Monday, December 19, 2011

She finally arrived!






She was 5 agonizing days late, but Elizabeth Mae Ricks has finally arrived! She was born December 16, 2011 at 2:45 am. She was 9 lbs 2 oz and 21" long. By far my biggest baby. I was afraid she'd be big since she was late, but it could have been worse!

Here's the quick story. I was expecting her to be born the weekend of December 11 (her due date), so when that weekend came and went I was getting pretty frustrated. The next Tuesday I was having contractions 2 separate times that were pretty regular, then they just stopped. So annoying! Thursday I had another appointment and was going to ask to be induced but since it's so close to Christmas I didn't think they'd be able to get me in until the next week. But to my surprise they said I could go into the hospital the next day (Friday, Dec. 16). Since I'm Group B positive they wanted me to go in that night to start the antibiotic, then they'd induce that morning and I'd probably have her by noon. Sounded great! We made arrangements for someone to watch the kids while Tony took me to the hospital, then he was going to come home, sleep with the kids, get them off to school the next day and get back to the hospital in time to start the induction.

So that's what we did. He took me to the hospital, got me all hooked up and went home to bed around 10:00. I tried to sleep but about 11:00 I was having contractions (on my own) but because of earlier in the week I tried to ignore them. This time, however, they were getting really painful and closer together. So around 1:00am I called Tony and told him I thought I was already in labor. He called our friend back and got back to the hospital by 1:30. The nurses checked me and I had gone from a 2 when I got there to a 6. So we called for an epidural. The guy took forever to get there, but once he did I felt so much better. Now that I wasn't in constant pain I actually started falling asleep when the doctor came in and said it was time to push. So I pushed twice through 1 contraction and Elizabeth was born at 2:45am! Tony and I slept for a few hours then Tony went home to get the kids ready for school. Then he came back to sleep with me and Elizabeth. My doctor's were great and let me come home Saturday afternoon instead of Sunday morning.

The funnest part of all this is Gracie's birthday is December 17. So now we have 2 birthdays 2 days in a row! Gracie had a great birthday visiting us in the hospital, getting "smoothies" with dad (they were really Icee's) and playing with friends all day. I think this works out better than having their birthdays on the same day. This way they each get their own special day!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Does this sound familiar to anyone else?

Tonight, we put the kids in bed a little early--like 10 minutes, which is 1 hour in kid time. A few minutes later Gracie came in to say Hallie was laying in the middle of the bed (they share a queen bed). Tony went in to resolve the issue. Hallie sleeps at one end, Gracie at the other. As he left he had a little exchange with the girls. It's pretty typical--for us anyway.

Tony: Now don't get out of bed again or you lose your Wii time for tomorrow.

Gracie: What if we're bleeding or on fire?

Tony: Then just yell, "I'm bleeding!" or "I'm on fire!"

Hallie: Well, you'll have to hurry!

Tony: I will, but neither of those things are going to happen...just go to sleep!

This is almost a nightly occurance for us. Usually they're worried about more dramatic things, like earthquakes. Please tell me we're not the only ones!

P.S. Hallie has already gotten out of bed twice since I started writing this. If I were a good parent I'd tell her she's lost her Wii time, but tonight I'm too tired!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

I know, I know...

...it's been way too long since my last post. We made it here to Athens, AL in the beginning of August. My mom and brother, Todd, flew in to help us make the move and I am SO glad they did! We would not have been able to do it without them. We drove a U-haul from Tallahassee to Athens and what should have taken 7 hours took nearly 12 (it's a long story--maybe someday I'll go into it). Once we made it we got the kids registered for school. I found a doctor and made my first appointment for the week my mom was still here. I wasn't sure if they'd do an ultrasound at that first visit, but they did and you'll never guess. We're having a....nother girl! Yep, that makes 4 girls and 1 boy. They kids took it really well and now we are all excited for the new addition (who still won't be here for 10 more weeks).

Tony started his new job and is doing really well. Everyone he works with is really great and they all LOVE Clara. Every time I go to visit there are about 4-5 ladies all gathered around to watch Clara climb the giant staircase in the front of the library. In other big news, Tony finished up his dissertation last week. He defends next week and we could not be more excited. Ever since we got here he's been working 10 hour days, coming home for dinner then going back to work for another few hours after the kids go to bed. We haven't had much of a chance to explore the area, but now that he's done we have lots of plans! I'll let you know how the defense goes once he passes.

