Saturday, December 29, 2012

Happy Twelve-a-polooza!

Yes, I'm late posting again, but why break a streak that I've had for months now? At least I'm consistent.
On December 12, 2000 at 3:01pm Oliver Sterling chose to grace the world with his presence. He was special for many reasons. First, he was our first son and first child. He was also the first grandchild on both sides of our family. He also happened to be the only grandchild that my dad would live to see and hold. Basically, we knew he was pretty special.
He started off at a chubby 9lbs and 20 1/2 in. long. Within a month he'd grown to over 12lbs! Om fact, at his one month appointment he was off the charts in weight at about the 110th percentile! He was a chubby baby boy!
He also managed to learn things fairly quickly, at least physically. He held his head up from birth, crawled around 4 months and started walking around 9 months. He was a little daredevil. Always trying new things with no thought of the danger. For his first birthday he got a wooden rocking horse and he immediately climbed up no it, stood on the seat and rocked as hard and as fast as he could!
He was a very creative child, making up games, and creating things out of paper. In preschool, his teacher pretty much gave him unlimited access to the cabinet with the tape so he could make whatever caught his fancy; scooters, chairs, toilets (yes, paper toilets). I never knew what project he would bring home from school. His teacher even had to force hi to play in other areas, like the blocks or kitchen area. Otherwise he would have done only art!
Sterling made up a new card game
He's always done very well in school and been near the top of his class. Although, there was a period of time in 3rd grade where he wouldn't do his homework and instead would hide it under his dresser. After we threatened to have him held back if he continued to do it, he decided he would rather do his homework.
After that period of time, he has always been very responsible in doing his school work without reminders or prodding from mom and dad. He enjoys school for the most part and prides himself on his good grades. In fact, he had straight A's in 5th grade when he finished elementary school.

Sterling in 5th grade with his kindergarten teacher
Sterling in kindergarten with his teacher, Mrs. B.

Our Cowboy
Sterling with his first grade teacher Mrs. K. He won an
award for best story and illustrations at the KTWU Writers and
Illustrators contest.
Sterling also likes music. He started off playing the violin for a couple years, then switched to playing the trumpet (like his awesome mom) in 5th grade. He had his first middle school band concert a few weeks ago and I was impressed with how well the band sounded, especially given that they were all 6th graders. He also is a pretty good dancer.
He is a very kind and loving big brother...when he wants to be. He does especially well with his much younger sister, brother and cousins. They seem to adore him and he adores them right back. He even shares a room with Eddie and since Eddie doesn't want to sleep alone, he sleeps in Sterling's bed with him too. At night, I can find them laying next to each other with headphones on listening to Sterling's "zusic".  
He is a good example to his younger brothers and sisters and has been a good big brother for them to look up to and follow his example. 

 At some point several years after he was born we realized that Sterling would have a very unique birthday to celebrate. Since he was born on 12/12/2000 he would get to turn 12 on 12/12/12! This year was that year and he decided to celebrate with some close friends. He had 10 friends come over to celebrate the twelve-fecta of birthdays. Several months in advance we had contact the news to let them know of this unique and unusual event and they agreed to come and cover his birthday. To make it even more special, Sterling decided to ask his friends to bring items to donate to Doorstep and Toys for Tots instead of gifts for him. Lauren Seabrook of Kansas First News came to our home to cover the event. Sterling did two live interviews at 5:30pm and 6:00pm which he did awesome on. Then they did a taped interview of Sterling, his friend Noah and I for the 10:00pm news. Here's the link to the 10pm news coverage and here's the newspaper article that appeared in the Topeka Capital Journal.

Overall, he had 12 tons of fun (Sorry, I couldn't resist!) on his very special birthday and we were so proud of him and his decision to donate gifts and food to charities instead of receiving things for himself. He is a very mature boy and tries very hard to make good choices.

We are also very proud of his choice to receive the Aaronic Priesthood. In our church, when a young man reaches the age of 12 he is able to receive the priesthood, as long as he is found worthy, and help in the passing of the sacrament (similar to communion) as well as other duties. This is a big responsibility for a 12 year old and helps them to prepare to take on more as they get older. It is a very serious commitment and we are proud that he has lived worthy and able to receive the priesthood and fulfill those obligations.  
We have been truly blessed with an amazing young man to be the oldest child and to lead the way for his younger siblings to follow. We love you so much Sterling!!


