Saturday, December 30, 2017


I was thinking tonight about what my "one little word" for 2018 will be.

2018. Whoa. It'll take me a few months to get used to that.

Thinking back to the end of 2016- I was so pumped. I set some pretty exciting and lofty goals and was very motivated. The week between Christmas and New Years is one of my favorites. There are no rules, no expectations, the big stuff is over & now it's just whatever you decide to do. I always set a few hours during this week to think about the previous year and what I want for the the next year.

I set goals in several different areas and chose the word FOCUS.

Looking back at 2017, the year felt anything but focussed.

We were faced with several challenges that were thrust our way and spent many nights feeling dazed, frustrated, doubtful, and sad. For as open as our family usually is on social media, this is one area of our lives that we have and will remain silent to protect all those that were involved.

All of this to say that I feel like I failed in my choice for my 2017 "word."

But maybe "focus" can mean more than simply having a clear vision- cuz I know I didn't accomplish that.

What about its other meaning?-To pay close attention to something.

I feel like this whole year I have paid the closest attention to my family, to what I thought would benefit us all the most, and to what I know will. We spent lots of time together, which meant we said no to a lot too to make space for each other. In that sense, when our world was spinning, we simply dropped everything and focussed on each other.

So I guess I did learn and improve on "focussing." Just not in the ways I originally planned.

Now... back to figuring out the word for 2018....

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Dec 2015

It's so funny. As I sit down to write a "month in review" post, I can't help but laugh. I never wanted to do these big monthly review posts, but I guess that's where I am now. Between 3 kids, homeschooling, running a house, church responsibilities, and being a wife-not to mention my own goals or other things I like to do, the every day/week post is just not happening. Alas, my older sister had it right all along. I guess I'm just gonna have to keep learning that over and over.

Our December was eventful and... not. It was basically the perfect mix of going out and doing fun things, but a good amount of just staying home and being together. It really was magical. I really just want to post all the pictures and do some captions.

PK played Joseph in the ward play that I helped direct.  

Homeschooling: When learning happens anywhere but in a desk. 

Decorating the Christmas tree. We decided to do it over a several day period and it was WAY more enjoyable. 

Trip to the Indianapolis temple. BEST thing to do in the busyness of December. 

Jed and I watched the First Presidency Christmas devotional with just baby #3- it was SO beautiful. I love the extra focus on the Savior during December. He really is magical! 

PK started making the "heart" sign this month. We both love T. Swift! haha. 

My friend organized a caroling activity at the senior home next to our complex. It was amazing. I really felt the spirit of Christmas and I think the boys did too. 

Our special friend who is 101 years old! 

Now that it's winter- we are playing the Wii! Of course, the boys are loving it! Pro-tip: When we were given the Wii, I made a point of saying that we are "borrowing" it & that we'd wait until it was cold to "borrow" it. And now, we only "borrow" it when mom & dad want to. It's perfect. 

Took Jed to the ER for a wicked bloody nose. Thankfully it wasn't serious, we were just exhausted from being out late.  

PK climbed the rock wall at the Y! He didn't love it, but he did make it 1/2 way! 

Just the almost 6 month old walking around with the diaper box. 

We were the grateful recipients of The 12 Days of Christmas this year. Each night we received some small gift/activity to help celebrate Christmas. It really was the extra something to make this Christmas feel super special. I will never forget it! And we are already looking forward to paying it forward in the years to come. 

Making the kids' friends gifts- white chocolate & sprinkled covered mini-oreos. 
Easy, tasty, and fun. 

Our big boy lost his first tooth. And then... lost it. In the baby's room. WHO. KNOWS. WHERE. 

Oh, nothing to see here. Just- Jed's pen leaked- ALL the way through. 
He was not happy. I was laughing hysterically. 
I guess it's time for some pocket protectors. 