So here's a few pictures of things I should have shared a while ago.

Now that Tony isn't spending Saturdays working, he took the kids on a little hike yesterday before conference started. Here they are as wolves (I'm sure it was Will's idea).

I just love Hallie's poses!


Our new house has an awesome porch swing. Here's my mom with her grandkids. We're out there at least once a day.


While my mom and Todd were here we visited the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville.


Before we left Tallahassee, our awesome home teacher brought over some of his light saber collection so we could have a real light saber fight. Clara was a formidable opponent.

He even brought over a real Darth Vader mask. Combine it with the red light saber and you've got the real thing!


We also had a birthday party for Hallie before we left. It was a great way to see all our friends one last time.


We miss you all in Tallahassee! Everyone here has been great and we really like it, but it's just not the same. I guess it's just taking me longer to get used to this move than I thought, but looking at all these pictures makes me miss you all so much!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Clara's new look

A few months ago Tony and I noticed Clara crossing her eyes...a lot. At first I thought maybe she was doing it on purpose, but she's a little young for that. Since it was Gracie's eye crossing that lead me to an eye doctor with her (at age 16 months) I decided to take Clara in. And sure enough, she has the same thing Gracie does. It's called accommodative esotropia--which means she's far-sighted and crosses her eyes to see clearly. Now she has glasses and won't need to cross her eyes to see. Luckily I kept the only pair of Gracie's glasses that survived toddlerhood, so I got Clara's prescription put in them. I also got another pair through insurance so now we have the luxury of 2 pairs--something I never had with Gracie. It's taken her a few weeks, but now she'll keep them on for long stretches of time. She looks adorable and when she looks at books she looks like a little baby genius.

I also gave her her first official hair cut. Now it sits right at her shoulders and slightly curls under all on it's own. Pair the hair cut with the glasses and I think she looks doubly adorable.

Another new thing for Clara is to climb up as high as she can. We have a "mountain" of boxes in the front room and anytime we leave the door open she climbs up the boxes as high as she can get. She also discovered how to climb to the top of the computer desk. We usually have some paper and a few Books of Mormon up there, so of course, she has to clear those off before she climbs up. She also can climb up William's toy shelves in his room. So far she's never fallen off, but there's a first for everything.
See, she looks like she can actually read that book!
One last new thing for Clara is her love for our front room closet. I keep most of our food storage in there. But since I've packed most of it up Tony thought it would be fun to stick Clara in there--he thought she might like it. He set her in there and closed the door. It was pitch black so you might have expected an immediate cry, but Tony opened it to find her playing with a box of noodles and saying "bye, see ya later" over and over again. So he got her a light and left her for a minute. Still, she was fine. After a while he forced her out and she threw a huge fit. The next day she wanted in again and when I wouldn't let her she threw another fit. It's really cute, I just don't have time to sit by the closet door waiting her to to want out.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

More news...

...are you ready for more! Most of you already know this, but I'm expecting baby #5! I'm due in the middle of December, right around Gracie's birthday. That puts me at 13 weeks now and feeling much better. We don't know what we're having yet and won't find out until we move in August. William wants me to have twin boys so then we'll have equal boys and girls. I'm not so sure about that idea. But I do at least want one boy!

Everyone here is super excited about the new baby--except maybe Clara. She doesn't realize what's coming, but I do know she doesn't like it when I pay attention to other babies. So it will be interesting. She'll be so happy, though, once he can walk and talk and she has someone to play with all day while the kids are at school.

Here's a cute picture just for fun!
Our favorite tree in Tallahassee...the big one at Lake Ella. William actually was having a good time, but I had just told him it was time to go home. It was so hot I was melting.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

ASU here we come!

