Tuesday, August 30, 2011

hello samuel

Samuel Courtney Wood

born August 25
weighing in at 8 lb, 10 oz (2 weeks early!)

Samuel made his grand entrance into our family this past Thursday afternoon. 
After spending his first five days in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU),
 we finally made it home yesterday, oxygen and monitor in tow. 
(His dad is already teasing him that he is higher maintenance than his sisters.)

It is official.  I am completely in love with two Wood boys.

More to come. . .Right now I'm just going to love my little boy.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

the best birthday present

This is a picture of Courtney and his little brother Wyatt.  Wyatt was born on Courtney's tenth birthday, the first day of fifth grade.  He remembers that he didn't know his brother would be coming that day until after he had gone to school.  Pretty exciting news for the birthday boy.  Wyatt was born with Downs Syndrome, in addition to a heart defect.  Obviously, he was a pretty special little boy and from all accounts was the sunshine of the house.  Courtney's mom remembers how the kids would come home from school and the first thing they would ask was, "Where's Wyatt?" 

As a result of his health problems, Wyatt didn't live very long, but his short life made a big impact on Courtney.  For as long as I've known Courtney, he has told me that he wanted to name his first son Wyatt.  Obviously, after four (perfect for us!) girls, we were a little unsure that we'd ever have a son!  However, everyone in the family knew that if it ever happened, we would have a Wyatt. 

When we first started dating and Courtney told me about Wyatt and his hope to name a son after him, the name wasn't very common.  In fact, I didn't know any Wyatt's at all.  The last few years, though, it has become really common.  It seems like everywhere we go we meet a little Wyatt!  Courtney started to say that he didn't know if he would use it after all (but like I said, we didn't think we'd have to worry about it anyway!)  I felt a little bad about this because I knew how much it meant to him.

When we found out I was pregnant, Courtney was sure it was another girl.  What's more, he insisted he was great with that!  "I love my girls," he would tell me over and over.  I've never been one to have a feeling one way or another, and this pregnancy was the same way.  Up until the night before our ultrasound, I had no idea if it would be a boy or girl!  However, that night as I was doing some reading about the Old Testament story of Hannah and her son Samuel, I had a strong impression that our baby was a boy and that we should name him Samuel.  The whole process of getting this baby here had so far been filled with spiritual experiences, and so I shouldn't have been surprised by this, but still I felt a little afraid of trusting my impression.  That night, I didn't say a word to Courtney about what I had felt.

Probably because I was doubting the impression I had received, I felt super nervous the whole drive to our ultrasound!  Courtney, however, seemed steady as a rock.  After all, he was sure it was another girl!  You can imagine his surprise when the technician pulled up the screen and immediately said, "Well, there you go!  It's a boy!"  We looked at each other, started laughing, and then asked her over and over if she was really sure.  It was soon apparent that she was, but Courtney wasn't!

On the way home, we hardly dared believe the news.  We would have been thrilled with a girl, but a boy?  We never thought it would happen.  When we timidly ventured into a name discussion, I was hesitant to tell Courtney about the impression I had received regarding the name Samuel.  It wasn't until after he repeated his worry about using the name Wyatt that I told him about my experience, although I still didn't tell him I felt we should use that name.  I was surprised when as soon as I told him what had happened, he replied with, "I think we should name him Samuel."

Immediately it felt like that was exactly the right name for our baby.  From that point on, we never discussed naming the baby anything else- it was obvious to both of us that Samuel was the right name.  It wasn't until a few days later that I learned that Wyatt's middle name is Samuel. 

Through the process of bringing this baby into our family, and even since that first experience with his name, I have had several sacred experiences that have taught me that Heavenly Father knows this baby.  This has been a lesson to me that each of our children come to us, having already experienced great things.  They each come with unique spirits and a special mission only they can perform.  They have a Father in Heaven who knows them and has a very distinct plan for them.  I am absolutely sure of this.

And so, in just a few days we are going to get to meet little Samuel.  We can't wait.  His room is all decorated and his closet is filled with little tiny diapers, clothes, and shoes.  Blue clothes!  On his dresser and shelves sit boy things- a vintage bulldozer, airplanes, and a little football.  Along side these items sits a frame filled with this picture of Courtney and Wyatt.  To us, it all seems a little hard to believe.  In fact, last week we set up the nursery (thanks to Aunt Alyssa and his Grandmas!) while Courtney was away working in Blanding.  He didn't get home 3:00 am, Friday morning.  I was awake waiting for him to arrive and when, after a few minutes I still hadn't seen him, I went in search.  As I walked into the kitchen, I could see the light on in the nursery and sure enough, I found him quietly standing there looking around in disbelief.  I loved it when he looked at me with his cute grin and whispered, "A boy!"  That's all he needed to say.

What makes this story even better is that we are going to have the baby on Courtney's birthday.  His and Wyatt's.  A pretty special day for all of us.  Somehow, I don't think that's a coincidence.