Helping Mom bake. PK helped read the recipe out loud and they both took turns measuring, stirring etc. I'm not a huge fan of baking, but I am a huge fan of MEN baking, so I will be teaching my boys how to bake/cook/clean etc. Because, as much as I don't want to think about it, they will have their own homes one day. Crazy. 

I got to spend the night with my two bestsies. It was MAGICAL. We ate LOTS (okay, I did), chatted for hours, and mall walked. It was heavenly & just the best way to start Christmas week. 

A few handmade gifts I did this year (wood burned spoons and decorated apron). These were for my brother, Aaron, who my family was assigned for secret santa. It was a "Survivor" theme, so we did 
"How to Survive a Cold Winter Night" with a baking focus. 

They saw Santa at story time. Pk was happy to sit on his lap, but 
Mason only wanted the candy cane :) 

Singing Christmas carols by the Christmas tree lights is one of my favorite Christmas traditions. I'm finding that the magic and excitement from Christmas can come from small and simple traditions- that don't require much preparation or money. 

We hosted a last minute Christmas Eve dinner with appetizers & desserts. We invited a few friends and luckily they were all able to come! We also invited the missionaries from our church, in keeping with my Grandmother's tradition. We ate, chatted, played a few games, and same some Christmas carols. It was wonderful.  

I had to give a few people a ride after our Christmas Eve dinner, so Jed stayed and kept the boys up so we could do our traditional Christmas Eve jammies. It was fun to get all dressed in our festive jammies and then read the Christmas story all together as a family. We really focused on talking about each of the parts of the Christmas story this year (thanks to the December Friend)! Throughout the month, I could hear the boys' prayers change and include other aspects of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It was beautiful, wonderful, and totally magical. We've chosen not to include Santa in our Christmas celebrations. Not because he's a bad character/idea, but because it's hard to teach the boys about him and about Christ, without loosing our real focus. I've worried about loosing the "magic" of Christmas by doing it this way, and boy, was I wrong! There is SOO much magic in the true story of Christmas, that Santa wasn't even missed. 

Then we got the boys in bed, and Jed and I brought the air mattress out and slept underneath the Christmas tree. This has been our own tradition since our first married Christmas, and something that I look forward to each year! I don't have any pictures of that because we had to hurry and get it out away so we could have room to open presents in the morning. (And because Jed doesn't like to be photographed in his "jammies.") 

Our Christmas Day was a busy one. We opened presents in the morning, had an extra fun and yummy Christmas brunch with our neighbors and good friends in the late morning, we Skyped with my siblings for our gift exchange opening, and then we drove the 3 hours to my moms house in order to spend a few days with the family up there (including my sister-in-law and 4 nieces who were visiting!) It was an awesome trip- minus me getting sick the last few days. I could do a whole other post just on the illness from this winter, but I'll spare you the gross, horrifying details. 

(Pk, Oma, Morgan, and Gabrielle (and little D) playing Spot It. 

For New Years Eve, we had a small party at home. We used our large roll of paper, traced each other, and wrote things that we love about each member of our family. This was a fun and meaningful tradition that I hope to repeat next year. The idea is that we'll compare the traced bodies to see just how much they've grown! 

M and PK had spent one afternoon playing (I think this was just after the new year) and M wanted to keep playing! But he was so cold! So he came in to grab a blanket, and went and sat outside with the blanket. Man, he is one good problem solver! 

Christmas 2015 was simple, pure, and amazing. I had a tender moment on Christmas Eve that I wish I could properly share. I had made several dishes that to me- represented the people that I loved and wished I could be with. Each dish and part of the meal made me remember so many different Christmas memories- its amazing how food and Christmas really can transport us in time. The holidays always make me reflect just how blessed I am and how many wonderful people we have been blessed to know and love. This was a Christmas I hope to always remember! 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Dieter's birth story

Dieter Allen Alvey was born on June 17th at 6:17pm. He was caught by a student midwife & was surrounded by people who were so happy to see him- most especially Jed and I. Here is the story of his arrival:

His due date came and went, as they do, and I was still in pretty good spirits. It wasn't until 41 weeks that I really started to question how much longer my body would manage. Just about everywhere was achy; at least going to the chiropractor was still helping.

