Thursday, August 31, 2006

Why I Get Up in the Morning

If there were words for the discomfort I am feeling today....ugh!...I'm sure you know what I am talking about if you've had a baby. Let me just say, all instincts tell me to stay in the bed or the tub and ride it out, but these two sunshines get me up everyday, and life goes on.Daddy took this photo of the girls when we stopped by the office today.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

This Should Cheer ANYBODY Up...

Something changed overnight--the left hip pain has pretty much faded and shifted squarely in the center of my pelvic floor. I am guessing this is engagement. There has also been a hormonal shift in which all of my senses are heightened to almost unbearable levels. Everything stinks, everything tastes gross, everything grates on my last nerve...I am trying not to react to the sensory feedback, but it is definitely making me grumpy! However, I downloaded these pictures from Monday night's dinner and they made me laugh, even in my grumpy state. Heidi putting on geek glasses
Heidi wearing geek glasses
Heidi posing with arugula on her eye
Addie pouting because we made her eat her Taco Salad.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Good News

Okay, I have no good news from the doctor--my regular doctor was not there and the one I saw wouldn't even check me (even thought the nurse said there was blood in my urine, which means my cervix is "doing something"), and she called another doctor and they decided to change my scheduled induction to 38-1/2 weeks since my non-stress tests have been so good. So now they set it for the 7th or 8th. Which of course made me cry like a little baby. I was so embarassed, I made Rich go pick up the girls from the sitter's house so I could come home and cry in my pillow. I always feel stupid when I cry about things that are obviously out of my control.

But I did come home to the fine news that Warren Jeffs has been arrested without incident in Nevada (read all about it here). My friend Tara is a social worker in Colorado City and has to help all those poor polygamist kids, so she was especially excited to share the news.

So I am done crying for now. I have hatched a plan to have this baby ASAP...it's all up to me and the kid now. :)

PS: CLICK HERE TO SEE THE TINY PRINCESS!!!!

Monday, August 28, 2006

HOORAY!

This here is my Cousin Maren & her husband Matt.
They are darling.

Today they had their first baby,

a (most certainly) beautiful daughter named Morgan.

Congratulations, Allreds! We Love You!!!

(Congratulations to proud Grandma & Grandpa, Aunt Marti & Uncle Ralph, too!!! Yep, that's the same Aunt Marti who got smashed by a horse in May and stood up for the first time this week! What a GREAT WEEK!!!!)

Manic Monday

First of all, I am still pregnant. Nothing exciting happened over the weekend, in spite of my trying every labor-inducing home remedy out there, short of castor oil (I have a hyper-sensitive digestive system--no thanks). I have had irregular contractions all weekend and a horrible sacro-illiac pain that has kept me up since 4am. But I'm good.

I can't believe this week is already here. But then again, I can...we've been waiting for it forever! I have a check up tomorrow, which will hopefully produce some promising results (maybe she'll feel sorry for me and break my water--??--we can hope). Then on Friday, my mom flies into Billings from St. Louis (hopefully I will be able to pick her up!). That same night, my sister Jill and her family, my brother Willy and his family, and my sister Laura and her family, plus my cousin Brent and my Dad Post will arrive. Willy is going to baptize his daughter, Melanie, in the Yellowstone River on Saturday morning, and then we are all gonna hang out for the weekend. Part of me is hoping I have the baby before they all get here, and ALL of me is hoping that NOTHING happens while the company is here. If I don't have the baby tomorrow, it just has to wait for next week's induction! :)

Anyway...all is quiet over here. I'll go in for my non-stress test tonight, doctor tomorrow, and be back with an update. For now, it's time to bake the enchiladas! Happy Family Night, all yall!

Friday, August 25, 2006

The Week in Review

I haven’t actually **written** anything for a week, although it has been pretty eventful (hence, little time for blogging). Last Friday evening, Rich and the girls ventured over to West Boulder campground (in the Absaroka-Beartooth mountain range about 45 minutes away, right behind Tom Brokaw’s ranch) for the Ward Campout. Rich (as EQP) was in charge of the breakfast in the morning. I stayed home for obvious reasons, and had a quiet little slumber party.

