Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My Cute Little Kiddos

My friend, Mette, graciously took a few photos of my darling little ones so we could give them to Adam for Christmas. She is very talented and gets some great shots. Here they are!

Monday, December 28, 2009


Case and Grandpa John E. Smith, for whom he is named. Since I forgot to mention them in the first post, here are the stats:
Case John Clark
8 pounds, 1 ounce
20 inches long
born at 2:40 p.m.
Grandpa Smith is a wonderful, generous, and wise man who has been a great support to Adam throughout his life and to both of us since our marriage. He's a surgeon, but also an electrical engineer who fought in World War 2. He is selfless and kind and has a great sense of humor. I'm glad we can honor Grandpa and know that Case will live up to the potential he has to be like his Great Grandpa Smith.

All The Single Ladies

...definitely need one of these:

Karli was so excited to see her "Beyonce leotard" on Christmas morning. I was flattered because she immediately doffed her jammies in favor of the sparkly uniform and wore it all day long. She even received some purple, sparkly high heels from Grandma and Grandpa, so her ensemble was complete.

I didn't think it would turn out to be so adorable on her, but it fit perfectly and I'm pleased by my first attempt at costuming.

A Wonderful Christmas

This Christmas was great and a bit different from the usual. Santa decided not to wrap the kids' gifts this year because he and Mrs. Claus were so worn out from taking care of the new little elf. Regardless, the kids loved all of their gifts and had a magical morning.

Rex was thrilled to get some "boy toys" like Army guys, a football, some trucks and a race track.

Karli was thrilled to see her Beyonce outfit (worthy of a post unto itself), her hula skirt, and all of her cute toys.

Amber's favorite gift was her new kitty, and a close second was her Fur Real Hamster.

I love to see how excited the kids get at Christmastime. Their reactions were worth the sleepless night before, and we were all thankful for awesome grandparents who added to the magic with their generous gifts as well. Merry Christmas, everyone!

He's Here!

We are thrilled to have our newest family member here safely. Case John Clark arrived right on schedule on December 22, 2009 at American Fork Hospital. Everything went well with the delivery and it was fabulous to feel my stomach collapse! He looks like a mix of Karli and Rex and has the Clark Scowl down perfectly. We all love him to pieces!

Here's Case right after birth. He came so quickly that he was nice and pink with a very round head.

Case wanted to suck his fingers from the very beginning...a sure sign he's a Clark baby. I love his tiny bum and his dark, wild hair.

Don't let that sweet, innocent face fool you. This kid has some pipes! I was worried that he was bound to be my ornery baby, because he cried all the time in the hospital. Once we brought him home, though, he calmed right down and has been a dream so far.

This delivery was definitely my craziest. Since I was positive with Group B Strep, I had to have 4 hours of antibiotics before I could deliver. My contraction monitor wasn't picking up any contraction, so when they finally broke my water, I didn't think anything was happening (aahhh...epidurals!). Ten minutes later, I felt a horrible pressure in my spine and thought for sure there was something wrong with my injection or that I was one of the .4% of people who have major complications with the epidural. Adam, Greg, Leslie, and the kids had all just headed downstairs for a treat and my phone was clear across the room, so I pressed my call button for the nurse. No one responded, so I started to panic as the pressure grew worse and worse. I was in tears, and finally yelled out, "Help!", hoping someone was in the hall.
Thankfully, a nurse poked her head in to ask if I was o.k. I immediately broke down into sobs, saying I didn't know what was happening to me. She calmly told me she would first check my cervix and then go from there. I was dilated to 4 centimeters when the doctor broke my water, and the nurse said, "You're complete and I see the baby's head." I couldn't believe how quickly the labor progressed, and five minutes later, I was holding little Case. It was madness! I had a wonderful staff of nurses who took fabulous care of Case and me and I'm thankful to have a beautiful, healthy baby. And, of course...to not be pregnant!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Such Girls

Grandma Shelley surprised Amber and Karli with early Christmas gifts: adorable dresses, new tights, and ruby slippers to wear to church on the Sunday before Christmas. Both of the girls were thrilled! They wouldn't take their dresses off all day, despite endless nagging by both Adam and me, and when we finally convinced Amber to change into a nightgown at bedtime, this is what we came across in the middle of the night.

