Friday, April 30, 2010

Snowy April 29

Every year when it's April or May and we have a big snowstorm AFTER we've put all the boots away for the second time knowing that NOW it's too late to need them and AFTER I've got all my plants for my outdoor container pots, I remember that Michelle told me that every year it always snowed in Utah near her birthday -- May 18. The average last day for frost in Utah is May 18. I checked two days ago when I didn't REALLY believe that it could snow this much and stick so late into April.

We're keeping Christopher's sunflower sprout warm and dry inside. These sprouts are the seed babies of his sunflower plant from last year!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Not Quite Done With Courtney

My mind is still on my beautiful, kind, talented daughter who turned 15 this week!
We had a joint birthday celebration with Grandpa on Sunday. Courtney's birthday is April 26 and my Dad was 68 on April 27th. Mine and Dan's anniversary is April 24th (just celebrated 18 years). Lots of great celebrations this week!

I snuck up on Courtney while she was practicing the piano yesterday and took video of her because I LOVE all the songs she plays and want to capture them forever!

When I was in 8th grade I was so bored with classical music and with practicing that I was thrilled when I could finally QUIT piano! Only a few months later I regretted it but it was hard to go back. I still found some songs I liked and tried to learn them but felt if I'd kept taking lessons for a couple more years, I would have crossed over into a place where I could actually sight read well and play anything. Yeah, I regretted quitting, just like my mom and grandma said I would.

So we've told our kids they have to take lessons until they're 16. (Hopefully after they "crossover" therefore wanting to continue to play. Maybe they'll even ask to keep taking lessons!) But I also made a bargain with Courtney that she could play songs she likes. What's the point of playing if you don't like what you play, right? Jr. High kids don't like to sit around and listen to someone play classical music. They just don't. But it's awesome when your friends can play popular music! Everyone else wants to try and suddenly you're practicing because you WANT to learn this cool song, not because you HAVE to! Courtney's teacher has been great about our program: 1 "fun" song, 1 hymn or song for performing in church, and 1 classical. I've yet to hear Courtney practice her classical song lately, but her other songs sound AWESOME!

Viva la Vida -- Coldplay

I Heard Him Come

I LOVE when Courtney's friends all come over on Friday afternoon and each take turns playing songs on the piano. It fills our home with LIVE music and sets this great tone for a weekend!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Courtney's Birthday!

My first baby and oldest daughter is 15 today! She's actually my only daughter, but because I was raised in a family of 5 girls and just 1 boy, I figured I'd have lots of girls too. (And anyway, "the ring trick" confirmed it. Guess it wasn't as accurate as we were told by our high school friends.)

We waited to find out if she was a boy or a girl until she was born. I love surprises and was so glad I waited! Of course with my other 3 pregnancies, we found out when we had our untrasounds and loved planning and preparing for those little boys -- and sharing the preparation with our older children! I rarely dressed Courtney in pink except when she was given an outfit by someone else -- I didn't want her to be too prissy. But if I'd known then she was going to be my only girl I would have ONLY dressed her in pink!! I think I would have taken more time to get bows in her hair... But actually, I did try, she would just never keep them in!

She was such a good baby when out and about. We went to several fancy restaurants when living in Chicago and she just sat on our laps perfectly quiet and behaved. In church she was super easy too! Just quiet and content! But when we left her sight, she SCREAMED like crazy! We rarely left her with a babysitter because she cried the whole time. She cried non-stop whenever I tried to get her to bed too and I couldn't imagine putting someone else through that!

Great-Grandma Regan did fly out to Chicago and babysit Courtney when Dan's MBA orientation began and we had a week of dinners and socials getting to know other students. Each night we'd come home to Courtney wailing and Grandma Regan patiently rocking her and saying, "That's a sad story! Tell me all about it. Oh, what a sad story." Grandma Regan was the most loving, easy-going, patient grandma in the world!

Courtney was born in Dallas, Texas. Her due date was April 25th, and Courtney showed up right on time (very indicative of her personality). I woke up with contractions (as I did with every one of my babies) but was unsure that this was really IT. I had a regularly scheduled midwife appointment that morning and they confirmed I was in labor.

