what I thought at the time was such a grown up dress, and him taking me out to dinner before hand. The way he talked to the waitress about me, made me free so special. And then we went to the Arlene Schnizter, in Portland, and saw a Broadway review. It was sitting there, that night, that I fell in love with theatre, and knew I wanted to be an actor. My Grandpa came to every play I was ever in, no matter how big or small the role. Everything from my ridiculous second grade play to being in leading roles in things like Oklahoma! and Godspell, he was there.

I have so many other little memories of him, like how he drove down from Portland to take me to get my drivers license, and then let me drive home in his brand new car, because that's what kids are supposed to get to do when they turn 16. Or how much he loved my kids. How happy he'd be to hold each of them as new born babies, or how he loved to have them running around. Or how he practically lived at his local Sherri's for years and every waitress there knew his name, and where always thrown off when he'd not have a meal there at least once a day.

Like I said, my Grandpa Ron was a pretty awesome guy. He may not have been awesome in the way that will make history remember him, but in our family I know that he will always be remembered as someone pretty singular. I am glad he's no longer in pain, and struggling with illness, but I sure am going to miss him.

This picture represents four generations. Although, I'm not in it because I was taking it. My Grandpa, my mom, and Goob on his blessing day.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Dinosaurs, Fossils, and Colorado, Oh my!

So, the question in the last post was, what happens when you load us all up in our car on the way home form camping, and my husband I and get an itch to see dinos? Well, if you know Mr. C and me, you probably can figure out that the natural answer is you flip a u-turn and head to Colorado (well, right on the Utah Colorado boarder) to see Dinosaur National Monument.

Extra day of camping an another 200 miles? Sure, why not! Kids (and their grown ups) are only little once after all.

After doing some quick look ups on the ol' blackberry, while we drove, Mr. C and I mapped out our next leg of the great adventure. first it was back through Moab to some random place along the Colorado River to see Ancient Pictographs. FP was super excited since he learned about hieroglyphs in school this last year, and found them to be very much the same.

And then it was time to take a random cute picture of Goob!

Further down the road was spot where a large slat of rock had fallen that had many impressions of dinosaur foot prints. You can see the two they painted white to make it easy to see, but there was probably about 20 on that slab of rock alone.

FP touching his first ever dino fossil (trace fossil, he learned it was called later)

A note: These prints are not easily accessed if you have small kids. Thankfully there was a woman and her daughter there at the same time as we were because it was very slipper to climb to the slab, and involved their kindness of helping us climb to various place and then hand the boys off to each other, to get up and down. I think without their help, we'd have had one of the boys (or us holding one of them) fall. It is do able, but probably best to take up one kid at a time, and have two adults to help them along.

The slab is right above that big out cropping midway up, to give you reference.

After checking out the dino prints we hopped in the car and drove. I have to laugh because the quickest way to get to Dinosaur National Monument is to drive all the way out of Utah, through Colorado, and then back into Utah again. It sits right on the boarder, and spans both states, but all of the actual dinosaur stuff is on the Utah side. So we drove to Colorado and had a great time stopping in a town called Dinosaur, Colorado.

Hanging out with Sheepies favourite dino, the tricerotops, at this neat park where we stopped for lunch, and to let the kids play.

And then we arrived!

By the time we got there it was pretty late, so we found the camp grounds that are in the monument, and set up camp. It was a completely different feeling than camping in Moab, and I have to say it was a bit crazy. You know how you go camping, and there is always that one family that just is annoying somewhere in the camp grounds? We were that family! The place was packed so there were people everywhere. And despite the fact that there were kids everywhere, it was so quiet. Most of the families seemed to only have 1 or 2 kids, and they were so subdued I'm not really sure if it was not some strange twilight zone episode or something. However, we arrive, our kids full of hours of pent up energy. They are used to being about to run around the other camp site and be as loud and wild as they wanted. So that is what they do here, in our tiny site. Didn't go over well. Then after we finally got them to all settle a bit and eat, to keep them quiet we loaded them into the tent and read many many chapters of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which was our current bed time book. Thankfully, they did eventually quiet down, but the next morning were up bright and early and again were super loud as the entire campsite seemed to sleep in until noon. Figuratively of course, but still. I was not sad to leave that camp site, and the icing on the cake was that the night before I put the rain fly to the tent on a near by stump so that the boys could see the stars as the slept. Packing up, we discovered the stump was the home of a huge ant colony, and they were ALL over the rain fly. We had to shake it out, which, if you know me and my straight up phobia of ant, is amazing. Yup, not sad to leave that camp site at all.

Especially because in leaving it mean seeing Dinosaur bones! Disclaimer: this is the part of the post were I turn into a 7 year old geek child and ramble excitedly about all the dinosaur stuff we saw.

