Friday, February 22, 2013

family vacation

We live about 1700 miles from our family in Idaho.  According to MapQuest it would take us about 26 hours to  drive that distance.  This is with ideal weather, no gas stops, and and an in-van potty.  If we were semi-realistic about it, we could possibly do it in two days.  Then possibly two days back.  Chad can only take a week of vacation at a time.  That would only leave us with three days to pretend to be rested so we could enjoy both families.  Oh, and we can't afford to fly.

Luckily, we have Steve and Em just 550 miles away!

It should have only taken us 9 hours to drive there.  Sadly, we had less than perfect weather.  There was a severe weather alert issued for the state of Kentucky, and it was in that state that after seeing many accidents, that we had a small one of our own.  In Tennessee we "handled" the problem.  At any rate, we made it safely to Oxford, Alabama, their home sweet home.

We had a wonderful time!  They had a list of things we could go see and do, but to be honest, we just wanted to spend time with them, and be a part of their lives.  It is what we miss most.  We went to a junior basketball league game, we made meals together, we had family scriptures and family home evening.  We went on walks, Zumba class (just Emily and me) and church together.  It was awesome!

One of the highlight activities was the cutting down of a tree in the back yard.  Chad had boasted to Steve that the tree he recently cut in our back yard "fell within 6 inches of where I wanted it."  After several hours of work, the tree they felled fell about 180 degrees in the wrong direction!  We agreed there was divine intervention since it did not fall through the roof of the house and into their dinning room.  It turned out that the Lord's landing place was a much better spot than the one they picked. 

(Please note that it was tough to keep the kids in the house during the felling project since Steve and Em have a yard that is every kids dream.  It also has a trampoline they were crazy about!)

Out of the remains of the tree, Steve and Chad created benches  that they arranged around what will soon be a fire pit!  As if the back yard could be any better!  Also note the compost bin to the left of Chad two pictures above.  They also spent an afternoon building that, and several hours "composting."  Chad loved every second of it!  Steve kept saying he was sorry he was working Chad so much on his vacation.  Chad's response, "This is better than going to a tropical beach!"  Since we came home, Chad has proved this statement is true buy scouring Craigslist and purchasing 4 saws for some projects of his own! We loved it!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

baby #4

Anyone who thinks we are nuts to have more kids must know Pratt.  Be that as it may, she is on the way, and we couldn't be happier!  I definitely didn't rush to the doctor (I know the drill at this point, and I am not especially worried about getting a pap smear).  However, I admit there is a lot of peace of mind hearing that little heart beat.  Then you know 100% that all of the feeling like crap was not in your head.  I have also kept the other kids a secret for a while.  This time I decided to just tell people so that I didn't have to pretend I felt okay, or make up excuses.  I thought I had made it public much earlier than it actually was.  I took a pregnancy test a full week earlier than I should have to get a positive result.  This made me wonder if the dates were a little off.  I had convinced myself that they were only a little off, and that confirming dates would just be a good idea. 

It was one of the best surprises of my life to find out that I was a full month earlier than I had thought!  I took Aimee with me to the ultra-sound because I thought she would get a kick out of seeing the baby on the screen.  As it turned out she mostly just entertained the staff.  And since I was actually 15 weeks at the ultra-sound they asked if I would like to know the gender if they could get a view.  I knew Chad would be sad to miss this, but I am not good at waiting for surprises.  The tech was very careful to not make any announcements to little ears until I gave her the green light.  Aimee had made it very clear to everyone in ear shot that we wanted "a girl baby."  Once we had studied the images and the tech said she was 90% certain, due to the modesty of the baby she added the "It's a girl" photo to the print list! 
 While my Williams family is in denial, and refuses to believe it could be true until my 20 week ultrasound confirms thing, I must say that I had my own suspicions.  For anyone who may not know, Chad and I are the first Williams' in two generations to have more than one girl.  One girl and all the rest boys is what I affectionately call:  The Williams Way.  Some of my sister-in-laws call it: The Williams Curse.  This possibility of a girl I suspected was not because I had 'motherly intuition' or adhere to any old wives tales about figuring out gender.  My Aimee pregnancy I was sick only for the first trimester.  The boys I was sooo miserable the entire time!  I had quit being sick on a daily basis. 