Just a few more days now.  We can't wait to meet you, little Samuel.

Monday, August 22, 2011

birthday girls

Our family has a lot of birthdays in August.  Soon to be five, to be exact.  Being that Claire and Emmy's birthdays are only four days apart, we decided to celebrate them together.  (This seemed like a great deal for Emmy.  Opening presents four days early?  Alrighty!)

(The night before Claire's birthday, Courtney and I were shopping when he spotted this shirt and had to buy it for her.  "Dad Answers To Me". . .the absolute perfect shirt for Claire.  Those two are quite the pair.)

Of course, we started the day with birthday donuts.  (Emmy chose cold cereal for her big day, that's a treat around our house!)

For the big celebration, we invited all the grandparents over for pizza and cake.  Our oven was broken at the time, so Emmy picked out a store-bought cake, we had pizza from Papa Murphy's (cooked in Grandma's oven), and I thought it was the easiest, best birthday party meal ever. 

Part way through the present opening, my mom started laughing at Courtney.  His lap was full of lace, ballet slippers, and princess paraphernalia.  Such is his life!

Our two little princesses!  Emmy had been wanting a princess dress ever since we went to Disneyland (Cinderella, to be exact).  These dresses were a hit! 

Later, Courtney caught this little princess in the act! 

I'm afraid that Emmy's birthday didn't seem too spectacular after having done all the celebrating a few days early.  Ryenne and Kate had a birthday party to attend, so Courtney and I took the birthday girls to the park for a picnic and some summer fun.  The girls had a perfect time playing at the park with Daddy. 

I loved this shot of Emmy and her best guy heading off for a walk. 

Happy Birthday girls!  We love you to the moon. . .and back!

Friday, August 12, 2011

lucky streak

So this is how my luck is going right now.

Our oven is broken.  It has been for a month, but I scheduled three service calls before I actually had someone show up to tell me it's not worth replacing.  Perrrrrfect.

My vacuum won't work.  (I borrowed my moms, and now hers only works when the stars and moon align and you push the handle a little to the left in a just so position while simultaneously vacuuming.)

The roof is leaking.  Oh, and the air conditioner is on strike.

Our washer (bought new last fall after the last fairly new washer bit the dust) decided to quit mid stride yesterday.  I am convinced this happened merely because I have 47 batches of laundry waiting to be washed and I was finally going to get around to washing up those baby clothes. 

If things don't turn around soon, I'm afraid this baby is going to come out with two heads, seven legs, and four eyes.  Oh well.  I mean, really-  think how productive he'll be.

*On a positive note, the quilt I spent hours piecing for the baby is finally quilted.  This comes as good news, as the woman who was machine quilting it for me accidentally used a permanent marker to mark the quilt.  After a mild panic attack on her part (really, what could I do?), and an intensive search, identical fabric was finally found and replaced.  I'm told it looks good as new.  Maybe things are looking up, after all.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

island park

Just a few days after the girls and I got home from Lake Powell, we found ourselves packing our bags again and on our way to Island Park for the highly anticipated WO-JO family reunion.  This year's trip was planned by Grandma and Grandpa, who went all out and planned an exciting agenda complete with a pajama parade, corny joke contest, and tall-tale contest.  The girls were so excited for each of the contests and spent weeks writing down pages of the corniest jokes they could muster up. 

The first night came with lots of laughs as we witnessed the first annual pajama parade. 

Uncle Darrell wowed us all with his multiple costume changes and "silverfish hand catch". 

Of course, Courtney was absolutely stunning in his custom-made mu mu and pigtails.  I could barely keep my eyes off him.  (The leg and chest hair completed the overall look.)

The Mumfords were not to be outdone with their amazing M&M display.  Always going the extra mile, they even bribed the judges -with M&M's, of course!  They looked awesome!

On Saturday, Uncle Caleb took us to Cliff Lake, which was absolutely beautiful! The lake was surrounded by pine trees and filled with the most amazingly crystal blue water.  The kids had a blast playing by the beach, catching craw fish, and even venturing in so far as to swim (brrrr!).  

The highlight of our Cliff Lake adventure had to be the rope swing.  Courtney and Caleb led an expedition of brave kids around the lake and led the way as the gang of them splashed into the water by way of a 30 ft. rope swing.  The kids (including Kate and Ryenne- go girls!) had a blast, and so did the dads!  Later, Uncle Darrell joined the fun too.   

We would love to visit again- what a great place to spend a day!

When the weekend was over, the girls reluctantly packed their bags.  Family trips are never long enough it seems!  What a fun vacation though. . .we're already looking forward to the next WO-JO family adventure!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

a good day

Yesterday was a good day.

Claire slept through the night, hooray!  When we woke up, I was telling Courtney how it  seemed like she hadn't slept through the night in forever.  He laughed and said, "What's it been, a week?"  Well it seems like it's been forever, so there.  (I don't know where Ryenne gets her drama from).