No, not Arizona State (although that would be awesome!). Tony has accepted a position at Athens State University (and no, it's not in Georgia, it's in Alabama). He'll be directing the writing center there as well as implementing their quality enhancement plan to improve writing across the university. It's a really great job and the university seems like a perfect fit for him.
So, as of August we'll be Alabamans(?). Tony's going to finish up his dissertation in the next 6 weeks, then he'll come back to Tallahassee to defend in September and be set to graduate in December. While Tony is finishing his dissertation the kids and I will be packing, cleaning, and organizing. It's going to be a busy summer with lots of changes but we are all super excited. We will miss Tallahassee, though. I've never met people quite as awesome as the people here and I really don't know if anywhere can top this. But leave we must. I know this is where the Lord wants us to go. Everything has been working together so Tony could get this job at this time and it is the best place for our family to be. So look out Alabama...because once we get there, you'll never be the same!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Atlanta

Last week Tony went to a conference in Atlanta. He left Wednesday night. About 2 hours before he left I found out the Atlanta Temple was having their open house starting that Saturday. Since Atlanta is only 5 hours from here and Tony already had a hotel room paid for, we decided that I'd drive up with the kids Friday night so we could tour the temple on Saturday. Then we'd drive home and be back Saturday night.

While I was driving up Friday afternoon Tony got a call from his best friend from high school that lives an hour outside of Atlanta. They invited us to stay Saturday night. Since we already had our Sunday clothes to go to the temple we decided to stay. So it turned out to be a crazy weekend but we had a lot of fun.

Saturday morning Tony went to his conference so I took the kids to the Atlanta Children's Museum. Then we met Tony at the temple. The tour lasted about an hour and was great! The kids loved how beautiful everything was. I showed the girls the brides room and explained how when they get married we could go in there and I would help them get ready. Gracie thought she was getting married right then. It took some time to explain that I meant when she was older! I also showed them the mirrors in the sealing room and how the reflection goes on forever just like our family. Hallie especially loved that!

After the temple we went to our friend's house. They were so nice to have us stay when they had just walked in the door from a vacation. We went to church with them the next day and left that afternoon after lunch. So although the trip was quick it was definitely worth it. I didn't get any pictures at the temple because there were so many people around and they kept us moving pretty much the whole time, but I did get lots at the museum. Here are a few...

The museum has this giant contraption that moves plastic balls all over the place. There are about 15 different places you can pull levers or turn cranks to make the balls go different places. Will spent most of his time here.

They had an African exhibit. Hallie must have been really tired after a long camel ride.

Clara took Gracie on a really long tractor ride.

They had 2 big tables with moon sand. Gracie spent most of here time here.

Clara watching herself in the mirror. I love that little hat!


There was a little play area for kids under 2. They had this little piano which Clara LOVED! She could fit right on the bench and play. When she plays our piano she always falls off.


Hallie and Gracie painted. You paint on the wall then when you're done they clean it off for other kids.


There's a big shipping truck with boxes and a conveyor belt. Will loaded up boxes and sent them down for someone else to unload. They also had a little grocery store with shopping carts and baskets. You can fill your cart up from the shelves and check out at a little register. So cute!

Hallie learns about Mexico

Last week Hallie's class did a little play about Mexico (they've been studying Mexico for the last few weeks). It was pretty cute--mostly because it's fun to watch the little kids--and at the end Hallie was part of a group that did a Mexican Hat Dance. She's the girl in the front right wearing the white shirt and green skirt.

video

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Camping

Last week was spring break for the kids so we took them camping--but only for one night. I'm not much of a camper. It seems to be way to much work for only a little fun, but I will always be overruled in that area, so we took the kids to Torreya State Park. Since this was our first family camping trip I thought it would be best to keep it short.
The minute we arrived at our campsite the kids set out to explore and quickly found a swing made from a branch that hung in a "U" shape. It was the perfect way for the 3 older kids to entertain themselves while Tony and I set up. Clara, however, just wanted to wander. Especially over to the neighboring campsite--they had a trailer with about 3 steps up (she LOVES steps!). So every 30 seconds we had to pull her away from their trailer and get her busy doing something else. At least the people were really nice and said they didn't mind at all.
We hiked a small trail, which turned out to be just the right length. We played games and roasted marshmallows. But most of all we spent a lot of time together. So even though I forgot a few things and we didn't stay too long, I'd count this trip as a success. Maybe next time I'll be brave enough to stay for 2 nights!
Hiking to "weeping ridge". We saw a dead armadillo carcass on the way back that was not there when we hiked in. It kind of creeped us out.
Gracie and Hallie on the natural swing.
Roasting giant marshmallows. Those would have made really good smores. Oh well, maybe next time!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Best Jedi Master Racer

