Thursday, December 30, 2010

Winding Down

Time for another pregnancy update!
It is amazing how fast this tiny little person inside of me is growing! This morning I lay in bed thinking about what a miracle it truly is to carry a child and watch them grow. What was once the size of a sesame seed, is now the size of a pumpkin!
And can I just say that this is one squirmy little pumpkin?! My other two were quite mellow in the womb compared to this kid. I am preparing myself for a very busy child!
The first picture shown below is of me at 25 weeks........

5 weeks later............................
And this is how I look!
I think my legs decided to balloon up alongside my belly....and the best part is - I DON'T CARE!
This may be our last baby, so I am trying to enjoy every part of this pregnancy. I quit working out at 23 weeks because my contractions were becoming stronger and more consistent, so I figured a 20+ week vacation wouldn't hurt. Plus, I have the rest of my life to work out, right?

Last Thursday, we were able to do a 3d ultrasound. Can you say AMAZING?! I feel blessed to be having babies when we have such advanced technology to see incredible things like this!
This little person spent most of its time sucking on its pinkie finger. We got this picture just in time before it stuck that little finger back in his/her mouth.

We also discovered during the ultrasound that our child is measuring at 32+ weeks. They told me this when I was not even 30 weeks! Lovely.
One of my concerns with this is the fact that I cannot be induced with this child because my last one was delivered by C-section. Because we would like to have a VBAC delivery this time, my doctor says I have to just let this baby come when it is ready - no Pitocin for me!
So we're praying this baby chooses to come a couple weeks early. :)

My original due date: March 4th
New due date: February 17th <--------------we want that one!

Here is one last picture to leave you with. I am already in love with this little face and so very grateful for the opportunity to mother another little one. Life certainly is a miracle and a blessing!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Home For Christmas

I'm just going to be honest when I say that I have become quite discouraged with blogging. Most of my disappointment with it is self-induced, but for the last year I have had little desire to be a dilligent blogger.
Why such little motivation?
There's lots of reasons. Namely, Facebook, life never slowing down, the pregnancy, and just lack of interest have all contributed to such little blogging effort, BUT I want to make changes. I want to make sure the important things and sometimes the not-so-important things are being jotted down because they are afterall what make up my life. As I look back and read previous posts, I realize I would have never remembered some of these things if I hadn't taken the time to blog about them.
SO, here's to a more dilligent blogger!
Now, onto the good stuff.
Most of you know that I am very passionate about Christmas. I absolutely love this time of year! The commercial part of it really bothers me, but when it comes to being snug in my tree-lit home listening to Christmas classics, I'm all for it!
Here is a glimpse of the Epps Family home in 2010.

Above: Our dining room table arrangement. {Frosted berries make everything better}.
Our little tree that I sit and stare at every night before bedtime.

The mantle in all its Christmas glory!

Homemade noel blocks - I was in charge of a project for Super Saturday and came up with this little display. All it took was some 2x4's, a little paint, stain, festive paper, and VOILA!

Our homemade stocking made with TLC by my wonderful mother.
I love her and I love these.

The Christmas cabinet. (I painted it red a couple of weeks before just to make it feel a little more like Christmas in my livingroom). Pathetic, I know. Jim calls it obsessive.

The candy canes that hang on my mantle just make life sweeter.
So there you have it. This is what Christmas looks like in our neck of the woods!
We hope you're enjoying this wonderful time of the year as much as we are!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Dear Santa,

I have been lusting after Petunia Pickle's Chocolate Decadence Diaper Bag for quite some time. .........

I know it's $350.00, but you're Santa, so maybe we can make this work for me somehow.
Ahhh, if only.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Thanksgiving in the Desert

This past Thanksgiving, our family had the privilege of going to our homeland - Arizona. I must say that the weeks before this trip, I was not as excited as I should have been. There was lots of things going on that made me think our family should reconsider and just stay in Utah for the holiday. However, we ended up going anyway and I can now say that I am SO HAPPY we did.

After 10 hours of ongoing driving, we entered the beautiful Phoenix valley and a flood of emotions instantly came over me. In the last 5 years that we have been away from Arizona, I can honestly say that I have never felt so sick for "home" as I did this last time we visited. It was an absolute joy to be with family and friends that we rarely get to see!

Our 11 hr drive there went perfect! My kids were little angels and seemed rather excited to get to be with their Grandma and Grandpa Epps.

Emma spent most of the drive doing this. Sometimes thumb-sucking is a plus!