Speaking of Claire and Ryenne, I'm thinking we are nearly mended from our tonsil foray.  No meds yesterday, and the two of them pretty much ate whatever they wanted yesterday (as opposed to nothing, which is what they've been eating for the past week).  Plus, we didn't even have one incident of daughter number one clutching her throat, writhing on the ground, crying/moaning, "I felt better when I had my tonsils inside of me!"  Hallelujah for that.

But that's not all to our good day, it gets even better.  I went outside early to mow the lawn and tame the weeds.  Believe you me, the weeds needed taming!  (Before I go on, I just have to say that Courtney hates it when I mow the lawn when I am nine months pregnant.  He insists that he do it, but I do it anyway.  He is powerless to my charms (or is it my will?).  I tell him not to worry, I'm just going to get a shirt that says "MY HUSBAND MAKES ME DO THIS".) 

Anyway, about our good day.  Before I headed outside, I left the girls a list of jobs that needed to be done.  Can I just say that this slave working thing is no picnic?  No picnic indeed.  Many a time I think of what my sister-in-law once told me, "A lazy mom does everything herself".  Amen to that.  Sometimes I am quite sure it would be easier to send everyone out to play while I worked in quiet solitude and got it all done the way I wanted.  The first time.  But yesterday?  The girls outdid themselves!  After working up a sweat, I came inside to a clean house!  Amazing, it was!  Other than a few arguments that required a referee in the early moments, and a bare-naked Claire running around outside who had to be corralled and pantied, all went smoothly.  And chores almost never go smoothly.  What's more, they not only did their jobs, but they did them well!  I didn't have to send anyone back for a second try!  AND.  Ryenne cleaned the bathrooms, which were not on the list.  AND.  The kitchen looked glorious.  It has never looked glorious after being on "the list".  Not on the first try, anyway.

I was praising their efforts to Courtney last night and he said, "See!  All the tears are worth it."  (By tears, he means the "Mom!  Why do we have to do everything?  Can't we ever have a day to just relax?" kind of tears.  Mostly, the girls think I derive some sick sense of satisfaction by watching them work their poor little fingers to the bone.)  So, when he said that I thought to myself, "Yes!"  Today was a little payday.  Even if I only have one of those every so often, it was sure fancy of the girls to make it happen.

I want to remember it, so you can bet I'm gonna write it down. 

Wait, there's more!  The girls had friends over, which we haven't had time for all summer.  This makes them happy, which makes me happy.  We've needed a good, old-fashioned summer day.

PLUS.  We had a party last night at our house for Shawn and Kelsey's friend, Nigel who has been visiting from Australia.  Nigel is an old (meaning in-the-past, not over-the-hill) missionary companion of Shawn's who comes to spend his "holiday" here.  (In the past three weeks they have squeezed in Lake Powell, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, and NYC.  Can you blame him for equating those two with the word 'holiday'?)   He is leaving today and so they held a barbecue on our patio in his honor. 

It was fun and it felt like summer.  Grilling, watermelon, and kids running across the lawn at dusk.  We had a great time, and last night I thought to myself, "We created a night for the girs that felt like summer". 

I thought I'd better write it down.

On a side note, Ryenne met Nigel at Grandpa's shop a week or two ago.  Besides being quite taken with his cool accent, she thought he was very nice and funny.  She came home and asked excitedly, "Mom!  Do you know who Nigel is?"  To which, of course I smugly replied, "Well, yeah.  The seagull from Finding Nemo."  Then she rolled her eyes (she is eleven, you know) and said, "No Mom!  Not that Nigel, Shawn's friend Nigel!"   For a minute, I thought he may have gotten his nick-name from the movie, being that he is from Australia and all.  Nope.  Nigel is his real name (his parents are English).  And now that I've met him, I agree with Ryenne.  He comes complete with a cool accent, and he's funny, and he's super nice.  We had a great night.

So a day in review:  No sick kids.  My slave working gig seems to be working out after all.  And a fun night complete with everything summer.  Plus, the guest of honor was a complete hit.  The girls think he is the coolest thing to ever happen to the U-S-of A and hope he comes for holiday every year.  A good day all the way around.

I'm not done yet!  Last night as we laid in bed, I asked Courtney if he'd take me on a hot date this weekend.  (I'm forward like that).  He wondered if I maybe wanted to go to a movie.  I can't remember the last time we went to a movie, but I told him I'd be thrilled with dinner and Wal-Mart, if that's all he could muster up.  He chuckled and said that he thought maybe I had something more romantic in mind.  "Heck!" I told him.  Give me a date, and I'll be so happy that even Wal-Mart sounds good.  I'm nothing if not easy to please.  So, to top it all off,  I ended the day looking forward to Friday night and pondering about what we'll do on our hot date . . .

Not every day is like that, you know.  But yesterday outdid itself.  As my mom would say, you can bet-your-bottom-dollar that I'll want to remember a day like that.

And so by golly, I'm gonna write it down!