I went to the store and bought some organizing stuff and some candy bars, and spent the evening watching house-flipping or design shows while I finished up more Christmas gifts and ate some chocolate. I felt—questionable—all weekend. Kinda nauseated and headachey, tired, but pressing forward with all the little chores that need to be done around Casa Melin. I took 2 boxes of old clothes and shoes to the consignment store and made another box for the Relief Society give-away table. I cleaned up some more in Heidi’s former bedroom and made up the crib (although the baby won’t be sleeping on it for a few months—we’ll have the bassinet in our room). I finished laundry, cleaned kitchen, made lunch and a batch of cookies. When my campers came home around noon on Saturday, I fed them and all 4 of us crashed! We had nice long naps, then finished up some other chores and got ready for Sunday. That was the night the baby went crazy and my belly kept morphing into all these crazy shapes. The hyper-activity continued on Sunday, with my belly shifting violently to the left and back again throughout our church meetings. By then, though, I was getting more uncomfortable. I think the baby was kind of “burrowing” because each day I was feeling more and more downward pressure.

On Monday we had a sort of normal day, but by evening discomfort had turned to pain and the pain was making me nauseated. I couldn’t eat dinner and I rested on my bed for a few hours, til Rich came to bed and noticed that I was really not doing very well. As we chatted, I decided to go to the hospital and just SEE if this was early labor. I mean, I know this is my third baby, but I never really had contractions or anything with the girls. Rich offered to take me and have his mom come stay with the girls, but I knew they’d send me home in a while, so I drove myself over to the hospital. I cried a little bit on the way because (a) I felt terrible and knew it could last another week or two, and (b) I felt stupid. The admissions lady and the nurses just assumed I was there for a non-stress test and checked me in. I told them how I’d been feeling and they taught me how to recognize contractions and count them. The nurse said they were medium contractions, as far as strength goes, but they were consistent and making progress. She said I would feel them stronger and more often over the coming week or two, and I could come back if they got too painful or closer than every five minutes. The baby performed well on his part of the test and we were done in a little over an hour. They sent me home to take a nice warm bath and I slept pretty well that night.

Tuesday morning I went to my regular OB appointment, and later I saw the chiropractor, too (that made the headaches stop , thank heaven!). I am dilated to 4cm and 60% effaced. For me, that’s normal at 36 weeks, but the doctor took some birth-plan-type notes just in case the baby decided to crank it up and bust outta there. Since I need Group B Strep antibiotics, we decided to follow the same route as we did with Heidi and plan an induction during week 38. I voted for September 5th or 6th, so we’ll see next Tuesday which doctors are on duty which days and go from there. So there is a light at the end of this tunnel, and I will either have the baby this week or next week. I hope all goes well. It’s a fine line you walk during pregnancy. There are all these little milestones you pass where you feel a little safer, a little more sure you’ve got a healthy baby, but you never stop worrying, even just a little, until they are safe and screaming and pink in your arms (and then all the other worries begin!). It was great to hear a heartbeat at 10 weeks; it was great to see a healthy baby on the ultrasound at 20 weeks; it was great to pass 35 weeks and know I was close to “full-term” and could deliver here at our tiny hospital. But I know birth is a tough experience on a baby and a mother. I hope it all goes as smoothly as Heidi’s delivery. The thing I look forward to most is introducing the baby to the girls! It’s going to be so great!

So we have been busy wrapping up tiny details, stocking up, organizing and reorganizing, trying to clean up for my mom’s visit (9/1-9/9—she hasn’t seen our house yet). I even packed my hospital bag today and got a haircut and highlights (don’t want to scare the baby with my roots!). It’s a fun time here—everyone is excited, I am excited and a little nervous, so anxious to meet this little acrobat who’s been flipping around in my belly the past few months. It’s the most amazing thing to watch as another personality is added to the family mix. Everything changes, mostly for the better. I have been watching Addie and Heidi with a closer eye, observing how we all interact and pondering how much they have changed my life (and each other’s). Mostly I wonder how I ever lived without them, what a void there would be if I lost them, and what this new little person will bring to the table and teach us.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Sweet Dreams...