We spent much of our time at Jim's grandparents, who by the way, took such great care of us! Luckily, the weather was beautiful while we were there ( 70's & sunny), so we took lots of walks around the neighborhood and played out in the backyard. Emma could not believe her eyes when she saw that there were palm trees in Arizona. She thought those were only on "The Jungle Book".

One of our nights there, we were able to go out to dinner with some close friends, the cute Hill family and Tyler with his adorable kids ( I am so mad I did not take more pictures of this!)
I did however manage to get a prego picture of Cara & I.
Look what a cute pregnant lady she makes! She is 4 weeks ahead of me and is as tiny as ever - definitely all baby!

One of the reasons we ventured to Arizona was so that Jim could help his dad remodel their home that they purchased in Queen Creek. My little ones LOVED going with dad to "help" because it meant they got to play outside on the farm.

They spent most of their time running around in the chicken coop. It amazes me that simple things like this can keep kids entertained for such long periods of time.
Also, I must make note that my kids witnessed first-hand the slaughtering of the farm turkey, whom we ate on Thanksgiving Day. It was a first for me to see a turkey's head get chopped off and well.....let's just say my kids handled the whole event a lot better than I did! Braddock & Emma were thrilled with the whole thing and thought it was great that they got to collect all of the feathers that were being plucked off the dead bird while I, on the other hand, laid down flat on my back in the car just to keep from passing out!

Thanksgiving Day was a success! The food was outstanding (even the turkey), the weather was perfect (just right to enjoy our dinner outside), and being with the family was something we certainly treasured!
It was nice to just sit and relax - something we rarely do- and visit with all of the family.
One thing I have come to learn about the Epps family is that they have some great stories and life experiences that I could sit and listen to for hours!

Oh, and we can't forget the wrestling! If you go to an Epps' household, plan on lots of it! I think Braddock is fine with that!
(Braddock wrestling with his Uncle Darrell)
Here is a picture we were able to take of all of us together.
Can I just say I love this family?!
I am so SO grateful for their strong testimonies of the gospel and the great examples they are to my family, especially to my children.

I didn't take any pictures of this event either, but we were able to be at church with Jim's parents when his dad was called to be 1st counselor in the Bishopric. Braddock & Emma thought it was so cool that their Grandpa was sitting up at the stand.
Once again, I am so grateful for these wonderful people!
So there you have it! Thanksgiving in 2010 was a succes! We really could not have asked for a better one. Of course, the time flew by while we were there and I am missing Arizona already, but we hope to take trips down there more often!

Oh, and one more picture that I must post because it makes me laugh every time I see it. One of the days that we were there, Emma grabbed my camera and asked me to take a picture of her (???) So, of course I did because you can't resist when your two year old daughter makes such a request. BUT, the funny part about all of this was that she made specifications of how she wanted to be posed. She wanted to be sitting on the dresser, by the window, looking sideways.
This was the outcome.
Oh, how I love her.
Now, I will end this post.
We hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Halfway Mark

Yep, it's official - We are halfway done!
I must be honest though when I say that this pregnancy has gone by quite slow. It seems like first pregnancies for women always go by the slowest. I remember feeling like I was pregnant for years when I was carrying Braddock because there was so much anticipation in the whole thing, being that it was our first and the unknown was almost too much to handle!
Being pregnant with Emma, on the other hand, was a completely different story! I felt like the time flew by, partly because she was a complete surprise to us, but also because I was so busy trying to take care of Braddock, who was still an infant himself.
Now that we're on to baby numero tres, time seems to be slowing down a bit. Why that is, I am clueless. Maybe because the morning sickness has dragged on much longer than it did with my other pregnancies? Or maybe it's because this pregnancy was planned? OR, maybe it's because my little ones ask me everyday when their baby is going to come home? I guess not knowing what in the world we are having can slow things down a bit too!
Whatever the reason(s), we sure are anxious to meet this little one of ours!
And yes, yes, YES, I realize my blog posting is so inconsistent, so I will share a picture of me at 17 weeks, since I didn't put one up like I should have 3 weeks ago!

And now, here we are at 20 weeks. Yesterday, when I went in for my appointment and stood on that scary thing they call a scale, I learned that I had gained 7 lbs in 4 weeks! What in the??? As a whole, I have gained 12 lbs and am certainly feeling it! I'm still going to the gym - attempting 3 days a week - where I do kickboxing and weights, and am hoping to start running more on the days I don't go. I find that every week gets harder and harder to work out, but I'm determined to just stick with it because I never did with my other two.