I had hours of labor ahead of me, so I went to work (Temerlin McClain, in Dallas, Texas). By the afternoon I realized I wasn't really up for working, so with the best excuse in the world (guess I'll head out early -- I'm having a baby today) I went home. But first I stopped at the grocery store. I remember the checkout lady telling me the tomatoes were two-for-one and did I want to run back and get another one? Well, no I didn't. I was in labor and wanted to get myself home as fast as possible so I didn't have to stand around talking about the price of tomatoes! Get me out of here!! Yea, I was realizing I wasn't in the mood to chat with people.

Once I got home I felt better but called Dan and told him he better come home early. I called my mom because I didn't know what to do. The hospital was 45 minutes away. What if we get there and it's too soon and they send us away? How long do I wait at home? She said go to the hospital when you feel ready and if it's too soon go to a movie nearby. Love that solution Mom! But we weren't ready to go yet. When Dan got home we took a walk around the neighborhood trying to kill time.

I called my midwife to let her know I was in labor but I wasn't going to come yet, and didn't want to bother her, but did want to give her a heads up. She said, do you want to get in the shower--sometimes that helps soothe contractions? No I didn't. The thought of getting undressed and dressed again sounded like a nightmare. She said she'd call me back to see how I was feeling later. A short bit later she called back and I was having a hard time concentrating on what she was saying...oh, the telltale signs...she said I should come on in.

So we putzed around, took some video, Dan gave me a blessing and we headed to the hospital, timing contractions using the CD track times. I wasn't feeling so great. We got to the hospital at 8:00 p.m. After getting checked in and changed into a hospital gown, we decided to take a walk down the hall. After walking a bit, I realized I didn't want to be far from that hospital bed. Unfortunately I still had to walk back the other way. Oh the torture! Not to mention even though my water had broken when she checked me when we first arrived, I still was enduring leakage and the indignity that brings. (Even though there wasn't a soul around except Dan.)

When we got back to the room I plopped myself on the bed and didn't want to move. My midwife was with me the entire time and was so reassuring. Dan was quiet as a mouse, just as I asked him to be. He kept his hand on my forehead which was perfect to feel his touch.

This picture is of Courtney in my high school glasses and favorite sweatshirt and shorts from college with tights underneath just like we used to wear in 1990. She's trying to strike a pose just like I used to do. You're hilarious, Courtney!

Just as I felt I couldn't endure any more contractions, my midwife said it was time to push. About 45 minutes later at 1:01 a.m., Courtney was born. When Dan saw her head his first question was, "Is she supposed to be that purple?" She was purple all right, but my midwives were so calm I didn't worry a bit. After she was born I held her and was in awe that I had given birth to her. What a miracle! Dan cut the cord and they did a good suction job on her. There was that cry! Such strong lungs -- served her well in the future at bedtime and when we went out!

They gave her back to me to hold and love and she instantly fell asleep.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Pain in the Neck

I've had my first visit with a Chiropractor this week -- aside for the 2 weeks that I telemarketed for one while at BYU. It was also the job Dan picked me up from for our first date...  Which reminds me that our anniversary is this Saturday -- 18 years!  But I don't want any confusion in thinking Dan is the pain in the neck -- because he's not -- so back to the Chiropractor story.

Courtney was slide-tackled in soccer the day after we left on our trip.  She's been in a lot of pain.  She's also got a very high pain tolerance, so when a week later she's calling me from school asking if I can bring an ice pack to ease the pain, I know we've got to get her in for some help a.s.a.p.

As usual the orthopedic didn't have appointment availability until May and the place they referred me to didn't see children.  I thought this was the perfect opportunity to try the chiropractor.  They got us in the same day.  He worked on Courtney and I was impressed with his diagnosis methods and information.  It was a little freaky when they adjusted her neck -- kind of looked like a murder movie.  Not a comforting visual for a mom.  He said she'd probably be more sore the next day but hopefully feel better by the next visit.

