January 26, 2015

One Single Phone Call....

can change your entire path in life. I should be writing about the latest adventure of potty training 4 two year olds but tonight is not the night. All day I have been thinking about how this day 3 years ago, four of our kids were frozen in a straw and were waiting in a lab to be thawed the next morning. Science and the advances it has made to help those suffering from infertility is amazing but that is not what has weighed so heavily on my heart today. It is the fact that a phone call I answered 3 years ago changed mine and Paul's life more than any single moment in our life so far. That phone call is the reason we had 4 babies at one time instead of 2. It is why I got to tuck in 7 kids tonight when if we had gone with what we had discussed with the doctor we would have only tucked in 5. It is so hard for me to even imagine how with the doctors words of "two of your four embryos are non-viable" we were only planning on putting back 2 of our 4 frozen embryos. Why wouldn't we believe the doctor? He was an expert in his field. It took us 8 embryos of good quality to get the twins. Why would we put 2 embryos that would not produce a pregnancy back in? Yet, all it took was a single sentence from the embryologist, "occasionally in my career I have seen this grade of embryo take" for us to know it wasn't about us and all about those 4 babies who were frozen six years earlier. IF they had any chance at life there was no way I could just throw two them away.

As I watched my 4 miracles play today I couldn't imagine only having 2. I thought over and over, who were the 2 non-viable ones? Who was I going to discard? In a way it is almost painful for me to even think about. The emotions I feel on the anniversary of the quads transfer is so much more than the transfer of the twins (I actually can't even tell you when the twins were transferred!) because it is the day I almost lost the chance to be a mom to 2 of my kids. I can't even tell you how often I think about the embryologist who called me 3 years ago. I will forever be thankful for her and she is the reason why all 4 of my babies were given a chance at life.

Kenzie, Isabella, Tate & Rylan; you were our 4 remaining embryos. There is never a day, even in the middle of chaos, that I would ever chose not to put all 4 of you back in. You have made me a better mom, wife and person. Your dad and I are closer and more in love because of you. You have showed us what is important in life. Today I am grateful that a single phone call changed the path I had planned for myself in life because this journey is so much better than anything I could have planned.

Three years ago you were frozen in 2 straws, tonight you are 4 amazing brothers & sisters.

January 20, 2015

Wrap up of 2014

I have been asked to go watch Planes: Fire & Rescue with an adorable little man and I am so going to take him up on his invitation but before that I want to wrap up 2014. Since the movie has already started I am leaving you with a bunch of holiday family togetherness. Even though my family was all born and raised in Minnesota it is so awesome to have us all together as we have all begun or own families. My mom, brother, sister and I all live within 25 minutes of each other. These days that is not very common but when one does have family close by there is nothing than can beat it.

You know it's going to be a good day when you get away with eating M&M's before breakfast.
"Oh you got these for the little girls?"
Isabella loves any kind of baby. Little mommy in the making.

"Spinach dip anyone?"

Sometimes the safest place is under the cabinets in our house.

Cousin Axel
Sleeping away his 1st Christmas

I was so over nerf guns after this weekend. They were non stop.

Uncle Connor & Rylan
Natalie & Aubrey both learned to knit. Someday they can teach their mom...

Auntie Ella & Aubrey
It didn't take long to tear down the fence around our yard with lots of helpers. So windy and cold that day.
Missing the peanut who was having a complete meltdown because she couldn't open all of the gifts.
Paul and I may hog the baby when he comes over. Shocking since we have 7 under our feet at all times.
The artistic one just like big sister Aubrey.
Cousin Evan
I am calling this post complete, bread is baking in the oven and I am off to tuck myself under a blanket to cuddle with a cute 4 year old. After this weekend of potty training 4 miserably sick two year olds, I have no guilt about going to lie down til the big girls need to be picked up from school. Next up: how to potty train way too many toddlers at one time....

January 15, 2015

New Year Slump

Every year I find myself in a blog slump after the holidays. SO much excitement and busyness during the month of December and as soon as the year changes life seems almost boring. The rooms are bare, the toys that were brand new have already lost their sparkle, diets have started so even eating has lost its thrill as the last of the Christmas cookies found themselves in the trash can. But I must get over the slump and to do that I am heading back to 2014 for two blog posts. Today I am going all the way back to November. I didn't realize I never documented our trip to Disney that we took with only the biggest kids. It is mainly pictures and I am sure it is not the most exciting but I love seeing the joy my kids had from ear to ear for three days (of course there were tears too because that's just life with kids) and my blog doubles as our photo album so Disney must be in there.