...This is what I woke up to, snuggled up next to me on Tuesday morning about 5 am...awwww! Sweet Little Heidi!

I forgot to post this earlier, and I forgot to say:
HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my sis-in-law (wife of Will, mom of Melanie, Liam, Spencer, & #4)-- Audrey! Welcome to your THIRTIES!

The Dreaded Belly Photos

Ever since I was pregnant with Addie, Rich has wanted to take pictures of my prego belly. I refused--especially now that my stretch marks have grown to hideous proportions. But the other night, the baby was doing some seriously freaky gymnastics and I had to lay down, so Rich took advantage of my disability and snapped these photos. I kinda feel weird about them, but it was a fun little family night. The girls had just taken baths and they gathered round the belly to hug and sing songs to the baby.The Belly (notice it's a different shape in each photo--hyper baby!)
Addie hugging her "baby brother "
Heidi was singing "Itsy-Bitsy Spider" to the baby...
...and Addie keot waiting for the baby to talk back!

Retro: Circus in Livingston

The circus came on August 10th...Daddy took off early to take his girls along with the Gray cousins. Here are the trapeze people...
Heidi, Addie, and Cousin Danny Gray
Cotton Candy, anyone?
Addie with her treats
Trick circus elephant

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Little Update

My mom called today "to see if Heidi is still alive" after yesterday's nail polish incident. Luckily the polish came out, thanks to google and these instructions. And also luckily, I was too tired to beat my children yesterday (because I promise they deserved some kinda whoopin' after all the naughty things they did --the nail polish was just the first of a long list of misdemeanors). So, yes, we have all recovered, and yes, the carpet looks fine.

I also had my second non-stress test at the hospital (a welcome break from the chaos at home). I asked the nurse if I could stay til I have the baby. She said they would love to keep me, but it might get a little pricey. That's for sure--maybe somebody at the Econolodge would fluff my pillows and bring me ice water and toast for the next few weeks--it would cost about 95% less than staying at the hospital. Just kidding. I miss my kids even after a 2-hour playdate; three weeks away wouldn't work!

Today we talked about names a little bit. The family is divided into two factions as far as Baby Bay Names go: Heidi and I are all for James and Addie and Daddy still want Ole. Daddy is not totally against James and he admits, "Well, I get the middle and last names..." but would still love an Ole. I love the name Ole, too, but I have noticed in the three years we have talked/written about the name, there hasn't been a single person who read it our spelled it right. And that's just not a curse you want to place on your only son, no matter how cute and Swedish the name is.

Tonight when we talked about it, I sang the "Sweet Baby James" (by James Taylor) song to the girls, convincing them that baby brother could have his own song.

There is a young cowboy who lives on the range
His horse and his cattle are his only companions
He works in the saddle and he sleeps in the canyons
Waiting for Summer, his pastures to change
And as the moon rises he sits by his fire
Thinking about women and [yummy root] beer
And closing his eyes as the dogies retire
He sings out a song which is soft but it's clear
As if maybe someone could hear
Goodnight you moonlight ladies
Rockabye Sweet Baby James
Deep greens and blues are the colors I choose
Won't you let me go down in my dreams
And rockabye sweet baby James


Heidi started to chant "BA-BY JAMES! BA-BY JAMES!" to which Addie responded with the chant "I HATE JAMES! WE WANT OLE! I HATE JAMES! WE WANT OLE!" Crazy kids. Maybe we will have to give the baby three names--he is, afterall, the ONLY boy (if he's a boy at all). In Rich's family, the first son always gets the Dad's name for a middle name, so he will be James Richard Melin--good, solid English name. Or we could throw in Ole for good measure--James Ole Richard Melin--and Dad could still call him Ole. Or JR. Or Jorm. Or anything but Jim (sorry dads--it's JAMES!). Of course, if baby tricks us and turns out to be a girl, it's still Josephine Elrey or Josephine Mae, and she will be called Josie. Then again, we may get a look at the kid and think of something totally different, but this is where we are right now.