Amber had removed both her and Karli's dresses from the closet and snuggled up by them in bed. Cuter still is that when Karli woke up, she actually had her red, sparkly dress shoes on her feet; she had been wearing them all night as she slept. They asked me all week long when it would be time to wear their new dresses to church, and today was the glorious day. They looked darling and were so excited. Thanks, Grandma Shelley, for giving my girls a reason to want to go to their classes!

Too Cute to Give Away

I set out making these purses for my girls to give as Christmas gifts, but once they were finished, I decided to keep them so I could give them to my girls for Christmas gifts. Isn't that terrible? I just think they are so sassy and cute that I can't bear to part with them.

They were SO easy to make (felt, glue gun, Heat n' Bond, ribbon, and embelishments) and it only took about an hour to make both.
I guess I'll just have to make two more, because the intended recipients would also love little purses like these. I'm really excited to see what my girls think of their new handbags; both of them are obsessed with purses and should be thrilled. We'll see!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Whoever You Are...Thank You Santa!

We had a knock on our front door the other night. When Adam opened it, he found a generous gift from "Santa". We don't know who Santa and his elves are, but we are very grateful. Thank you, Santa, for making this Christmas extra special for us!

I am excited for the day that Adam and I can do some large-scale "Santa-ing" of our own, you know, for families who need it. I've always loved being able to give secretly to others, and Christmas time is my favorite time to do it. I'm thankful that I have fantastic examples of charity, kindness, and generosity in my life, and also thankful that wonderful people are thinking of us. Merry Christmas, everyone!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

If It Walks Like a Duck...

...it must be big, humongous Natalie waddling around the house. I have one week left until induction and I can't remember ever being this uncomfortable with my other pregnancies. I was running every day until I gave birth when I had Amber, and with Karli and Rex I could push the double stroller and walk four miles each morning. This baby has rendered me nearly useless, as I can barely walk from the kitchen to the front door without suffering. I guess my body is just worn out from being pregnant for 40 out of the past 60 months. Yay for no more pregnancies!

I am starting to get really excited to meet our new little boy. I am also super nervous to see how he changes the family dynamic. I hope that Rex will be nice to him and that my girls can be good helpers. I am gearing up to give lots of extra attention to the three older kids, but still I worry that it won't be enough or that we'll suddenly have a family of bed-wetting children or worse. Hopefully, things will work out well and everyone will adjust by having the expected and tolerable side-effects of adding a new one to the brood.

We're still debating on names; we have a few that we all like. Some of us like one name more than others, so I'm curious to see who the baby looks like and the kind of vibe he gives off. Call me crazy, but I just can't name a baby before I've met him or her. It never works out (Karli was going to be Kandice...but, no). I think we're all ready as far as laundry, sewing, organizing, etc. goes, so now I'm just waiting around to HAVE THIS BABY! Let's hope it's sooner rather than later.

Magic or Tragic? Either Way, It's a Trip to Disney World

Amber and Karli had their first cheer competition of the season on Saturday. They looked adorable and did a great job! Both of them competed in the Tiny division (age 5 and under) with their cousin Gracie. Amber also competed in the Mini division (under 8) and did a grand job considering she had two minutes to run off the mat after Tiny, change her uniform, and line up to go on with the older girls.

The Dazzles (Mini division) are the class that my brother-in-law taught in October. Their routine has a military theme and they were darling! They ended up in third place, which is downright respectable and impressive to me as their coach. They worked really hard and it was so fun for me to watch Amber in a "big girl" routine.

The Twinkles (Tiny division) were so darling, mostly because a few of them including Karli were off in their own world for a majority of the routine. There were a few girls who really rocked out, improvising and dancing their little hineys off for the judges. Eventually, most of them came together and did the routine like they were supposed to. I was really proud of them for being as composed as they were and for remembering most of the steps.

Once both of my teams competed, we raced out the door. As much as I love cheerleading, I just can't stand to be at one of those events for more than 20 minutes. It's loud, crowded, craziness that I simply can't tolerate. We didn't stick around for the awards, since (bad coach!) I didn't think my girls would place. They were great, but comparatively, I didn't think we had a chance.