The next morning I woke up feeling fine until I sat up in bed.  Couldn't even move my head.  My neck felt like it was locked in place and it even hurt my neck to breathe.  I was a little freaked out.  Fortuately, I knew the name of a chiropractor.  They got me in that same afternoon and after 30 minutes on the table I regained 50% mobility.

Courtney and I went back together for our follow-ups yesterday and now her back is feeling better too.  I'm a believer.  Courtney is hoping she'll be able to play in her game in a week.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Smell of Lemons

For Spring Break we took a road trip to Phoenix.  We arrived late Tuesday night and stepped out of the car into a bit of heaven!  The air was warm and filled with the scent of fresh lemons.  Aaaahhh!  I couldn't get enough of it! 

We stayed with Matt, Bekah & Jax our first few nights and went to two Spring Training games -- Dodgers vs. Giants and Cubs vs. Rockies.  We sat on the grass at Camelback Ranch, ate a picnic, watched the game and the kids ran around on the grass.  

The weather was warm and the day perfect.  I'd spent about 3 hours researching how to get to the park and avoid traffic which we'd heard was horrific trying to get in and out after the game.  Didn't have any traffic at all -- it was the end of spring training so apparently the crowds had died down.

At Hohokam Park the weather was a bit more chilly.  Rain was expected but never came!  Christopher was able to get a couple of players autographs -- including Ted Lily, a left- handed pitcher.  (A lefty, just like Chris!)

That night we headed off to Shaeffer cousins where all the kids slept over for two nights.  Courtney had fun with her favorite cousin, Kay -- the only other Shaeffer girl among the cousins -- and fortunately just two years older.  Kay can drive and they had a blast going wherever they wanted in a car, unaccompanied.  Got Courtney REALLY excited for her friends to get driver's licenses.

Friday Dan and Marty joined Dan's older brothers (Marty and Duncan) and the other teenage Shaeffer boys (living at home) and spent the day 4-wheeling and shooting guns in the desert.  

I visited my high school friend, Camille, held her new baby, met her boys, went to lunch and literally had to pull myself away so she could get back to her real life...but I didn't want to!  I could have kept talking with her for hours!
That evening we all went to the Mesa Temple Pageant and had a wonderful picnic while we waited for it to begin.

Saturday we went on a family hike in the desert and then to Marty's for a BBQ and swim.  

That night after Priesthood Mtg, we had an outdoor Easter Feast at Dunc and Kristin's.  Dan and his brother Marty ditched us for a hockey game (and loved it), Dunc cut out early to work and the kids of course were playing and having a great time which left the three Shaeffer Sister-in-laws to ourselves to get to talk and catch-up and laugh and share.  Another wonderful evening...

Sunday we had our first outdoor Easter egg hunt.  Most often we're in a condo in St. George over Easter so the Easter bunny hides eggs inside.  Matt and Bekah's Easter Bunny is AWESOME and I think it was our best hunt ever.  It was all boys because Courtney was inside barfing her guts out.  We hoped she felt better soon because in a few short hours we were heading out for our drive home!

Dunc and Kristin and their kids joined us at Bekah's for Conference and then Marty and Erin and Jacob came after to join us for our family's traditional Conference Soup.  It was delish and then too soon it was time to go.  This was an amazing vacation for all of us mostly because of the time we got to spend with our wonderful Arizona family.  We love you guys!

That afternoon we drove to the Grand Canyon where I was petrified beyond belief.  I kept my panic under wraps so we could enjoy this natural wonder, but all kids were under strict orders to hold our hands and walk right beside -- not faster, not slower, no running.  After we got our picture taken Marty did a quick bounce, pretending to fall and I almost lost it.  I seriously almost started to cry which I'm sure would have been punishment enough for him to have his mom bawling at the Grand Canyon.  We jumped back into the car and at another viewpoint Dan asked if we wanted to get out and I said "no, we'd had enough excitement for the day. (i.e. GET US OUT OF HERE!)"

So we've done it never have to go back until my kids take their kids back, which I'm sure I will also dread.  I hate heights.

We slept at Cameron Trading Post Lodge which was quite awesome and then arrived home to snow.