In order to still try to make the news special to Chad, Aimee and I went to the grocery store and rounded up enough pink treats to get the point across.  Chad and Aimee were both rooting for a girl.  Porter wanted a boy.  Pratt and I didn't have a preference.  We had to ban praying for a gender only a few days after sharing the news with the kiddos.  It quickly became a topic of contention (and competition) for Aimee and Porter.  Much to my relief, Porter took the news much better than Aimee did when she found out Pratt was a boy! 
While rather disproportionate, I bet you can figure out who the characters in Aimee's drawing are!


I wish I had thought to get the camera gong sooner!   As it was, I was only able to capture a couple of peices of evidence.  As Chad has spent time in the O.R. watching and assisting surgeries, he decided that his knot tying skills needed work.  As an intern, he expects himself to be as good at this, as the seasoned docs.  He started bringing home surgical thread and tying it to just about everything to practice on.
 I love this one on the toilet paper roll!
He has also been caught tying on the backs of the kitchen chairs, and on the zipper of his pants (my other favorite).  While I am kind of making fun of him by posting this, be assured that I am also super proud, that Chad takes so much pride in his work, and cares about doing a good job.  I love that boy!

christmas morning

This is in fact the only still photo we got of the big morning.  I am not going to call this a parenting fail because everything else is on video, and it is really cute.  Sadly, I can not get any of them to upload.  That may or may not be a parenting fail.  I suppose I should be more savvy and be able to figure it out.  oh well.  So here is the skinny, minus the footage. 

Chad told the kids on Christmas Eve that if they came downstairs and tried to see if Santa had come that all of their presents would disappear.  It worked like a charm.  Aimee was so worried about it that I am not sure how long she was awake in her room waiting!  Porter and Pratt were trapped so I wasn't worried about them.  Plus, Chad rigged a booby trap at the top of the stairs.  He closed the baby gate and put bells on it to alert us to a potential peeker!

I finally had been laying awake in bed for a while before I told Chad that we were going to get the kiddos now.  Since we had done a good job preparing, set-up had been a snap, and we got to bed at a decent time, so there was no complaints.

We woke up the boys and told them that we had seen that Santa had come.  Then like the mean parents we made them wait to go see until we were ready to film.  Once the kids were down the stairs Pratt immediately jumped onto the rocking horse Aimee had ordered from Santa for him.  We had a bit of a time getting him off to open other things.  Porter found the train set and table that the Grandpa's and Grandma's had "sent" for him and Pratt, and Aimee was overjoyed to see that she did in fact get a dress-up with sparkles (sequins) and jewels (one jewel) on it.  It wasn't rainbow colored, but I hear the elves don't make them that way.

We let the kids take turns opening gifts.  Mostly, they got things they needed, like underwear and pj's, but they were happy.  Chad and I really try to keep it simple, so we don't get too lost in the gifts.  Just before we turned on the computer to Skype the grandparents, Chad gathered the babies, and once again reminded them of why we celebrate.  He is so good to take those teaching moments! 

The Spirit was in our home that special morning.  I think that was the most significant thing.  Just not being so caught up in stuff that is was easy to recognize I think was a win!  We ate Eggs A La Golden Rod and talked to our families.  We played with new toys, watched new movies, and enjoyed having Chad home for the day (he was supposed to work, but when they found out he and one other guy had kids, they told them to stay home)!  It was a beautiful day to celebrate the birth of our Lord!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