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Conversations to Remember

Me (to Kailyn and Eddie): Ugh. Sounds like your brothers are fighting again.
K: My sister is not fighting but Eddie's brothers are fighting.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Late AGAIN!!!!

At least this time I have the excuse that I'm working part time. You wouldn't know it but my kids' birthdays are on the same date each year, yet each year, I'm surprised when they come! They always sneak up on me and then it's Bam, Bam, Bam, right after another!! But back to the real reason I'm first, beautiful girl had her 10th birthday on November 29!

Once upon a time, there was a mommy, daddy and little boy who were anxiously awaiting the arrival of a new baby at the beginning of December. But this new little baby had other plans.

On November 29, 2002, the day after thanksgiving, Mommy and Daddy had put their little boy down to bed and Mommy decided to go lay down and try to sleep. It'd been a long day installing a new garage door and she needed to rest. After sleeping for about 1/2 hour she woke up and noticed she was having contractions. It was about 9:50pm and although the contractions weren't painful, she decided to go lay on the couch with daddy so he could time them. After a few contractions at about every 10 minutes there was a gush! Surprised, Mommy stood up with soaked sweat pants and said, "I think my water just broke!" to which Daddy replied, "Are you sure?" Mommy then explained that she didn't routinely wet her pants so she was pretty sure it was her water that broke.

At that point Daddy went to get little boy ready to go to a friend's house so they could go have the baby. Mommy was trying to call their friends but they weren't home (unbeknownst to Mommy and Daddy, their friends had gone out of town for thanksgiving) so she tried another friend from church. Contractions were coming about every 1-2 minutes and Mommy wondered what was taking Daddy so long to get little boy ready. Turns out he was folding little boy's clothes to put them in a back pack. Mommy told him to just throw them in so they could go...cause contractions REALLY HURT!!

They dropped little boy off and hurried to the hospital where they were put into a room in triage to be evaluated for labor. Daddy called grandma to come pick up little boy from their friends while the nurse asked some standard questions and checked Mommy who was dilated to about a 5. She then jokingly inquired whether Mommy had a history of 30 minute labors. Mommy laughed and said, "I wish!" Nurse decided to call IV therapy to start Mommy's IV since she had a history of being somewhat difficult to start an IV on. So she left the room. Maybe 10 minutes passed when Mommy said to Daddy, "I think I need to push!" The nurse walked back in just then and Mommy told her that. Nurse acted nonchalant and said, "Well, lets just check you then." Then Mommy saw the Nurse's face just fall as she exclaimed, "You're 9cm and fully effaced!!"

After that there was a MAD rush around the room as the nurses wheeled Mommy down the hall into a room. There were several people rushing around the room trying to get everything set up while the Nurse had Mommy get up and move to the Labor and Delivery bed (in the middle of a contraction). All the while saying, "Don't push! Don't push!"

As everyone rushed around the room another nurse tried to start an IV. The Doctor on call came in the room and was in the process of putting on her gown when Nurse yelled, "The head is out!...The baby's out!" And Emmy Verona Bidwell was born into this world. In the chaos that ensued no one had noted the exact time of her arrival so it was estimated that she made her appearance at 11:31pm. Although cell phone records would later show that a phone call was made to grandma to announce the safe arrival of her first granddaughter at around 11:15pm.

Emmy was about 1 1/2 weeks early so wasn't nearly as big as her 9lb big brother. She weighed in at 7lbs 11oz. She made her appearance earlier than was expected and has continued to be advanced in most everything she's done since.