You can imagine my surprise when Angela called to tell me the Twinkles took third place. I was thrilled and so excited to tell them what a great job they did. Little did I know, she actually said "first place" but I couldn't hear because she was still in the gym. I nearly wet my pants when I found out they earned a winning score. Additionally, they won a trophy that is the same size as some of them AND a bid to the national competition at Disney World in March (the weekend before Amber's birthday). Since most of the Twinkles have older sisters on teams that also qualified, we are trying to work it out for their team, too! I think it will be a blast and am really excited and proud of my little girls.

Sadly, I don't have any pictures because I was running around like a crazy person and answering all sorts of (I thought) dumb questions from parents, students, etc. and trying to get my teams where they needed to be. I'll round some up from my dad and Leslie and post them later. Rah rah rah! Gooooooo Flash!

A Visit with Santa and His Reindeer

Thanksgiving Point is one of my favorite places in Utah County, so I was thrilled to find out about their Christmas activities this year. I took the kids to visit Santa and see his reindeer, and I was surprised by their reactions.

All three of them loved the reindeer. There was a mommy and a baby reindeer who had more than enough food to eat, thanks to the handy quarter-dispenser and lots of eager children.

Rex was thrilled to see live animals...as usual. He couldn't take his eyes off of them.

Karli was really excited to meet Santa (that surprised me; usually she's more timid). She wore her glasses so she could show him what a good girl she's been. When asked what she wanted for Christmas, she immediately yelled out, "A CAR!". I don't know if she meant a car for her Polly Pockets or something like that, or a real, bona fide car like a...oh, it pains me to say this...mini van or something for our family (which we will need in a week!). She was fascinated by Santa and was very brave.

Amber took one look at St. Nick and immediately changed her mind. She wanted nothing to do with him! She told me in a very grown-up way, "I'm not interested anymore so I'll just wait here by the stroller". It was so funny to me to see the look of horror on her face when it was our turn to talk to Santa. She won't even talk to him on Leslie's iPhone. I thought for sure she'd be excited, but when I think about it now, she's never liked to sit on his lap, even in infancy. Let's hope she changes her mind about Santa once he brings her a few Christmas gifts.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

False Alarm Numero Uno

Today as I rushed to the church to make copies of today's program, I thought my water may have broken. Since I've never had a spontaneous labor (Pitocin is a grand invention!), I have no idea what it feels like, the "real" signs (I'm having plenty of false indications), etc. I went about my merry way to see if my conditions improved or worsened, and finally, after a few hours, I called my doctor to see if I should head to Labor and Delivery.

As you may recall, when I was pregnant with Rex, we went through the same thing three or four times before I actually had a baby. It is a big hassle, a pain, takes a long time just to hear "Go home", and kind of puts a dent in the day. I figured it would be nothing this time, too, but since I have Strep B, I figured I should follow doc's orders and go get checked.

One thing that was remarkably nicer than when I was pregnant with Rex is that my parents live just down the street from me, so they babysat the kids instead of Adam and I having to drag them along and keep them quiet in the hospital. Thanks, mom and dad, for watching Amber, Karli, and Rex, and for making us a yummy lunch. Thanks, baby, for the jolt of panic and the boring episode in triage.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Oh My Gosh

Where do I even begin? Today was one of those days, you know, where you just can't imagine one more thing could happen to make you loose your temper, but sure enough, there it is, and those events just keep happening all day long. The problem with today was that when I was awakened early by a constant and annoying tapping on my face by one of my cute kids (of course, on my day to sleep in), I consciously decided that today would be my day this week to keep my cool, be extra patient with my kids, and try to have fun decorating the house for Christmas. I even thought we could do a few fun projects, like make cookies or something.
WRONG! As soon as the kids were out of the tub, the naughtiness flared up and continued all day. By all three kids. Who didn't take naps. Even when they were banished to their rooms for the majority of the afternoon. Here are just a few of the highlights:

-Throwing chair cushions over the stair railing several times (a major no-no in our house)
-Spitting milk repeatedly on siblings
-Pulling hair all day long
-Hitting mom in the face
-Locking one's self into mom and dad's room, removing every item of clothing from the hangers, shelves, and baskets, and wadding them into a huge pile on the floor (breaking several hangers in the process)
-Tipping over new baby's drawers, emptying them, and scattering the freshly-washed clothes throughout the house
-Sobbing all day long
-Tattling all day long
-Not eating dinner
-Sneaking out of bed

Thankfully, my wonderful husband came to my rescue and took the kids out of my earshot for the last two hours of the evening. He put them to bed (over and over again) so I could have a much-needed break. I'm SO glad to have such a wonderful man to clean up the bathroom after Rex dumps the entire contents of the trash can into the toilet and to rescue me from motherhood-induced insanity (yep, that happened today, too).

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Yet Another Wonderful Role Model

Karli now has an idol that rivals Amber's "Cinnamon" obsession: Beyonce. She saw a brief snippet of her performance of "All the Single Ladies" on the MTV Awards and immediately said, "Mom, can you make me a sparkly leotard like Beyonce's and get me some high heels like hers?" I laughed out loud and Karli said, "Pleeeeease? I really love it!" Since then, she dons any pair of high heels she can find and struts around the kitchen doing Beyonce's moves. My favorite is the one where she turns to the side, clenches her hands in fists, pops one knee at a time, and does the pumping action with her hands like they do on the music video.

I heard that Santa asked Mrs. Claus to make Karli a gold, sparkly, and MODEST version of Beyonce's leotard, complete with little, ruffle-y booty shorts to go with it. I hope Karli will get the translation and be thrilled that she'll have the entire ensemble (minus the robo-glove). Now, put your hands up!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Panic Mode!

Have you noticed the ticker over there? That's right, the blue one that says, "Baby Boy Clark. Only 26 days to go."? I am freaking out!

I had a check-up yesterday and realized that I have less than a month left before our baby will be born. I nearly fell off the table when my doctor told me to come in every week from here on out. Not only that, but I'm dilated to 1.5 centimeters and having bouts of mega-contractions. Yikes (good) and yikes (bad)! This pregnancy has flown by--thank goodness--and I am finally realizing that our family will have another member in a few short weeks.

I'm starting to get a little crazy thinking about everything I have to do in 26 days, like sewing a bunch of Christmas gifts, washing all the baby clothes, making new blankets (Rex WILL NOT relinquish his rights to even his receiving blankets...you'd think seven blankies would be enough, but no...he knows every blanket in this house that has ever belonged to him), coaching my two cheer teams through a major competition, making props for the Poinsettia Bowl halftime, and putting up the Christmas decorations to name a few. Let's hope I can get it all done so all I'll have to do when Baby Boy Clark arrives is enjoy the heavenly lustre of Christmastime and little one.

So Thankful for the Important Things

I know it's cliche to write a post about how thankful I am on the eve of Thanksgiving, but this year I have an all-new perspective on gratitude. While I have a few things happening in my life right now for which I am not thankful, I have been able to reflect on what really matters and how much joy I feel every day because of people and things with which I've been blessed. Here are just a few:

My three adorable children
The blessing of being able to have children
The miracle of life and birth
Wonderful examples of charity, generosity, and kindness in my life

I have been blessed abundantly and feel lucky to be in the position I am in. May you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day filled with love, joy, peace, and happiness!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Patchy Progress

Today, Adam and I took Karli back to the pediatric ophthalmologist to have her eye checked. It's been 12 weeks of hell since she started wearing her patch and glasses and I was really ready to tell the doctor we can't do it anymore. Poor Karli throws a massive fit anytime we have to put a patch over her eye, and then she mopes around all day and whines about it until the patch gets wet from her tears and falls off. Yes, it's great fun.

I was worried when Karli still couldn't see the graphics on the wall (you know, the E's that point different directions, etc.). When we finally saw Dr. Abrams after 50 minutes of waiting, he did some exercises with her and was impressed by the improvements she had made. Her vision in the eye with straubismus/ambliopia is now 20/60, where before she had almost no sight in that eye. I was thrilled to hear the good news, and it gave me a renewed sense of duty to have the patch fight all the time. He said that after months and months of patching, some kids can even achieve 20/20 vision in eyes like hers. Adam and I were excited to know that all of our efforts (and the efforts of our great siblings, parents, nieces and nephews, and friends) are paying off, even if ever so slightly.