You can almost hear us while taking the first picture; "Drew look at mom. Natalie smile please. Aubrey act like your having fun." And the next picture is as good as we could get it. Boy oh boy it takes work to get that perfect picture and as you can see we still are working on it.

Aubrey lives for the parades at Disney. I never see my daughter smile bigger than when she can get the characters to look and wave at her. I have video taped her during an entire parade just so that I can always go back to my innocent child. 
For the last couple of years we have done Disney for the twins birthday instead of doing a birthday party. Last April we could not find a good time for us to go between other things we had going on and mine & Paul's work schedules so we decided to go in the fall and try and time it for when Disneyland would be decorated for Christmas. The next thing we needed to figure out is if Paul and I were going to go by ourselves with the kids or if we wanted to bring someone with us. In the past Paul's parents have met us in Southern California but because of the high prices of airfare it was not going to work this time. It came down to 2 adults with 7 kids and though we knew it could be done it wasn't a trip we were thrilled about mainly because an 8 hour car ride with 4 two year olds and lots of stroller time with the same toddlers just seemed more like a form of punishment than memories being made. Then one evening Paul had the grand idea, and really it was probably the best idea he has ever had, he asked if it would be possible to leave the quads home with my mom and we could just take the older three. I loved this idea because we could spend some quality time with Natalie, Aubrey and Drew, my mom could spend time with just 4 of her grandkids and Disney would be enjoyable without worrying about naps, tables big enough for all of us, and the never-ending stares & questions from everyone we passed. We did shorten our usual 5 day trip to 3 days but it was well worth it.

I am only adding this one because it makes me laugh. Someday she will be mortified that she flashed everyone at Disney when I told her to pose for a picture!

The kids had a blast, the adults felt like kids, we realized our 4 year still gets scared even though he acts so much older, one 6 year old has no fear, the other 6 year old is happy to watch from the side, a table for 5 is much easier to get than a table for 9, it is amazing how fast you can move around at the park when one does not have a stroller and Disney is made for families of 4 or at least for a family that does not have very many kids under the age of 7 when riding the bigger rides. I have no idea what we are going to do next year when we bring the quads due to the age restriction for kids riding alone. They must be 7 to ride alone which made it difficult when you have 3 kids under the age of 7 but only 2 adults. Next year we will have two 7 year olds who can ride together but can't ride with anyone under the age of 7 which will leave us with 5 kids who need adult supervision on rides but only 2 adults. Did I lose you? If so let's just say Paul and I are majorly outnumbered and will need to find some more adults to come with us.

All of my kids love to be tickled except for Natalie who is just like me and it is pure torture to us.

It is awesome when your kids get to the age that they can use the camera because we occasionally get a picture of just mom and dad.
We loved our time as a family of 5 but by the last day I was missing my babies. I would catch myself thinking how incomplete I felt. I wonder if this is how I will feel years form now when we get together to celebrate the holidays. Will I feel incomplete when some of my kids can't make it? Thankfully for now 363 days out of the year our family is together and those short times when I am away and miss my kids are good for us; it makes us realize this little family we have going on is where I am meant to be.

We ended up seeing the very last regular parade on our first night at the park and then the next day it was magically Christmas. The kids loved seeing the snow fall and even though I know it is all pretend I love it and it is something that is so worth experiencing. 
And these are the kinds of pictures you get when a 4 year old gets handed the camera.

Aubrey wanted to ride Screamin' all day and she knew she was tall enough. Finally it was time and I told her ahead of time that it went really fast and was going to be scary but that didn't turn her away. After we were done I looked at her and asked her if she wanted to cry and she said 'yes'. I don't think the poor girl has ever been so scared but the amazing thing is she is already talking about riding it the next time we are there.
No trip is complete without ice cream but there was no way we were going to spend $50 in the park for ice cream so we found an amazing ice cream place that will now be part of our Disney tradition. Til next time Mickey...

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