Friday, July 6, 2012

Mabel Dance Recital May 2012

Ever since Emmeline had her dance recital last year (2011), all Mabel has wanted to do is dance in her own recital. Mabel loves fancy, pretty things. She was excited about the beautiful costume, make up and flowers (maybe even more so then the dancing itself.) Well after a year of waiting, she finally got to participate in her own recital on May 19. She looked beautiful and she did a great job. Here are some videos of her ballet and tap dances. These were actually filmed at the dress rehearsal and neither are quite as good as they were at the actually recital, but you get the idea. Also, Mabel participated with Brett in the daddy/daughter dance. This year they danced to "My Girl" and it was so sweet. Besides the bouquet of flowers I got for Mabel after the recital, the daddy/daughter dance was definitely the highlight for her. She loved everything about it including the special extra practices they had together. One night Brett even took her out for ice cream after the practice. :) The daddy/daughter video is horrible and shaky. I wasn't in a good place for filming. Also, Mabes and Brett are in the back and there are moments when you cant see Mabel. But it is still sweet and you get an idea of the overall feeling of the dance. I didnt take any video of Em and Bretts dance and I have regretted it ever since. So even though it is not great, I have included the daddy/daughter dance video here.

Mabes pants are a little to long in her tap dance and she keeps pulling them up. oops. But yeah, it doesnt get much cuter then this!!  :)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Happy 4th of July 2012

We had a great 4th of July this year. Our ward had a flag raising ceremony followed by a children's bike parade and pancake breakfast in the morning. It was very great to watch the flag raise and say the pledge of allegiance with a large group of people. I haven't done that for a really long time but it does provoke very powerful emotions. Despite the uncertainty and divisions within this great country, I still feel blessed to live here and enjoy the freedoms that exist. I feel privileged to be a citizen of the United States of America and reciting the pledge helped me remember that. 

We currently don't have any bikes or scooters. These are things we will be getting but with the apartment living and moving. . .we currently don't have any. The girls still wanted to participate in the parade so I helped them decorate the double stroller. Emmeline called it "The Float." Brett and Emmeline pushed the float with Mabel and Maddie onboard. They were very cute.

This is our first picture with all 6 of us. :)
While we were at the picnic, some new friends invited us over to their house for a bbq. They had invited several other families as well and we had a good time swimming, getting to know some new people, and of course eating great food. You just can't not have a bbq on Independence Day. :) They also gave us some insider tips on watching the city fireworks. They told us the Stake center is just down the street from the high school (where they launch the fireworks). Not only will you get a great seat but if you park on a certain side road you will miss most of the after firework traffic. We tried it out and they were right. The stake center was an awesome place to see the fireworks. There was a huge grassy area for families to sit and many people were playing frisbee and tossing around balls. Plus many of the kids had glow sticks and other glow toys. They were all playing together and comparing. There was just a great feeling of community. The fireworks were nice with a pretty long show. The only negative for me was that there was no music to go along with the fireworks. (In Birmingham there was a musical score created and timed specifically for the fireworks show which was aired on a certain station. You just cranked up your radio and enjoyed. It was awesome!!) But I'm thinking I'll bring my own little patriotic mix next year to play from my iPod. :)

Happy 4th of July. God bless America!!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Emmeline Kindergarten Graduation 2012

Emmeline graduated from Kindergarten on May 31. She had a great year and loved learning and meeting new friends. During the last week of school all the families got to come to a special awards ceremony. Emmeline received several participation awards. I am very proud of her achievements. Here is a video of her class singing "Mr. Sun" during the awards ceremony. Emmeline is on the second row in the middle. . .with the braids. :)

Monday, July 2, 2012

Mabel-7 days in the week

This is Mabel and her preschool class singing a song they learned for their preschool graduation. 

Homemade Preschool: Review from last year

Last year (2011-2012) I had a friend who set up and organized a rotating preschool for our 4/5 year olds. The classes were on Tuesday and Thursday from 9 - 11:30. For the first semester (September - December) we rotated houses every week then for the second semester (January - May) we switched every two weeks. I personally preferred rotating every two weeks. This preschool was so good for Mabel. Before preschool, she didn't play well with others. She wasn't mean or even particularly shy, she just didn't seem to think she needed other friends who weren't Emmeline. Emmeline is sooo social. She is always trying to make new friends and she brings Mabel along with her. Through preschool though, Mabel learned that its fun to have other friends and Emmeline doesn't always have to be with her for her to be able to play and have a good time.

Brush those teeth
National Pizza Day
We did purchase the Funshine Preschool curriculum. It was helpful to have pre cut craft materials and a handful of ideas. (However, I wouldn't mind just doing my own next time. . . there were some things I didn't like about the curriculum we got) It was really fun to see the different activities the teachers planned for the kids. Mabel would always come home with neat art projects and tales of great activities and snacks. A few of the themes I got to teach about were Dinosaurs, Teeth, Healthy Bodies, the Arctic, Pizza, Patriotism (presidents day) and Teddy Bears.