I haven't posted ultrasound pics, but we did in fact get to see our little one yesterday as well! Jim and the kids were able to take part in it, along with my mother-in-law, and sister, Alyssa. It was funny that there were so many people in the room, considering the fact that we didn't get to find out the gender, but nonetheless, it was a neat experience to see our little baby. Plus, my kids somewhat understood it!
My favorite part of the whole thing was when the doctor was showing us the baby's vertebrae and Braddock said, "Mom, it's a dinosaur!" I guess all of the baby's skeletal features threw Braddock for a loop!
The doctor did ask us more than once if we were sure we didn't want to know what we were having. That was just pure torture! It is tempting, but we've waited this long...I think we can hold out!

Whatever it is - a boy, a girl, a dinosaur - WE ARE SO EXCITED!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Oh What Fun!

Yesterday, after the kids and I got home from the gym, I made the decision to delegate the rest of our Tuesday as a Halloween Craft Day.
For the last two years, I have wanted to make these adorable bats that I spotted on my cousin's blog back in 2008, but because I somehow managed to consume my time in other things, I never got around to it.
So yesterday, I loaded the kids in the car, headed to the dollar store, bought some craft supplies (and don't forget a few bags of Halloween candy!),
and then ventured back home to take on the task of crafting with two little ones.
We all changed into some old clothes and painted away.
I must say, I was completely taken back by how well-behaved my kids were and how well they did in participating!
It sure made for a happy and proud mommy.
{sorry for the sideways picture. Blogger is not doing its job right now.}
Look at them painting away!

And how CUTE did these turn out?!

Now all we need are some pumpkins!

Want to make some yourself? Here is the link.

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Great News!

So I really have not kept this a secret AT ALL, but I have failed to mention it on my blog anyhow - We are having a baby!
Baby is due March 4th, ironically on the same exact day that my sister Jenna is due!
Currently, I am 13 weeks along and feeling......well.....better than previously.
This pregnancy sure has been different from the last two. Although I was extremely nauseous with both kids, it did not start until I was between 8 and 9 weeks.
This pregnancy, on the contrary, has left me nauseated and exhausted beginning at 4 weeks.
For a few weeks, I felt like I was surviving solely on Gingerale and nectarines.
I was throwing up at least once a day and would have to wake up every morning at 4 AM and hurry up and eat something because I felt like I was starving to death! At 11 weeks, I was 6 lbs down from when I conceived only because I could not keep anything down.
Now at thirteen weeks, I am proud to say that I have set a record of not hurling for 8 days straight and I am pretty sure that I have regained those 6 lbs and then some!
I don't mean to have a pity party, but this week I feel especially grateful for good health and the ability to live my life again! Never more in my life have I missed going to the grocery store, cooking, cleaning, and running errands - all the things I take for granted when I am healthy.
Here is a picture of our sweet little pinto bean at 8 weeks.

Great belly picture, eh? No face involved. My hair was wet and I was not wearing any makeup which equals scary. Here I am at 13 weeks. Ghetto bootie included.

Currently, my favorite thing to eat is a tuna sandwich on wheat bread with Claussen pickles and Ruffles potato chips. I like to down it with a glass of red wine.
Just kidding. It's cranberry juice, my new favorite drink!

On to other things. My little ones are growing like weeds! Braddock, my very much introverted child, is beginning to open up to other people much more easily. We still have our moments, but it seems like each day he is improving. Besides that, he is so so funny! The kid quotes movies all of the time and when I say certain things he says, "Mom, what movie is that from?" He's a total movie gu-ru and it is entertaining to see him watch movies. He has the cutest deep chuckle you ever heard.
He loves riding his trike ( I think I need to get him a bike) and playing outside in the sandbox. His current favorite person is Uncle Jerry, which he pronounces Uncle Sherri.
I think that will now be my brother's new permanent name.

Emma is our little sweet pea. She talks non-stop and has a face that you could kiss on all day. She loves to read books and eat fruit snacks. She has an obsession with changing her clothes like 37 times a day and she has recently learned how to use the potty! Potty training has been so easy with her. If I walk in the bathroom when she is going, she says, "Mom, you need to get out of here."
Emma is also our accident-prone child. In her 2 year life span, she has fainted twice, pulled her elbow out of place (okay, mommy did that one...on accident) and recently injured her arm while wrestling with her dad, uncle, and brother. She also always trips and falls! I have always felt a need to keep her under my wing just because I know she is bound to get hurt!
Nonetheless, she is our little angel who truly cares about others' feelings and wants everyone to be happy all of the time.