For the past month or so William has been really into Star Wars. Really into Star Wars. He has watched all the movies (multiple times) and keeps getting Star Wars books from the library. So as his first pinewood derby approached Tony asked him what he wanted his car to be. The automatic answer...a light saber. So that's what they made (see picture below). That night he raced his heart out and came out with an honorable mention. But each car got an award and Will's was the "best jedi master racer". So even though he only won maybe 2 races he was ecstatic! They could not have given him a better award!
Does it look like he's been crying in this picture? That's because on the way home we tried playing the quiet game (it was way past bedtime). The loser would not get a treat the next day (deemed to be some root beer--awesome, right?). Well, Will lost. So he threw a fit about not getting any root beer. Then Hallie started crying because she felt sorry for Will for not getting any root beer (it turned out to be a really loud ride home instead). I'd like to say that I stuck to my guns and didn't give him any root beer, but for the sake of getting them to bed, I caved. Then I made him smile for the picture I told grandma I would take.
Behold, the mighty light saber!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Evidence

Not that I'd ever really enter Tony in a "Father of the Year" contest (since I think that's kind of cheesy), but if I did here's the evidence I'd give.
  • After one day of working on the house Clara and I were exhausted. Even though we were both exhausted Tony spent the rest of the afternoon building a fort in the girls room while I rocked Clara. I know lots of dads will build forts with their kids but Tony does it because he wants to, not because he has to. Seriously, he thinks it's really, really fun!

Here's the fort. It took up the entire room.


  • I bought a new mirror for the bathroom. I asked him to put the cardboard it came in into the recycle bin. A few minutes later he came back the the bedroom with this creation:

He made this because he knew it would make the kids laugh. He will do literally anything to make them laugh. And he will never miss an opportunity--even if it's just drawing a face on a piece of cardboard.

  • Nearly every time the kids ask him to jump on the trampoline his answer is yes. My answer is nearly always the opposite.

  • Mostly he just loves playing with the kids. Sometimes I think he'd rather be outside playing with the kids than visiting with the grown-ups.

He really is an amazing dad. He is willing to do anything for his kids. He works hard for them all day long, then comes home and plays with them until bedtime (and even after bedtimes if I don't make him stop). The kids say all the time "dad is funny and mom is serious" (really, they do say that a lot!). But I wouldn't have it any other way!

You know when you have so much to do that it completely overwhelms you so you don't even start? That's how I feel about this blog. So much has happened since my last post I don't even want to try to organize it. But I don't want to stay away forever, so here goes.

Soon after my last post (where I got our kitchen floor redone) we started adding a shower to our bathroom (it was only a 1/2 bath). So we closed off our tiny closet to make a shower and built ourselves a closet out of the girls room. Every step along the way I thought "I should take pictures of this" but it turned out to be way more stressful than I could handle. Honestly, I was lucky to keep my kids fed and clothed. Half of the reason it was so stressful was that we had to have it done before our family came out for Will's baptism. That gave us less than 3 weeks. It came down to the wire, but we got it done. Now we have 2 full bathrooms, a bigger closet in our room and new carpet in all the rooms--that's because I spilled paint in the one room we weren't going to re-carpet. I don't love the new carpet, but that's a different story.

So now on to Will's baptism. He turned 8 on February 8, 2011. He got a new bike on his birthday and new scriptures the next day (when grandma and grandpa brought them from Utah). He was baptized on Feb. 12. My parents came a few days before. We had tons of fun but the part the kids liked the best was teaching William and Hallie to ride bikes without training wheels. Now they spend all afternoon outside riding circles on our patio.

The day of his baptism Tony's parents came, along with is sister, Elly, and brother, Corey. They stayed a few days after the baptism. It was so great to have everyone here. It always goes by too fast! Unfortunately for me, I got sick the day before the baptism--it started a cold and ended almost 2 weeks later with a sinus infection. But it was great to my both my mom and mother-in-law to take care of things for me. They are the best!!