Being overdue, I had begun the non-stress tests and ultrasounds to check baby. Thankfully, with each of those tests, everything looked fine. (Not that I honestly believed them anyway.) At my last prenatal appt- 41 wks, 5 days, I thought for sure the midwives would schedule an induction for 42 weeks. Actually, because baby and I were doing fine, they decided there wasn't a medical reason to be induced (That's midwives for ya {at least the good ones!} Just trying to base practice on actual evidence, not just generally understood norms.)

ANYWAYS, I chose to have my water broken on Wednesday (exactly 42 weeks). I knew (physically and emotionally) I couldn't handle being pregnant for much longer, and I really had tried just about everything in order to start labor naturally. So, the morning of our induction, I hobbled in to the chiropractor and came out WAY more comfortable and ready to bring our baby in to the world. Then we headed to the hospital.

At 10:30am, I started with a round of penicillin after testing positive for Group B strep, and just hung out with Jed, our doula, Jill, and the nurse, while it was administered. I sat in the chair next to the bed and was feeling pretty good.

At 12:00, Ellen (my favorite midwife!) and her student, Annalise came in, and Annalise broke my water. I thought it would be painful, but it just felt... wet. The fluid was clear (yay!) and we were left to hang out. (Jill needed to leave for awhile, but she came back around 2pm). I had decided that I wanted to be an "active" laborer, to keep contractions coming so I could avoid any other medical interference. I paced the room, I did some squats, I think I skipped at one point (haha), just anything to keep my body moving. When Jill got back, she kept encouraging me to walk, I used the birthing ball to sit/lean over Jed, and did some more squats. At this point, the contractions were regular, but not painful. I did my Hypnobirthing breathing, and would close my eyes, focus on my breath and my baby, and then the contraction would pass. They felt like they were pretty quick, about a minute each. Jill also offered lower back counter pressure which felt GREAT! and really helped because my back was already so sore.

At about 4:00, I decided to get in the water. My goal was to stay out of the water as long as possible because it seems to slow my labors down, but at this point I was ready for some warm water. The jacuzzi tub on the floor was occupied, so I had to use the small tub (smaller/more awkwardly shaped than a normal tub) that was in our room. I tried showering which wasn't helping me to manage the contractions (the water pressure was SUPER hard) and I was ready to lay down. I laid in the tub and Jed poured warm water over me. Jill left us alone and would check on us periodically and always reminded me to drink water (thank Heavens- I was so thirsty!) I completely lost track of time and was totally in the ZONE. Things were definitely getting more intense, and I was anxious to know if I was dilating.

At about 5:30, I was definitely starting to feel lots more pressure. Up until the point I had remained pretty quiet and focussed during each contraction, and though I was still able to focus, I started to make noise with each one. (That's my style!) Jill came in, and knowing that we were getting pretty close, suggested we get to the bed. Once she left, I whispered to Jed that if we got in bed, and I was only barely dilated, I wanted an epidural. I was getting near my limit, and I was just so darn exhausted.

At about 5:45pm, the nurse came in, watched (and listened!) through one contraction, and realized we were getting pretty close to the end. The bed was in an slightly less-than-upright position, and I was kneeling over a peanut ball (same material as an exercise ball, just shaped like a peanut). I was basically rolling the peanut ball up and down the slanted part of the bed, doing a semi-squat and a kneeling position. I had planned on doing a hands and knees birth, and this really was the most comfortable position at the time.

At 5:50, Ellen and Annalise came in and started preparing for the birth (I wasn't aware of this, as I was on my hands and knees, facing the wall.) I REALLY wanted to get checked, even though Ellen said that I didn't need to. I told Jed that I didn't want everybody just waiting around if it wasn't really time, and he said, "Stop being so considerate!" haha.