PS: Totally unrelated and irrelevant note-- I hate Hildi Santo-Tomas on Trading Spaces. She is so lucky to have that gig because in REAL life, a good designer is one who listenes to and pleases her clients and makes their space more liveable and enjoyable. Good designers do not take pride in making home owners cry. Also, I followed that lame MTV show The Hills this summer (gimme a break, I'm on bedrest) , and may I just say that the finale was the stupidest thing I have ever seen on TV and just about the worst message to send to young women. Summary: the main character gets offered a summer internship in Paris with Teen Vogue (she is a fashion student & aspiring designer) and she passes it up to stay & spend the summer in a Malibu beach house with her Coke-head, self-centered boyfriend. Um...yeah, that's realistic. Maybe for a girl who doesn't need to put her career and education first because her dad is loaded and dumps money on her. But really, SO LAME.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Whiny Wednesday

I can only walk if I keep my knees together. My left leg feels like it's gonna fall off everytime I take a step because I think there is a little head or shoulder burrowing into its nerve in my hip. Eating is (again) a chore, and don't get me started on cooking. Oh the heartburn and the rumbly digestion! So goes the end of a pregnancy.

But I am fine. My mother-in-law/Fairy Godmother came over this morning to help get the girls dressed and she even cleaned 500-sf of wood floors! That was sooo nice. Sadly, the pleasure was spoiled when Grandma left and Heidi dumped significant amounts of dark ("Mocha") nail polish on our 1-year-old carpet. I am still sobbing.

I neglected to mention that yesterday was my mom's birthday. We called and sang to her and sent her a really cool tag book. Love you, mom!

More later...

Monday, August 14, 2006

Sum-Sum-Summertime!

I just got these great photos from my brother and I hope he doesn't mind if I post them on my blog. He took his 5-year-old son, Liam, on his first backpacking trip. The pictures are adorable (and Liam is like the quintessential little boy--like, if I were going to just create myself a son, he'd be just like Liam). Liam Fishing
Liam with his pack on
Liam's Dad, Willy, with a pretty nice lake behind him.

As for us, we spent the weekend mostly indoors working on the house (it was a good weekend to di it, since it rained most of Saturday, thank heaven!). Lucky for me, my dear Husband has caught the nesting bug, too, and he helped me all day Saturday getting things shifted around and organized in our house. It was like a complex puzzle to get the girls moved into the same room, to get their toys and clothes organized, and to pull out all the baby stuff, too. But we did it. Now I just need to do the minute organizing and cleaning.

Rich also built these fantastic canned food racks for our storage room, which hold about 16 cans per slot, and automatically rotate your storage. Right now we have about 20 slots and we have yet to fill all of them. They are space-saving, efficient, and they make food storage (at least the canned part) a no-brainer (perfect for me). After watching all the craziness happen this past year, and considering that the price of just about everything is skyrocketing because of oil, I feel especially glad that we built that little room (and that Rich saved scrapwood from the build to make the racks--if we'd had to buy wood now, it would have been so expensive! I am so glad I married an Ant instead of a Grasshopper).

All of that aside, I am trying to think of a good "last hurrah" for summer for our family. I can't do much with this baby bearing down, but before we know it, leaves will be falling (and, truth be told, auntumn if my favorite and my best!). Maybe floating the river on Labor Day weekend will have to be it. We shall see. Meanwhile, we're living vicariously through Will & Liam's Big Adventure!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Healthy Check-Ups

Addie & Heidi show off their "shot-spots." I am way behind on their immunizations, but we got them caught up on Tuesday at their check-ups with Dr. O'Hara. Addie is 45" tall and 48 pounds (95th percentile for H&W), and Heidi is 37" tall and 33 pounds (also 95%). They have great motor skills and "excellent"/ "advanced" verbal & cognitive skills. The doctor has a boy Heidi's age, so she was especially blown away by Heidi's constant talking and singing. I guess I'm just used to it...looking forward to having a quiet boy (maybe??).
Here's some sisterly love!
I also had a check up on Tuesday. I still weight the same, in spite of eating like crazy this past week (sooo hungry). My BP was 132/77--just fine--and I started non-stress tests at the hospital last night. The baby's heart rate and movement were so good, the test only took about 20 minutes, and I had 2 contractions in those 20 minutes. Head's down, heart is steady, and everything looks good. Now we just let the baby's lungs develop and get some meat on his bones, while my body does its thing for the next few weeks. Then we get this party started...

