Friday, January 18

school pics

the kids had their school pictures taken so long ago, and it has taken me forever to remember to post them.
chris has all of his childhood school pictures, and my mom bought maybe two or three. 
he wanted to buy them, i didn't care too much. marriage is about give and take, right? 
chris won.
in the end, they made chris and i laugh so hard, 
they were worth the arm and leg they cost!

this is the first year that ellie hasnt cried, 
but charlie wasnt so sure what to think of this bearded man.

Tuesday, January 15

our tree

our family tree


i have written this in a condensed version, without details, but decided that i want to be able to remember how i am feeling right now. i have also come to the realization that im not very good with words. this is something that i dont think i will be able to adequately express my feelings, but here goes.

we were excited to add number four to our chaotic bunch. when november came along, i already knew. i took the pregnancy test, just to confirm. sure enough, there was a plus sign. i was so happy. so happy, i couldnt even wait to tell chris in some creative way, like i told myself i would. 

i felt like crap, like i always do, but felt very relaxed with this pregnancy (tender mercy #1). usually i am automatically filled with a nervousness that is not easily calmed while pregnant. i have nightmares almost every night  and worry nonstop about having a healthy baby. in fact, my prayers always consist of having a healthy, happy baby. but this time around was so different. so calm. i attributed that to being a "seasoned" pregnant lady since this was number 4. we were tickled with anticipation waiting to tell the kids. we waited until christmas eve, i was 11 weeks. they were ecstatic (tender mercy #2) and immediately told everyone, "WE'RE having a baby!!!". 
christmas and new years were wonderful! we had the best holidays and loved every moment (tender mercy #3). the kids asked questions about when and how the baby would come, would guess if it was a boy or a girl. every time they asked me, i had no impressions (tender mercy #4). i waited to make my first dr's appointment until after the new year. i didnt want to squeeze another thing in during the busy holidays and take away from that family time. i noticed right around christmas that i was starting to feel better and had more energy, which was a few weeks earlier than usual, but i didn't think much of it except that it felt great (tender mercy #5).
then last sunday the bleeding started. i knew. right away, i knew what was happening. grandma came over (tender mercy #6) and sat with our sleeping kids while we went to the ER, where an ultrasound confirmed there was no heartbeat. i was 13 weeks. and i was devastated. hearing empty static while trying to find a heartbeat is a hard, hard thing to go through. we found out the baby stopped growing at 10 1/2 weeks.

i never thought that we would experience a miscarriage. i guess that was mostly because we have had three successful pregnancies (tender mercy #7). the hardest part of the drive home from the ER was thinking of how jack and ellie would handle the news, but besides that, we felt so calm (tender mercy #8). we knew it was ok. i was able to fall right to sleep and was determined to put on a happy face for the kids before school on monday morning.
it was quite peculiar how sweet the kids were on their first day back to school after christmas break (tender mercy #9). all i felt that morning was so much love for those three kids and for chris (tender mercy #10). and it was a rainy morning. i love rainy days (#11). once the kids were at school, word spread through our families and friends and it was as if heaven's windows opened and love just came pouring down. 
my dad and chris gave me a priesthood blessing of healing and comfort (#12).
flowers, cards, chocolates, hugs, meals and PRAYERS PRAYERS PRAYERS have been and continue to be given on our behalf (#13).

we told the kids on monday afternoon.
well, i should say chris told the kids because he is much better with that then i am. knowing that both kids have tried to plant seeds before that didnt grow, he likened this baby to a seed. some seeds are planted and grow into beautiful trees, or beautiful people. and sometimes seeds are planted, and for one reason or another, they stop growing, just like our baby.
when the reality of it all sunk in, a few tears were shed, but the kids said they are so excited for Heavenly Father to send us a new baby when He is ready (#14).
we then went and picked out a beautiful little grapefruit tree and planted it in the backyard.
and it is already growing (#15).
i have been able to talk with friends that have experienced miscarriage and have learned so much from them (#16).
chris and i went to the hospital yesterday and had a successful D&C (#17), 
while mom watched the kids (#18),
and today i am feeling great (#19).