I knew that I needed to know how far along I was, so I turned around on to my back, and (being surprised by all the STUFF) said, "Oh! This is the real deal!" Annalise was in her gown, there were carts with instruments on them, several more nurses etc. Annalise checked me, and I was 8cm, she stretched me to a 9, and Ellen suggested I do a few contractions on my side. (I HATE these! I needed to do these "stretching" type contractions with Mason because there was a lip that wasn't dilating, and I knew these would be the worst). I didn't yank on the bed rails quite as badly this time, but I was definitely making lots of noise and visibly uncomfortable.

At 6:00pm, I was back up to my hands and knees and starting to loose it. During one contraction, Jill said that I nearly tried climbing off the back of the bed (like that was going to really let me escape!) and she had Jed get in my face and talk to me. She told me to do "horsey lips" and blow wildly in between the contractions and to look Jed in the eyes. It really helped! I came back down to earth, and was refocused to the task at hand. I knew we were getting close and I was getting pretty anxious for our baby to be here. I screamed through the next contraction or two (once again, that's my style!) and his head was born. (I asked Jed if his head was born- I was pretty sure that it was, but I needed to KNOW. He said, "Yes, it is! It is! He's almost here! You're doing great!")

Then everybody started telling me to push, and I looked up at Jed and said, "But I don't feel a contraction," and he either said something or just looked me in the eye and I KNEW that I needed to push right then. So, I screamed and pushed harder than I ever had before, and at 6:17pm, Dieter was born. (Sure enough, Annalise was struggling to get him past my pubic bone, and the cord was wrapped around his head. His body was completely purple. Thankfully, he pinked up right away and was just fine.)

As soon as he was born, they passed him up to me, I turned around to lay down, and got to hold my precious heaven sent angel for the first time. He was here!!!!

 I could just feel the excitement in the room & was so proud of him (and myself!) for getting him here safely. Those first few moments of life, Heaven is so, so near, and are moments I will never forget. I honestly think the room was filled with angels- helping me and helping him, whispering words of encouragement to us both.

Unfortunately, with as perfect and wonderful as the delivery was, I ended up loosing a bit too much blood afterwards, and spent the next few days feeling very out of sorts. There were times that I felt just fine- better than fine even- and then times that I felt very, very ill. Thankfully, we were surrounded by people that helped us through it all.

My mom was in town and coordinated with our friend to stay with the older two boys so she could come. I wasn't feeling up to much company, but she came and held Dieter while Jed helped me. Having her there was really comforting. I guess no matter what, Moms will still be Moms, and will always be needed.

The next morning, Parker and Mason got to meet their new brother, and our family was together again. This was the first pregnancy that Parker really was apart of (Mason was too) and it was fun to see what the excitement after the 9 (basically 10!) months of waiting was for. We love you, baby Dieter. Always and forever.

(Notes: I later learned that this was Annalise's first hands and knees delivery. I bet with all the screaming and craziness I totally freaked her out, but she was very confident and caring in all she did. Ellen will forever be my favorite midwife- but honestly, the team of Carle midwives are some of the finest medical professionals I have ever worked with. They genuinely love what they do and it clearly shows it their work. I'm not sure I have the words to express just how much Jill did for me. She gave me the confidence to choose the type of birth that I wanted. She gave me options, educated me, and lovingly supported me through everything. She listened to my concerns and made sure my wishes were known and understood. She empowered Jed to be the real doula, and made him feel 100% comfortable and confident in what was happening. I really can not say enough good things about Jill or doulas in general. I was a bit skeptical at first, but several close friends were willing to open up about their experiences and I am just so grateful that I met Jill, became friends with her, and became comfortable enough to share this most special experience together. She will forever hold a special place in our family. For more info on Jill, visit her page.)