I'm ready to start the process again, and feel like now that I know the patches are helping, I can tolerate the whining and annoyance of Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde for a few more months. Hooray for cute little Karli; progress is a wonderful thing!

Monday, November 16, 2009

This Is Me...Screaming!

I have had one of those days. Actually, it's been one of those weeks, but the culmination of all my frustration occured today. I just can't stand to listen to any more whining or crying from my kids. Or pick up one more blanket that has been left on the floor again. Or have to deal with putting a patch on Karli's eye for one more day. Or change another stinky diaper. Or...anything!

I need some advice. One of my kids is a whiner. All day. Every day. About everything. If this kid wakes up and the sky is light blue instead of dark blue, they whine about it. They whine about things that cannot be changed, and they whine about things that can be but won't be changed. Even if there's no pressing issue at the moment, this kid sits around with a finger in the mouth and makes whining noises, like moans and grunts, and kicks their feet on the floor or the wall or the table. How do I stop this insanity?

I've tried banishing said kid to its room, taking away everything precious, etc. but nothing seems to work. I feel awful because today I actually told this kid I didn't want to be around with all the blubbering and noise. Do any of you have tips?

This is me...on vacation in Tahiti.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Disney Princesses, Ice Skating...What Could Be Better?

Yesterday, my mom came over to our house to tell Amber and Karli that Cinderella just called her to tell her she had tickets for all "the girls" to go see Disney on Ice Princess Classics that night. I'm sure you can all imagine the excitement that immediately erupted as they raced up the stairs to put on all of their princess garb. I was excited just because I witnessed my girls' faces light up and them running around and screaming like wild women. After careful consideration, Amber decided to be Ariel, complete with a dollar-store wig/headband with bright red, polyester hair and purple, sparkly streamers. Karli decided to forgo the princess gown and instead wore a pink sweater, denim skirt, pink leggings, and her pink, Ugg-style princess boots. They told me I could be Jasmine, but that Grandma Shelley would have to make me an outfit that had "enough fabric to cover your big, fat tummy". Then they told me I could be Jasmine who wears regular clothes, and that my khakis and pink shirt were fine. I love their honesty...sometimes. But, I digress. Both girls looked adorable and soon we were off!

Upon arriving at the Energy Solutions Arena, I saw little Disney princesses everywhere! It was beyond adorable to see all the girls who were dressed to the nines in their princess outfits complete with light-up high heels, tiaras, sceptres, and the like. As we took our (amazing) seats on the fourth row, I couldn't help but laugh to see how excited all those little princesses were. Cute doesn't even begin to describe it.

Amber and Karli were no exception. They sat there, totally mesmerized by the scenery (a huge, beautiful castle was the centerpiece), the "real, live princesses", the ice skating (one of their favorite sports to watch), and the music. Every time a skater would pass by our seats, Amber and/or Karli would scream out, "Hi Belle!" or "Hi Gus!" They were thrilled to be that close to their favorite characters. Disney really can put on a grand show, and I ended up liking it waaaay more than I thought I would. The costumes and rink design were spectacular, and the skaters were just cheesy enough to produce a wonderfully cartoon-like aura that captured the feel of each Disney princess movie perfectly.

Angela, Marianne, Mette, Hannah, Grandma Shelley, Amber, Karli, and I all had a great time. I'll definitely take my girls next year. Thanks, Grandma, for getting in touch with Cinderella to find such wonderful tickets. We had a smashing time!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Cat Scratch Fever

As if we ever enjoyed it in the first place, the harmony of sibling love has officially evolved into a constant, cacophonous battle between Amber and Karli, Karli and Rex, Amber and Rex, and parents and children. With Amber deep in the tattling phase, Karli still being forced to wear an eye patch every day, and Rex entering the Terrible Twos, I'm sure you can imagine the wonderful and euphoric aura in our home. I have to admit that it's driving me crazy and I'm wondering how we are ever going to survive with another child in this mix of madness. I know that newborns have a special way of calming everyone down, so I'm hoping that our new baby boy will be the peacemaker among siblings so Adam and I don't have to spend every moment of our lives referee-ing our squabbling, whining older kids. Serenity now!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Eight Great Years Ago...