Yes, I say the same cheesy lines that used to bother me as a kid, and the ones that every other parent use.  In my continually growing wisdom, I know why.  Because those cliche' one liners are oh, so true.  My baby girl turned 5 this year, and (here it goes) I hate seeing her grow up so fast!  She is the little person that put meaning to all of those lines.  Chad and I are both completely in love with her, and feel oh, so lucky to be her parents!  I often look at my life and wonder why my Father in Heaven has blessed me so much.  I have learned from Aimee, that one of His reasons is because I have so much to learn from all of these blessings.
My Aim had such a big year.  Since last year she has learned to read, write, and do simple math. I knew that she needed to learn these skills before getting to Kindergarten.  This is not because I am one of those my-kid-has-to-be-the-best types.  It is because I was afraid that because she is so social, she might be so distracted by being surrounded by so many other playmates, that she might not learn it otherwise. She is my creative, imaginative child.  Sometimes Chad and I comment to each other that we aren't sure if Aimee knows reality from fiction, because she floats from one to the other so easily.  She also is my big helper!  I used to think I wanted to have a boy first.  I thought that if I did ever have a girl I wanted her to have a big brother.  Well, Aimee has no problem sticking up for herself, and still I have that little sweetheart who, for the most part, is quick to help when asked, and when she isn't.  My favorite example:  Aimee makes her bed every morning without fail!  Even when she is sick in the night she has been know to make it before coming down stairs to ask for help.  She also, is quick to help her brothers make theirs, just because.  Porter especially loves this because, he rarely remembers, and loves having her get him off the hook!
On her big day this year we kept things simple.  We invited some friends to Chucky Cheese just to play (with tokens I got for free off our string cheese wrappers!) Chad got off early and played in the snow with her while I baked her cake.  This year Aimee asked for a pink Sleeping Beauty cake.  This was what I came up with.   

We also started a new birthday tradition.  When Chad was a kid, the thing he looked forward to the most was getting to go out to dinner with just his Mom and Dad.  We decided that some quality one on one was a great idea.  I wish I had pictures of dinner because she was a hoot.  She had everyone at Steak-and-Shake giving her birthday wishes, because she made sure everyone knew!  Afterward, our sweet neighbors that watched the boys while we went out came over and helped us eat some cake and ice cream.  It was a good day for a girl who deserved it to be!

december 2012

In an effort to recap an entire month, I give you...a super-post.  Lots of pictures, little description.  Since this is our "family journal" I hope our memories serve us well, since I won't be doing a very good job "capturing" them.

Family movie night!  We made popcorn and let the kids stay up past bedtime to watch the classic "Rudolf, the Red Nosed Reindeer."  The babies loved it, and spent the entire month taking about, dreaming about (mostly about Abominable) and asking questions about it!

I put my Gingerbread Specialist (a calling I had in our Council Bluffs ward) skills to good use.  I made two average size, and 4 miniature houses.  Some friends of ours came and we spend the night decorating.  The average houses were made to give away the first night of our families' newest tradition.  We did the 12 days of Christmas for a "special family" (we had to call them this so the kiddos wouldn't give us away).  It was a great memory, and was a wonderful way to start teaching our babies about the true gifts of Christmas and service.

Aimee piled as much candy on her house as was humanly possible.  I ate most of it off for her.
 Porter likes to direct and watch most of the time, but did like sticking the candy on, if I would put the frosting on for him.
 Chad's hospital puts on a family Christmas party each year for the residents with kids.  We had a very kid friendly dinner, followed by meeting Santa.
 Santa had a gift for each child.  To our dismay, our kids were stinkers and immediately complained that the gift was not what they had asked for for Christmas.  After we explained that would come on Christmas all was well.  Next year, we will have that talk first, or they will not get to keep a present they complain about!
 We waited all month for snow.  Mid-December we got a skiff.  Aimee and Porter had to try to play in it.  It did not last long.
 One night we took our "Special Family" cookies that the kids made.  They loved preparing for the drop off nights!
When the real snow finally came (the day after Christmas), they couldn't wait to get out in it.  That lasted for about 20 minutes or less.  To my surprise, Pratt was the first one to beg to go in, not Porter!  After trying to get the boys in, and me still play outside with Aimee, I finally had to call her in and give up.
Once I got all of the boy jammie pants made I started on the night gowns for the girls.  However, I actually used a pattern.  Sadly, it was in Aimee's size.  I had Chad re size the pattern for me.  He did a great job!

On Aimee's birthday, Chad had most of the day off, and spent it outside helping Aimee, and even Porter enjoy it.  He was much more fun out in the snow than I was.