You see, for as long as I could remember know what a Dinosaur was, I knew I wanted, and dreamed of being a Paleontologist. It was that one job for me. You know the one; where you dream about it your whole life, and tell everyone you're going to be, when they ask you as a kid. Even today, if I were willing to live in a place with my family that would facility may being so, and I didn't want to stay home with my kids, I think I'd get my PhD in Paleontology and go dig up bones for a living. So I'm honestly not sure who was more excited when we explored the monument, the kids, or me. Truthfully, based on how dorky my husband said I was going on and on about the bones and such, it was probably me.

Now don't freak out or anything, but this is us touching real fossils. And not just silly little fragments left after they got the good stuff, these are hard core full on bones. The smart man who founded the place, thought it would be neat to leave parts of the site open to natural erosion to that the bones would be in their natural state for people to see. BRILLIANT!

This one is super cool. Can you see, starting right by Mr. C's finger and going up the rock where the end of a bone is stating to become exposed?

And this one is awesome. Though it's hard to see, the whole kind of raised circular part of the rock that FP's leaning on is the vertebrae of a medium sized juvenile sauropod (four legged walker). That piece bigger than his head is JUST one piece of the things spine! I told you... I kind of nerded out a bit over this stuff.

This is them touching the end of a juvenile femur bone. Again of a sauropod.

And then, in a moment of true and ultimate awesomeness for me. I touched a real life, not in some museum, but in the side of the freaking mountain still stegosaurus bone. I wanted to rip it out of the rock right there and hold it in my hands. It is a dino geeks dreams come true.

Then it was off to the visitor's center.

This picture cracks me up. FP learned about this book and the author in school this last year, and practically had a heart attack when he saw it in the visitor center store. Look at that face.

One of the last things we did before heading home was having the boys sworn in as official Junior Park Rangers and Junior Paleontologist. They had little workbooks for each that they had to fill out around the park. When they were done, they could return them and the rangers would go over all the answers with them. They would then be sworn in and receive their badges and certificates.

The boys would not stop talking about it forever, and still wear their badges every chance they get. It is too funny!

After the Monument, we hurried to Vernal, in Utah to check out the Utah Field House of Natural History. It was quick trip since they were closing in 45 minutes but we managed to see pretty much everything that their attention spans would allow.

As the sun set on your adventure, a car full of happy, filthy little boys passed out and we drove happily home to Salt Lake.

If you are ever in the market for an adventure your family will never forget, carve a week out of your schedule, and check out Moab and Dinosaur National Monument. You won't regret it.

Canyonlands and Dead Horse

The next day was spent exploring Canyonlands National Park and Dead Horse State Park.

I swear, that the views while driving through Canyonlands seriously could have been taken straight out of the movie cars. When you see the vastness and the unreal heights of some of these canyons, it seriously seems as if the Earth was just cracked in two by a giant axe.

The canyons just drop straight down. Right behind these logs, it was such a sheer drop, we wouldn't let the boys get out of the car to take a picture.

We didn't get too many pictures in Canyonlands. We mostly drove to see things, and hiked a little. Hiking, as far as we could see, in the Canyonland Park is not very kid friendly; even for kids with as many miles under their belt as ours. they were rugged steep climbs down the canyon faces, that often times I couldn't even find a trail head for by the signs, just drop offs. LOL... not that I'm a spoil sport or anything, but I'm just not keen on the idea of on of my kids falling off the side of a massive drop.

This is right by were we stopped to eat lunch. Boy was not too happy about being as close to the canyon ledge as we were. Even though it was a good 10 or so feet behind us, he wanted to make a hasty retreat as soon as this picture was taken.

We actually weren't going to go out to Dead Horse, but the internet said they had dino fossils at the vistor center. They lied. There was one TINY dino print, which we could barely see, in the flower bed in front of the visitors center. However, it the views were neat, and they informational hike they have is kind of cool, since you can see the salt flats were they make salt. And the drive out to the place mentioned in the legend of Dead Horse point is a bit unnerving when you see how narrow the land bridge is that you're driving over. If you want to read the legend of how the place got it's name, check it out here.

It was after seeing all this that we kind of felt like we'd seen all that we had to see, and were going to head home. After playing a bit more at our camp site, we packed up and started to drive home. About 10 or so miles out of Moab, Mr. C and I started talking about all the cool things we'd seen and what else would have been awesome. That's when I mentioned Dinosaurs.... yup, dinosaurs. So what do you do when you have a car full of boys covered in red dirt and two spontaneous, impulsive grown ups... You pull a u-turn and head to the Dinos!