I also seemed to get a lot of holidays (which is the way I like it), so we had a Halloween party and a Valentine's Day party at my house, complete with chocolate fountain. mmmmmmmmm.

A few of my favorite activities were:
*I cut out a bunch of different shapes from poster boards and I hid them in the rocks at our little playground. I had the kids come out and "dig" for the "dinosaur bones." After they found all the shapes, the kids got to put them together in the shape of a dinosaur.
*When we talked about arctic animals, I had them put their hands in a bowl of ice. Afterwards I had them put their hands into a lard glove I made using two ziplock bags and some shortening. Then they put their hands back in the ice. They couldn't even feel the cold. It was pretty awesome.
*My favorite things to have the kids do every day were dance to music, put together puzzles, and listen to read aloud stories. 

We also had a couple of really neat field trips. We went to the fire station and the grocery store. At Kroger (the grocery store), the kids got to see a live lobster and go back in the cold rooms filled with dairy products. Plus they gave them a ton of treats. . .cookies, oranges, crayons, and popcorn. It was really fun.


At the end of the year we had a preschool graduation party for the kids. It was very cute and Mabel was so excited to be the center of attention and have this party. She really loved preschool. Some mornings she would get dressed and have her backpack on before I even got up and going. It was neat to see her develop friendships, have a fun time and be inspired to love learning new things.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Elena Belle Pickett

On May 4, 2012, Elena Belle Pickett was born. She weighed 9 lbs 9 ounces and she was about 21 inches long.

Her delivery was pretty smooth and without much incident although there were several differences from her birth then that of her sisters. First of all, she was born in Flower Mound Texas, the first of my children to not be born in Birmingham, Alabama. Elena was born at Flower Mound Presbyterian Hospital.  I was originally scheduled to be induced on May 2, but my doctor asked to change it to the 4th so she could go to some conference. I was not really thrilled since I was more than ready to have Elena out and my mom was flying in on the 2nd. It turned out okay. I was able to have a day with my mom before Elena came and that was nice. Plus she was already there to watch my other munchkins while I was in the hospital.

Anyhow, I was scheduled to be at the hospital at 7 am to start the induction. I had a fairly restless sleep on the 3rd, and at 5:30am my water broke. I had never had my water break at home before, it's always been broken by the doctor in the hospital. So this was a new experience. I liked it way better breaking on its own. I was able to run to the bathroom and get it all taken care of without causing to much of a mess (unlike at the hospital).  I was also able to take it easy for the next hour. I had some hot chocolate and Brett and I got everything gathered together to get to the hospital. I didn't realize it at the time. . .but I started labor and began having contractions. That made everything go faster at the hospital than with my other kids.

When I got to the hospital and got all signed in and hooked up, the nurse told me I was having a contraction and asked if I could feel it. I couldn't. I really didn't start feeling them until the pitocen was going strong--they started the pitocen at about 8ish. For the record, I did pass out when they put my IV in but this nurse wrapped it up so well I was still able to use my left arm a little. She was an awesome, very understanding nurse.

The weirdest part of the labor was that they weren't giving out demerol because of some nationwide shortage. When I asked for something to help "take the edge off" they asked if they could give me something different instead.  I don't remember what they gave me, but I remember getting really dizzy. They gave me the drug at about 9:40ish and I had to lay down until after Elena was born at 10:30. It made my thoughts really sluggish. I would try to ask Brett for something and I had to think about it for a long time before I could actually say it. That was really frustrating. (Luckily I didn't need much, just the occasional ice chip or for him to tell me when my contraction was at its peak. For some reason that really helped me breath through it.) Luckily the drug wore off when I started pushing. . .or my adrenaline overpowered it so much that I didn't feel its weird effects anymore. Anyway, the nurse didn't stay with us in the room during this labor (at UAB, a nurse was in the room with us pretty much for the entire time.) and she told Brett to come and get her when I felt like pushing. At about 10:20ish I felt like pushing. Brett went and got the nurse who checked me out and started getting me ready. She called for the doctor and team of L/D nurses. My doctor was involved with a life and death operation of another patient so another doctor was able to come up and help out. After about 5 good pushes, Elena came out and into the world.