So here is our life in a nutshell right now! We are so happy to welcome a new baby into the family. Whether it's a boy or a girl, it will be a complete surprise to us! We have decided not to find out the gender as we have one of each and will be happy with whatever we get. Some people think we are crazy. We probably are. Anyhow, more posts to come shortly. Promise.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Half Marathon

Once upon a time, in the fall of 2009, during the month of October, a mother of two children decided that she wanted to make a habit of running in the mornings, 3-4 times a week.
On day 1 of this attempt, this anxious and determined mother ran 1.5 miles and BOY, was she oh so proud! (she was also very exhausted and sweaty). The next week, she decided to get a running partner to tag along with her since she felt like it would make her runs a more pleasant experience, so she asked a friend who served in Young Women's with her, Marilee .
When Marilee began running with her, she insisted that they increase the distance to 3.2 miles. The once anxious and determined mother was now frightened and decided maybe running alone wasn't so bad. However, Marilee's enthusiasm and will-power encouraged this young lady to stick with it!
Pretty soon, the 3.2 mile runs became less and less strenuous and the urge to run became more and more desirable. By the end of October, the young mother and her dear friend, Marilee decided it was time to participate in a 5k in Salem, Utah.
Though the word "5k" once terrified the young mother, it now had a ring of excitement to it!
On the morning of October 31st, the race began. It was cold. It was crowded. It was a little intimidating. But when the gun went off, it was incredible! So many people running! Some were old, some were very very young, some were performance athletes while others seemed to be running for their first time.
Throughout the race, the young mother was determimed.
Determined to be positive, determined to focus, and determined to endure.
After 27 minutes of determination, it happened!
I, this young mother we have been reffering to, finished the race.
It was a proud moment in history.
A few months later, my husband's cousin, Jami encouraged me to run another race on May 1st - this time it would be a half marathon in Sacramento, California.
Yes, people. That is 13.1 miles.
I really thought there could be no possible way, but my mind gave in to the idea and soon, in 6 weeks, my family would be venturing to Sacramento so that I and my sister, Alyssa could take on the challenge.
Each Saturday, prior to the race, Alyssa and I trained. The first week we ran 6 miles which seemed like an enormous victory for us! But then the next week, we ran 8 and 6 miles did not seem like a big deal. Pretty soon we were up to 11 miles, which made 8 miles look like a piece of cake.
When it came time for the race, a wave of emotions began to take over.
I was nervous, anxious, excited, determined, and oh, did i say nervous?
However, the nerves settled down when Alyssa and I were able to find Jami, her husband, and friends amongst the crowd of 3000+ people.
There is something very comforting about knowing that you are in this together!
And we were!
(Below: Stephanie, Jami, Alyssa, Me, Tim, and Shanna)
The first 5 miles were at complete ease for me. In fact, many conversations took place amongst all of us during this time.
Between the 6th and 8th miles, my body began telling me that it was getting tired, so I had to start talking to myself (not out loud, of course).
Then, after what seemed like an eternity, the 9 mile marker approached us. Though it was 70 degrees outside, the sun beating down on me made it feel more like 90.
Then 10 came. Hallelujah! I literally shouted that because I needed a drink really bad (each mile marker there was Gatorade or water available).
Finally, 11 came - More Gatorade, please!
Throughout the 11th mile, my sister had to tell me lots of positive things like "You can do it!" or "We're almost done!" or "Don't stop now!" I had to start talking to myself (out loud, of course!)It was all I could do to stay in the game til' the 12th mile, where I was sure I would be re-energized after taking one last swig of water.
However, disappointment sunk in when we hit the 12th mile only to find empty cups where the people on the sidelines were saying, "Sorry, we ran out of drinks."
Uh, what?
To me at the time, these people were traitors, liars, and thieves. I felt utterly betrayed.
How on earth could I possibly get to the finish line now?! I felt hopeless.
But then something magical set in.
I started thinking about my family. My kids. I started thinking about how I never want my kids to give up on me, so I should never give up on them.
I started thinking about my health and how important it is to stay fit as a wife and mother and individual.
I started thinking about how I feel when victory takes place.
Pretty soon, I could hear the crowds cheering. Then I SAW the crowds.
My sister and I began sprinting to the finish line!
The adrenaline set in again, though this time every muscle in my body throbbed!
After what seemed like several minutes of sprinting (probably more like 15 seconds), it was done. FINISHED. COMPLETE.
It was wonderful to see Jim and the kids at the end. Oh, how I missed them so!
(yes, I have more pictures I need to aquire from my sister's camera, as mine died right before the race)
How grateful I am for my sister who pushed me every step of the way! She truly is an amazing person!
Though the ride seemed rough at times, I am grateful for the encouragement of so many people who helped me accomplish something that I never thought was possible!