She loves to read, write and draw. And she LOVES to do math. She consistently scores in the top of her age group in math and reading. in fact this year she scored in the 99% for all 4th graders nationally. In reading she was in the 96%. She is such a smart girl and loves to be challenged. She likes to push herself and see just how far she can go. She enjoys playing piano, running and playing soccer. This past spring she ran in a 1 mile race for her school and was the first girl in the school to finish! She is an amazing and talented young girl and I can't wait to see what she decides to do as she grows. Emmy is also an amazing big sister. Watching how she and Kailyn interact is really a joy to me. She has such a nurturing and caring personality. Someday she will make an incredible mom!!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Conversations to Remember

This morning while getting Kailyn dressed for school she told me this:
K: Mom, Emmy is a sister but she loves me lots and lots! She doesn't like to go away from me. She wants to be my favorite bestest!
Have I mentioned how much I adore my girls and their special sister bond? :-)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Conversations to Remember

Today, i had to get my blood drawn for some routine tests. On the way there this conversation occurred between me and Kailyn.

Me: I have to go get my blood taken. If you're good we'll go to CiCi's for lunch.
K: Are they going to cut you in half to get your blood?
Me: .....???

Not sure where that idea came from, but rest assured, they did not have to cut me in half to get my blood.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


 I am currently following a blog written by a mom who's 4 year old daughter recently died very unexpectedly. If you want a heart wrenching, cry-your-eyes-out read, this blog is it. Aside from the obvious grief and sorrow that a mom feels after losing her child, there is another aspect to her story that feels like a kick in the gut. There are other siblings and the mom talks often of how this horror has and is affecting them.

Today she posted about the older sister...and it just breaks my heart. Every time I read about the older sister I imagine my girls. My two, sweet, beautiful girls and how it would be if I were to lose one of them.
 It makes me more appreciative of their laughter and their smiles. It makes me want to hold them just a bit longer and cherish every moment I have with them, watching them.

I love the bond that my girls share. How they love to be together, how Emmy doesn't think of Kailyn as a pest to be tolerated, but as a unique and special treat to enjoy. I love how Emmy watches over her sister, takes care of her and loves her. She has a mother's heart when it comes to that girl. And I love how Kailyn looks up to and adores Emmy. I think these two were best friends long before they came to our family. And I can't imagine my life without that.
But this mom has to LIVE it!

What if that were all gone in an instant? How do you heal your child's heart when yours is torn to pieces? And how do you make it better when the only thing that can is beyond your power?

This mom's blog is heart rending; the pain and grief are so evident and raw as to be unbearable at times. But I understand that pain, to some extent, and I wish I could take a part of it on myself, because it's such a heavy burden to carry on your own. But it's not possible. Grief is something that you have to experience to get through it.

I look at my girls, my precious girls, and I think how lucky I am. I cry for this other mom, for the pain she's going through, for her daughter who's lost her best friend, for her other boys who lost their playmate and sister, and her husband who no longer can hold his baby girl. I wonder where God is in it and how He can watch their suffering and not give their little girl back? Even with all the peace and knowledge the Gospel brings, it doesn't make it easier to not have your child here with you. Your arms are still empty and your heart is still broken. But even as I wonder, I know He's there, carrying them even when they don't know it, because I have been there too. The feelings and thoughts she expresses, I've had and felt every one. And I'm surviving. Not a day goes by that I don't think of my son. In fact, I wear a ring that reminds me of him. It says, "I think of you all the time", and I do. But I know there's peace. It may take years in coming, but it's there, even when the answers aren't.


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Josiah's Baptism

In our church baptism doesn't take place until at least 8 years old. That is when the Lord has declared that we are accountable for our choices. Up to that point, we are innocent. We believe that before 8 years old a child is in a state of learning and as such can't be held accountable for their mistakes and sins. Just like a baby has 9 months of protection and growth inside the womb, these first 8 years of life are similar. It is a time to learn right from wrong and learn to recognize the Spirit. It wouldn't be just to hold an infant, toddler or small child guilty for actions done in ignorance of what is right or wrong. That is one of the reasons that we don't believe in infant baptism. The other is that we don't believe in original sin. To hold a child accountable for the actions of Adam and Eve, actions which they had no control over, would not be just. And God is just. We believe that we are each accountable for our own choices and no one elses.

When we are baptized we promise to follow the Lord, to keep His commandments, and to be an example to others of our Savior and His love. They are important and life long covenants and not to be entered into lightly. So, when Josiah decided that he wanted to be baptized we were so proud. On October 14, Josiah was baptized by his father, Robert. I am so proud of our son for making this big decision to follow the Savior's example. It is such an important choice to make; to choose to covenant with the Lord that you will follow Him and strive to be like Him. After baptism, he was confirmed a member of our church and given the gift of the Holy Ghost, to be with him always. This is one of the greatest gifts our Father gives to us. The Holy Ghost will be there as a comfort and a guide to us forever as long as we live worthy of his companionship and continually repent and strive to do better.