Christmas in July

I have to thank my Sister-in-Neuroses, cmhl, for posting THIS the other day. Even though I am having a baby soon and babies tend to not care so much about your Holiday preparation schedule, I couldn't resist reading up and printing out the Holiday Grand Plan calendars, if only as a loose guide to getting myself together for the holidays (even while nursing and sleeping in three-hour stretches!).

Last month when The Crazies died down and I started my "resting," I also started Christmas. Well, actually, I start Christmas 2006 around New Years 2006 at the after-Christmas sales. I can do this because both our families are so cool, they have a family gift exchange that's on a rotation, so you always know who you have which year. Families give to families, so we start buying a few things for each of our exchange people right after Christmas and keep on buying/making gifties all year long. It has gotten to the point where I hardly have to go out in the crazy holiday rush unless I actually WANT to. Plus, this year, the Melins are having "Homemade Christmas" gift exchange, which means for me, the craftily-challenged, starting WAY early. CMHL wanted me to post some of my little projects, so at the risk of ruining some surprises, I am posting some of the things I have been making. Keep in mind that I am terribly allergic to following patterns and directions, so all of this stuff was either totally made up by me, or lifted from something I have seen at a craft store or gift shop! It's not the most skillful rendering, but it comes right from my heart and imagination. :)
I like embroidering favorite lyrics or quotes onto muslin and making pillows/ runners/ wall hangings out of them. Although my house has very little country-feel to it, I love to decorate for the holidays with such homey, handmade stuff. I hope my friends and family do, too, cuz that's what they're getting! These little bits are going to be small pillows. They say "Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room," one of my favorite lyrics form "Joy to the World." I might make a similar runner for my table, too (Merry Christmas to me).
I know it seems weird to give a Thanksgiving decoration for Christmas, but when you are just setting up house, you need decor for every holiday, which is why my sisters-in-law will be getting not just Christmas decorations, but Thanksgiving and Easter as well! I am making both runners and pillows from this pattern...and aren't the fabrics great!?? I bought them for 80% off last year when our Ben Franklin closed.
This is a tag book. My step mom gave me one for Christmas last year and I loved it so much, I figured out how to make them for other people...
The book has 12 accordion-folding panels (6 on each side) with pockets that hold little tags. I decorate the pockets and tags for each month of the year. Then you can use the book as either a date book, where you jot down birthdays and anniversaries on the tags, or as a mini-scrapbook for the year. You just crop your favorite photo from each month, paste it on the tag, and write the caption on the back of the tag. These are great baby gifts because the mommy can record the baby's first year on the tags, with a photo and notes about height, weight, development, etc....good stuff. It's a great way to use everylast scrap of your favorite papers and ribbons.
I am also making tiny "quiet books" for my nieces and nephews (for church) with pictures of family and fun things we did this year, and some scripture stories, too. I also made a book of 35 Family Night lessons/ stories with accompanying games or activities (with that great laminator I got for Christmas last year)--they turned out great, although I still have a few lessons to laminate. Rich is doing some beautiful photography, too, but that's all I am gonna say about that!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

By the Way

I have been meaning to say this for a while... some people read my blog and don't leave comments (LURKERS). That's okay, but maybe some people (Hi, Grampa!) don't know how.

At the bottom of every post, it says something like, "Posted by Jamie at something-0'clock---Comments." If you click on the word "comments", it will show you the comments along with a window where you can type your own comment. I allow anonymous comments (from non-bloggers), so just write your comment (maybe include your name in there) and click anonymous, then type in the silly word verification (so I don't get spam comments), and voila! Not only does your comment appear in the comments section on the blog, it comes to my email box as a little note.

And I like little notes.