Monday, May 31, 2010

The Family Room

The last few weeks I have been busy busy trying to get my basement family room put together.
I have been pleased with the way it is turning out, although I still have a lot to do! Still, it has been so much fun working on it and making it better than it was originally. I only have one before picture to post.
This chair was ugly. Actually there is 4 of them. My husband brought them home from a job and was going to take them to the dump! What the?! Yeah, I know. I told him I would give them a little TLC and they would be as good as gold.
He did not believe me until he saw this.

And this.
I bought this clock that I am in love with. I also put together this flower arrangement.
I also purchased this bookshelf at Wal-Mart. Who woulda' thought Wally World would sell such a great piece of furniture?!It's ridiculously heavy too. I still have to fill it up, but have not decided how I am going to finish it off.
Sorry about this picture - a little blurry. The table was once ugly, but I painted it red. Now, it sits underneath our tv and I'm happy to call it family.
Last but not least - This is definitely my favorite. I made a coat rack which cost me a whopping $5.00! I took a piece of barnwood from my in-law's farm, smudged it with some white paint and small hints of brown, then I screwed some hooks onto it! I can't say this was my idea though. The credit goes to my favorite friend, Kassie. Anyhow, these are just bits and pieces of my family room, but so far, SO GOOD!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Emma's turn.

I love her. What can I say more? She lights up our family and makes us all laugh at her randomness.
Her birthday was pretty low-key at our house. She opened up one present, which was a little dalmatian puppy (fake, by the way) which she was totally thrilled about. She kept kissing it and giggling every time it would crawl across the table.
Since her birthday was on a Sunday, she enjoyed or should I say endured three hours of church. Afterwards, we headed over to grandma's house for a little birthday party. We frosted cookies and ate some yummy cake and ice cream!
So now, Emma has been two for a couple of months and has grown to be quite the little girl.
Currently, she:
Loves moving her head to the beat of any Taylor Swift song.
Lives off a special diet of cheese, candy, chocolate milk, shrimp ?, and more cheese.
Gives very big squeezes (aka hugs).
Insists on dressing herself.
Humbly declares to anyone and everyone that she is a princess.
Prefers wearing a dress everyday of the week.
Calls people on the phone and talks incessantly until i take the phone away from her.
Loves to color and read books.
Prefers only two movies - "Babe" and "101 Dalmatians".
Finds joy in wrestling her brother, dad, and twin cousins.
Cannot go on with life without her "tee-tee" (aka blankie).

We love you, Emma and all of the funny things you say. You are a sass as well as a rough-and-tough little girl! Thanks for bringing us so much joy.

Birthdays. Let's talk about them.

Yes, lots of birthdays this year. Am I really 4 months behind? This is completely discouraging, but I am not going to surrender! I have to catch up and I have to stick with it! The last four months have confined me to history books, studying, and more studying. When I am not doing those things, I am devoting my time to my children and my husband. I still keep my eye on everyone's blogs, but the thought of me sitting down and updating my own, has seemed treacherous and unappealing. I miss it. Oh, I miss it so! So here I am again re-entering myself into the blogging world {for the 47th time}, but let us think positive!

So, let's start at the very beginning - A very good place to start. {If you can tell me what movie that is from, I will give you a big hug}.

Birthdays! Jim is up. My husband, Jim. He turned 26 in January, which means he is 4 years closer to 30. He still is my hunk and I love him!

For his special day, he went to work. Okay, so there was more to it than that. He came home that night and I told him to go get a haircut because that is what wives do when it is their husband's birthday. Then his mom came over with a present that he has ever since been in love with. Look down at the last picture to get a glimpse of it...........

It's a GPS!
He had been talking about getting one for the last year. It was highly needed as he is a contractor and travels all over the state of Utah. Let me just say that I think I was rejoicing over this gift a whole lot more than he was. If you only knew how much I enjoyed the Pre-GPS era when Jim would call me to have me look online for directions to a job site that he could not find and then trying to give him directions over the phone was quite pleasant. {I said that with much sarcasm}. Anyhow, it was a glorious experience to see Jim open up that gift.
The other gift that Jim's mom gave to us was taking the kids! Jim and I went out on the town, baby! All by ourselves! Okay, so maybe it was just to the food court at the mall and then to a movie! But hey, it was kind of a big deal.

Happy 26th Birthday, Jim. Love you.