i have had an emotional roller coaster, but it has been filled with mostly ups that just go higher and higher. we know Heavenly Father is aware of our family. He has shown His love through so many tender mercies this past week. most of those tender mercies have been shown through other people and their support in one form or another. i think the biggest blessing has been the peace we have felt constantly (#20). we dont have overwhelming feelings of sadness or have questions of "why" or thoughts of "maybe i did something wrong". a new dynamic and bond has grown between chris and i that i wouldnt change for anything (#21). he has been so level-headed and able to look at things through spiritual eyes and it has helped me feel the same. having been brought to my knees more fervently than ever before, i feel closer to my Heavenly Father (#22). 

i am grateful for this experience. 

Wednesday, January 9


charlie has a few favorites right now

baby ash

for his second birthday he was surrounded with family, pizza, trains and BALLOONS! 
lots and lots of balloons!

we have the sweetest video of charlie smiling so big when we sang happy birthday to him and trying to blow out his candles using his nose breath. but for some reason its not uploading, so just use your imagination :)

we love our charlie and couldnt ask for a sweeter two year old.
he is a lot like jack was at this stage, but even more adventurous, scampatious and physically capable, which is hard to imagine.
he starts and ends each day with a smile, 
loves to give hugs and kisses (especially to "my baby" -ashton),
and goes goes goes!

christmas christmas and more christmas

i think we could appropriately name this year
The Year of the Bow
... and camo. lots of camo was received.

the kids got christmas jammies from grandma & grandpa brower and to say they love them is an understatement. charlie L.O.V.E.S his angry birds and ellie wears her owl pj's every single night (without a shirt, silly girl).

i got knives!
sharp, sharp, sharp knives!
dont be surprised if my next post is about a trip to the ER because i sliced off my finger.
chris and i have had a good time slicing everything from chicken, to rosemary, to even paper, just to see how awesome they are.

jack has become pretty darn good with his bow.
he is pretty coordinated, so its worked out well for him.
ellie on the other hand, likes to try to shoot the target while pretending to be on horse back (like merida from Brave), galloping at full speed. she needs a little more practice before she will be able to shoot any fish though. thats her goal.

grandma decided to play her famous Christmas Game with the kids this year for the first time. boy were they excited!

and then the adults got their turn. boy, were they excited! 
it was well worth the wait, as always. 
grandma really knows how to have a good time!

after the games, we feasted and feasted and feasted.
chris made prime rib again and it was a grand success.

every year it seems as though christmas gets better and better and this year was no exception. we are so blessed to have love from family, a great job to provide for us, and good health. we are so very grateful to a loving Heavenly Father to provide us with so much in this life.

christmas eve

two years ago we received this santa head from an anonymous giver. we have had a blast with it for the past few christmas seasons and thought it might be time to anonymously leave it on the doorstep of someone else's family, so they might enjoy it too. i still havent made up my mind about gifting it... but we have a year to make that decision ;) anyways, if this was our last year with santa, we wanted to make it count and include him in all our festivities. here are a few of our christmas activities through out the month of december:

buying our tree

 watching the grinch

 hanging christmas lights

eating sugar cookies
(thanks leishmans!)

doorbell ditching a christmas ham

 and our christmas eve morning run to bennet's donuts

this is our third year going to bennet's on christmas eve morning and each year chris wants to take a picture in front of the tree. i guess its good to have a puffy-eyed, sleepyhead family picture every once in a while, right?!

alli, jacob, and louie joined us this year and we found a great park near by to enjoy our donut feast

 later that morning the kids sprinkled their reindeer food in the yard

then we headed over to bo and larissa's to frost sugar cookie houses, our tradition rather than gingerbread houses. do people actually eat gingerbread houses??? this seems to be a much tastier way to enjoy a house.

ellie loves to ride on the rope swing at their house.

christmas eve, we headed over to mom and pop browne's for the brower family tradition of spaghetti dinner. chris even made me a small batch of homemade fettuccine alfredo that was divine. we were so blessed to have daddy home on christmas eve and christmas day. it made the holiday perfect. next up, christmas day!