So here's a few pictures of my missionary man. He also got a new suit for his birthday and it makes him look so grown up!

Doesn't he look like a little missionary? It makes me want to cry:)


Will and Tony just before the baptism. We are so proud of him!


Now that he's 8 he starts cub scouts. It's only been a few weeks, but it been way more money and time than I bargained for!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

2011 has begun!

Well, we're only 2 weeks in to 2011 and boy have we been busy. New Year's Eve we played in the backyard and raked our leaves. Here's a cute video we took of the kids--notice Clara wandering around in the back. That's what she does in the backyard, it's really cute but kind of scary since you never know what you'll find back there.

video

We also had our kitchen floor redone. A few years ago I tore a long line starting at the kitchen door going all the way down the hall when I dragged (drug?) a dresser from the carport to the girls room. Well, now it's started to started to come apart in one place so we finally got it redone. It doesn't look a whole lot different (it's mostly just darker), but I really like it!



Before--you can see the start of the line at the bottom. Also, Gracie thought it was awesome that she could hide in the pantry. It was her "very own secret hide out."



After--it took me a few days but now I LOVE it!


Last night Tony and I went on a much needed date. We ate at one of Tony's favorite restaurant's Sonny's BBQ. Tony ordered the all you can eat ribs. He started off with 2 plates of the sweet and smoky, then decided to try the dry rub ribs. He didn't like them as much so while he ate another plate of the regular kind, I had fun the the left overs!


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Christmas 2010

This last Christmas was pretty great. We stayed home this year with just our little family. It was wonderful to not have the pressure of travelling. We picnic ed at a park Christmas Eve (gotta love Florida!), went carolling that night with some friends, and spent all Christmas day playing with toys and eating. Here's a few pictures:



Two of my four monkeys, Hallie and Gracie, at Tom Brown Park Christmas Eve.



Will spent the whole time at the park playing this game. You hit the circles when they light up. He played with a bunch of kids he had never met--boys versus girls (and the girls won every game). When I asked him about his new friends he realized he didn't even learn any of their names!


Clara loves a good slide!


Opening presents Christmas morning.



Putting together Will's new Lego car. Hallie was only allowed to watch.


Santa brought us Band Hero for the Wii. Clara played it by smashing her goldfish into the drum set.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Gracie turns 5

Last year for Gracie's birthday we went to Disney World. A day or so later she started planning her next birthday. I just kept telling her it was a long ways away and we'd talk about it when it got closer. Then as each of the other kids had their birthdays she got more and more excited for hers.

So this year for the big "5" we let her chose 3 friends to take to the movies. So our family (minus Clara who was with some friends) plus 3 little girls journeyed to the movie theater to see Tangled. The movie was really cute and I think they all had fun, except Gracie. She wanted to leave after the first half and on the way home declared Tangled to be the longest movie in the whole wide world. Then after stuffing our faces with popcorn and soda we headed home (in pouring rain) to eat some real food before having cake and ice cream.

Her birthday was also the last day of school before the Christmas break, so her school class did all kinds of fun things, from a book exchange to crafts to a visit from a "fake" Santa (Gracie's word, not mine).

Earlier in the week we got a package from Grandma Ricks with our Christmas gifts and Gracie's birthday present. It nearly killed her to have to wait 5 days before opening her birthday present. She asked me every morning if she could just open it now. The week between her birthday and Christmas was not much better. So first thing the morning of December 17 (her birthday) she opened her presents. I didn't think she could make it until all her friends were there for her party. Here are some pictures:

Mom and Dad got Gracie a new bike for her birthday. Now she has one just like Will and Hallie. She also got a big, purple My Little Pony, a shrinkydink set and a puzzle.


Grandma Ricks got her this cute outfit! Here she is with all her presents. Grandma Robinson gave her a dry erase board to practice her letters (which she usually does every day on the way to school!)

Gracie blowing out the candles on her cupcakes. Next year she wants a cake and cupcakes. We'll see about that.


So even though it's almost a month late--I love you Gracie! You've brought so much joy and laughter to my life already. I can't wait to see what the future has in store for you.

Happy Birthday!

P.S. Stay tuned for a Christmas post in the next few days!