Friday, August 04, 2006

BELLY

Addie took these photos of my belly today. I should have done a sideways one--I'll do that later. You get the picture...Biggest prego belly ever for me, by far, but about 10 pounds less than when I had Heidi.
I got an email about this fun little google game where you search for your name + the word “needs” and then make a funny list of your needs according to the internet. So my “Jamie needs…” search turned up the following:

JAMIE NEEDS…
A kid
Your vote
Mental help
More than a mother’s love
A teacher
A car
To grow up
Some sugar
Permanency
A liver transplant
Some sleepy
A gavel
To radically improve [her] interpersonal skills
To learn to sit up straight (pilates)
(they forgot "to have that baby!!!!!")

Try it yourself and let me see your faves in the comments section!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Young Ones

With the recent lull in family/summer activity, Rich and I have been cleaning out the corners of our house--you know, the garage, the office, certain closets--places where you stack your junk. Well, I have a "mission box" full of funny stuff I saved from my days in North Carolina and shortly thereafter. Imagine my hysterical fits of laughter when I looked in side and found this long-forgotten photo of my Provo roommates:



If you are a child of the 80s like me, you might fondly recall the fine British sitcom, The Young Ones. Well, after my mission in 1994-5, I got to LIVE The Young Ones (well, okay--a tamer, American, girl, BYU-version) in a crappy little brick apartment above a dental office in Provo, Utah, with these three gorgeous women...(from left) There's me (I'm Rik with a silent P, the people's poet), Erin (our Vyvian, a recently converted Mormon/former punk rock girl), Heidi (our Neil, the beloved "bloody hippy" from Canada), and Piedad Fernandez (our Mike, the normal/slightly disco character, our roommate from Spain).

I could go on and on about the humor in the fact that we even got this portrait taken, or that we all wore denim shirts and were posed on a ladder (!?!?!), or just--the EYEBROWS!!! But mostly I get a happy, sunshiney feeling thinking of what a fun year that was and how much we learned and did together. Look how young and glowing we are! Heidi looks like she is about to crack up, and yet is still the beautiful Earth Day Barbie I remember (who wanted to live with chimps and marry a lawyer). I am still quite sisterly with Erin and Heidi, but we sadly lost track of Piedad when she graduated from LDS Business college and stopped working at our favorite taco stand, Diego's. Between the three of us, we have TEN kids with 2 more on the way. Erin lives in England with her Dentist husband and Heidi lives in Seneca Falls, NY with her chiropractor husband. And I think we all drive mini-vans (heh, heh).

Once in every lifetime,
Comes a love like this,
Oh I need you, you need me,
Oh my darling can't you see.
Young Ones.--Darling we're the Young Ones
Young Ones--Shouldn't be afraid
To live, love, there's a song to be sung
Cause we may not
Be the Young Ones very long.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Update

High inside my house yesterday: 74F...
This morning: 61F...
THAT'S MORE LIKE IT! Of course it smells like the entire county is smoking bacon or something because Pine Creek, Mission Creek, and Big Creek are on fire. Even our barn is still smoldering and some embers caught the river bank on fire on Saturday. My poor dad-n-law is obsessed with watering the ranch to be sure we don't spread the embers and burn down our beautiful Paradise!

Rich and Addie made it home safe on Sunday night. Yesterday (Monday) was a terrible day for me--I didn't feel good, I looked haggard, the girls went crazy with all manner of mischief (including Heidi painting my toilet seat and her hands with clear nailpolish, cutting her hair, spitting milk all over the basement couches, filling the toilet with TP THEN taking off her diaper and peeng in the shower....I'll stop there). I was so frazzled, we just sang songs for FHE and hung out with Rich's brother Mike who came to visit. The only bright spot was that I made up a great new recipe (if you like Hawaiian food). Rich's mom gave me a bunch of left-over teriyaki chicken strips, so I cooked some rice, chopped up the chicken and made this in a saucepan:

4-5 chopped chicken tenders
1 can cream of chicken
2 TB soy sauce
about 1 tsp each of garlic powder, ground ginger, & dry mustard
1 can of pineapple chunks with about half the juice drained off

Bring to a boil and serve over sticky rice. It's an instant family hit around here--almost as yummy as Moko Loco!

Here's to a Tuesday that's better than Monday! And Happy August!

FAMILY LETTER 11.19.17

Dear Loved Ones,                                                                                                                          ...