Joe's Uncle John talked of how after he was baptized he tried so hard to stay perfect, but teasing from his siblings made it hard. After a few hours he yelled at them, then felt so terrible that he had sinned. When he talked to my parents they explained that we would all make mistakes and sin in this life, but that because of the Lord's atonement we can be forgiven.

His Uncle Taylor also talked at Joe's baptism. He told about the Holy Ghost and how it will always guide and comfort Joe. How he needs to try hard to make good decisions so that he won't lose that gift.

Joe also asked his Grandma, Aunt Jordan, Aunt Clara, cousin Abbi and his sister, Emmy to sing, "If the Savior Stood Beside Me". It is probably my very favorite primary song. Here are the words:

If the Savior stood beside me, would I do the things I do?
Would I think of His commandments and try harder to be true?
Would I follow His example? Would I live more righteously,
If I could see the Savior standing nigh, watching over me?

If the Savior stood beside me, would I say the things I say?
Would my words be true and kind if He were never far away?
Would I try to share the gospel? Would I speak more reverently
If I could see the Savior standing nigh, watching over me?
He is always near me, though I do not see Him there
And because He loves me dearly, I am in His watchful care
So I'll be the kind of person that I know I'd like to be
If I could see the Savior standing nigh, watching over me.
I especially love the last verse as it reminds me that the Lord is always there, watching us and watching over us. LOVE it!!

There were lots of family and friends there to support and congratulate Joe on this milestone, like his Nana, his primary teacher, and friends from his church class. He is such an amazing boy and we are so glad to have him in our family. Keep choosing to follow our Savior, Joe, we are so proud of you!

Monday, October 22, 2012

What A Bunch of Sickos!

It's been an expensive year so far with all the kids' various medical expenses
and its not getting any better.
In September, Kailyn's preschool teacher was concerned about some things that she was doing in class, like staring off into space and not responding to them at times, or walking kind of weird and off balance. Although I suspected that these were just Kailyn-isms we decided to have an EEG done just to rule out seizures.
Little did I realize at that time that she would have to be sleep deprived...
which meant no more than 4 hours of sleep the night before! It was a looong night for us!
 It involved watching a few movies, a couple of bubble baths

Some yummy treats like cake and candy

And just a lot of vigilance to keep baby girl from falling asleep until about 2 am.
We made it and went to sleep but had to be up again at 6 am.
Mama and Kailyn were definitely sleep deprived!

At the Doctor's office Kailyn got rainbow colored "hair" which she was
a pretty good sport about, even if it took a little while to get it all in place.

She even got to admire herself in the mirror while they did it.