I was happy that Elena came before noon because fairly soon after the labor they brought me (and Brett) lunch and it was delicious!! After a few hours (during which they were cleaning up Elena and making sure I was all good to go) they took out my IV (another difference from UAB where they left it in for at least 24 more hours) and shipped me over to the recovery room. The recovery was very comfortable. They not only brought a plate of food for me at each meal but also one for Brett. It was really nice that he didn't have to go home or out to pick up some food. He could just rest in the room with Elena and me.  They also had a snack room which the patients could help themselves to. Once I learned about this. . .I drank my fill of juice and milk and ate lots of applesauce and pudding. :)

That afternoon my mom brought Emmeline, Mabel and Madelyn to the hospital to visit. They were SO excited to meet Elena. They each took a quick turn holding her and we visited for awhile. . .but then I was ready for them to go. 15 minutes with them there and I was worn out. Man can those kids talk and wiggle. (I sure love them though).

I was all ready to go home the next evening. Yes, they let me out the next day. They would have let me stay one more night, but Elena was given the all clear and I was ready to be home. This was something else very different than each of my 3 previous deliveries. Because of blood incompatibility issues, my first 3 daughters each had super high billiruben. Enough that they were in the "danger" zone and had to be placed on light beds and stay in the hospital for a night longer than me. Elena, however, I guess was more compatible with me and she didn't have any problems. It was so nice to not have to worry in the hospital and to be able to take my baby home when I left.

Before we left, the hospital made a special "celebration" dinner for us. They rolled in a table with a tablecloth, served a special menu (chicken cordon bleu, steak, or salmon), and brought lots of cake. It was kinda fun and I think a highlight for the girls.

I was a little scared to try a new hospital but it turned out great and I am so happy to have another healthy, beautiful baby girl in my family.


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Return to Blog

I notice that my last post was a year ago. Almost to the day. . .plus a couple of weeks. One might assume that this means nothing of import happened to my family this past year. One would be wrong in this assumption. This past year has not only been filled with many fun adventures and new experiences, it has also been a life changer for my family. The last time I wrote, back in June 2011, I had three beautiful daughters, Brett was involved in a Post-Doc at UT South Western, and I lived in a cozy apartment in Flower Mound Texas. Today as I write, in June 2012, I have FOUR beautiful daughters, Brett is done with "school" and has a "real" job at J. Craig Venter Institute in San Diego, and I live in a cozy apartment in Poway California.

I have a list of excuses for why I stopped blogging last year but those excuses are all gone and it is time that I start recording some of our family adventures again. Hopefully, I'll even get a chance to back track and record some of the big things that happened to us last year. :) So here we are -- back to the blog!!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Last Day of School

On June 9th Emmeline had her last day of school. She had such a great year in pre-school. We were so blessed to be able to get into the public preschool program. She made a lot of friends, had a lot of fun and had a great start towards learning to love education. I am really proud of her and all her accomplishments so far. And I cant believe how fast my little girl is growing!!

First Day of School

Last Day of School

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Birthday Review

Brett and I had a couple of great birthdays. The celebrations started on the 5th. We invited our gaming friends over to hang out with us after the girls went to bed. We watched the Mavs game (which they lost) then Brett blew out the candles of his Boston Creme Pie. That is his usual birthday cake request. We also played a fun board game, Rail Baron, and Brett won. So that was good. I had fun watching Brett blow out all 30 of his candles.

Then on June 6th, Bretts actual birthday, the girls and I set up all 30 of his birthday posters and made 30 cake balls. The girls also had fun wrapping the presents they picked out for Brett at the dollar store.

When Brett got home he saw his posters and I think he liked them. Brett also unwrapped his presents (a Cars washrag from Mabel, a toy dart gun from Emmeline and a fire wallet from me) we went to a Mexican restaurant that we have been wanting to try. It was pretty delicious. We had a fun night.

Then on the 7th it was my birthday. The girls and I took it easy in the morning. Brett came home from work early and after dropping the girls off at a babysitter we went to see X-Men First Class. I thought the movie was AWESOME! For dinner we had some yummy Panda Express and played some Mario Party as a family before the girls went to bed. Then Brett and I watched the Mavs game and yeah. . . they won!! Happy Birthday to me :). Brett and the girls also got me some beautiful flowers.

The next day some of my girlfriends took me to Chick fil a for lunch. mmmmmmmmmm.

We had a wonderful birthday time and both Brett and I really appreciate all of the calls and facebook/email birthday wishes from so many of our family and friends. Thanks for making our birthdays so special!!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Happy Birthday Brett!!

Happy Birthday Brett!!

You've had a birthday shout HOORAY!! We want to sing to you today! One year older and wiser too. Happy Birthday--to YOU!!

I love you honey!!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Return of the Tooth Fairy

Last week, on June 1st, Emmeline lost her first tooth and it was very exciting. Well tonight imagine my surprise when she runs out of bed (again. . .it was after she went to bed) yelling, "I lost another tooth!!" Man, at this rate she wont have any left!! But the tooth fairy came again and left another dollar. Emmeline was thrilled!