After that it was just a matter of waiting for her to fall asleep, which you would
think would be easy...not so much. Even with me in the bed with her she cried a little
said she was scared, it was too dark, etc. Finally, after about 30 minutes she gave in and slept.
Withing a week we got the results back and they were normal, as we expected.
In other health related news, we've also had the "luck" to have pneumonia
floating around our house.
It all started when Sterling came home sick after school one Thursday. Fever, nausea, headache, fatigue; blah! So I sent him to bed and waited to see how he felt the next day.
When he woke up he had a elevated temperature, but not a technical fever since it was only 99.6 or something, but I kept him home and sure enough his temp went up throughout the
day. This went on until Monday night when he said his chest and abdomen hurt.
So I took him into an urgent care clinic and the Dr. there checked him out
and said it was probably just viral and he'd be better in a day or so.
We waited a couple more days and I called our pediatrician who wanted him to
be seen by the Nurse Practitioner. She also checked him out, chest sounded clear,
ears were clear, throat was fine. So she ordered some blood work.
Apparently, Sterling doesn't do well with needles and blood work cause he almost passed out.
The plus side was that he got a lot of attention from the nurses. ;-) All the blood work came back normal though so we were still trying to figure out what was making him sick.
The next day he was still feeling awful, with no sign of improvement so even though
he'd been seen the day before I called the Dr again. He said that he did want to see Sterling
and check him out himself. So we went and Dr C. did a VERY thorough exam and asked a
bunch of questions. When he listened to his lungs he said that there was
a very slight wheeze, so he decided to order a chest xray just in case it was walking pneumonia.
He didn't really think it was, but he said he'd hate to miss it if it was.
So off to the hospital we went to get the xray. We'd   just left the hospital parking lot when we
got a call from our Dr saying they had the results of the xray and Sterling
did in fact have pneumonia! I was stunned! Sterling hadn't even really been coughing!
So Dr C put him on antibiotics and within a couple days he was back to normal. It was such a relief
to FINALLY know what was making him sick,
I wish the story ended there, but last week Emmy started to complain that she felt sick.
She did the same as Sterling starting off the day with an elevated temp that
got higher in the afternoon, but it never reached a fever until Thursday night. So
suspecting the same thing as Sterling I called our Dr again and they got Emmy in to see the
Nurse practitioner. Emmy had been coughing, unlike Sterling, and when she listened
to Emmy's lungs there was some crackling. So, pneumonia case #2 was diagnosed
and antibiotics were started.
Now she's back to feeling better, but Joe, is home sick today. He doesn't have a fever, though his temp is 99.1. So I guess I'll wait and see what develops. Either Joe is faking...or he may
be the next kid to come down with pneumonia.
Of course,on top of that, Kailyn and Eddie both threw up last night so I'll be waiting to
see if they're sick also.
Fun times! Try not to be jealous!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Another Belated Birthday

Have I mentioned how awful I am at getting posts up on time!! I'd say its because I'm a bad mom ,but the truth is its because I just don't have time...or maybe I'm a bad mom, whichever.

Regardless of the "why" I missed posting on Cori's birthday, so I'm catching up now.

Our little Cori-o was our first "surprise" baby. (Yes, we've had a few.) And the first time I suspected I was pregnant was when I changed one of Joe's poopie diapers and...gagged. Yep, that was the first sign that something was up. And since then, Cori has been a boy full of surprises!

He came into our family on October 11, 2005 at 9:54 am weighing 8lbs 1oz and 21 inches long. He came after having contractions all night long and after us waking up our friends at like 5 am to drop off the other 3 kiddos so we could head up to the hospital. I had no pain meds and no pitocin just like the two kiddos before him. It was amazing to finally meet the little man and we've loved him ever since.

He has always been very happy and loves to be silly, always trying to make those around him laugh. Its surprising how cute this boy could be even when he was so young.

And this look...yeah, he still does it. It's the "I'm gonna do something that you probably don't want me to but what are you gonna do about it since I'm so cute" look.

And those big blue eyes...It's surprising how even his teachers at school 
comment on how he can cause trouble then look at you with those eyes
 and you almost forget. Yeah, they're beautiful. :-)

This boy, whose had a fascination with ropes, strings, keys and various other items for as long as I remember. In fact for a year or so there was a green piece of string that he'd carry with him EVERYWHERE!! And if he lost the GREEN Aunt Clara and Uncle John's house then you'd better spend an hour looking for it cause no other string was going to do. Yeah, that kind of string. And he'd put a belt or rope draped around his neck and walk around the house often carrying a small blue purse stuffed with keys, string, cars, counting bears and anything else he could shove in there. It always surprised us what we'd find in there. 

He also surprised us by going from a dark blond an almost black haired little boy!
No other kid in the family has hair that dark. And I LOVE it!! 

He also like to surprise the cat with "rides" on his sit and spin. 
Which you can read all about HERE

He surprised us by learning to ride his bike without training wheels at the youngest age of any of our kids so far. I think he was 4. And when he got his new bike, he was thrilled! 

He is the kids that can torment and tease his sibling mercilessly, but he adores them all the same. He loves to help out with the little kids and his younger cousins. He has a heart of gold. 
He has been a boy that has surprised us with all the tests and trials he can put us though, but he also surprises me with the depth of his love for his family and friends and his fierce desire to do whats right. We are so proud of our son and grateful that the Lord sent him to our family!

HAPPY belated 7th BIRTHDAY CORI!! 

Robert Allen