...I met Adam for the first time at church. I never believed in love at first sight, but when I met him I changed my mind. I was so thrilled and amazed that someone as hot as Adam would introduce himself to me (I was wearing red lipstick and red shoes, after all...a bit intimidating for a Clark, maybe?), let alone want to hang out with me after meeting me. I'll always have the fondest memories of Fall 2001 when we met and started dating. Adam was the best boyfriend and is now the best husband. I really lucked out. Happy 8th acquaintance anniversary, Adam. You are wonderful and I love you!

Just so my boys know in the future, here are a few things Adam did for me while we dated which I loved:

Drove past my house on the way to school and scraped off my windows numerous times so my car was ready to go when I left for work in the winter. He also left a few sweet notes on my windshield.

Sent me two dozen red roses after we had known each other for only a short while.

Cooked me dinner (steak, steamed new potatoes, etc.), served it by candle light with Jim Brickman piano music playing in the background.

Wrote a poem for me.

On Valentine's Day, he had his mom and sister decorate my room with hundreds of helium balloons, an adorable teddy bear, and a huge basket full of yummy treats and surprises while Adam and I were on a date.

Boys, take note: your dad knew how to woo a woman.

Random Things That Make Me Happy

I know I post a lot of this same stuff, but I always like to count my blessings and document it. Just think, if my kids ever have interest in reading my journal (which is my blog, of course), they'll read these posts and say to themselves, "Wow. I guess mom really wasn't a screaming ninny who complained and fussed all the time about everything!" So, for posterity's sake, here are some things I'm loving right now:

1. Adam. He has been so helpful and even more wonderful that he normally is lately. It's been fun to be able to hang out with him while our kids take naps and I love that he's so willing to watch the kids so I can have some alone time.

2. Amber's cheer class. This class is so fun to teach! It's filled with 16 adorable little gals, and they work very hard. It's fun for me to see Amber excel in a class of girls who are older than she is, and I also love to see how proud of herself Amber is when she accomplishes a new skill.

3. Karli's dancing. She loves to watch "All The Single Ladies" by Beyonce and has almost all of the moves down perfectly. While I do admit it's not the best thing for a three-year-old to watch, it is just so darn cute that I can't resist! She told me today that she wants a "gold, sparkly leotard and gold high heels like Beyonce's" for Christmas. Hooray!

4. Rex's sudden burst of linguistic ability. The other day, Rex stood up in his high chair and signed AND said "MORE!" Then he started laughing hysterically. It was so adorable and I hurriedly gave him more food. When he saw the results, he did it over and over, both signing and speaking, and getting a huge kick out of himself. He's also started to say "ghost", "doggy", "kitty", "Hannah", "hat", "shoes", "moon", "thank you", and my favorite, "ROCK ON!" (complete with devil horns on each hand). I love it when toddlers begin talking.

5. The weather. Right now, it's 72 degrees outside. The sun has been shining for three days straight and it's fabulous to have some glorious fall sunlight. I was even motivated enough by the blissful conditions that I cleaned off the front porch and put away the exterior Halloween decorations yesterday...only three days late!

6. Baby clothes. I've been sorting through Rex's baby stuff to find out what we need to buy for the new baby. I always love to see how tiny the onesies and socks and bibs are for newborns. I'm getting excited to meet our new little boy and I only have six weeks left!

7. Teaching violin and piano. I have three darling students who are progressing magnificently. I get a kick out of all three of them; they're completely different but all so adorable. One of my students is getting baptized on Saturday and will play "I Feel My Savior's Love" for the opening song. I got all choked up yesterday at her lesson as she played it; it was so sweet! I know I said I'd never admit this, but I am very thankful that my mom and dad payed so much money and dedicated their time and patience to my musical endeavors, even though I wanted nothing to do with them at the time. I have some valuable talents now and I really enjoy being able to spread the love of violin and piano playing.

8. Frozen raspberries. Lately I've been craving sour foods, so I bought myself a big bag of frozen raspberries and have been munching away. They are yummy, fairly low-cal, and the color is marvelous at this time of year. Yum!

9. Planning for Christmas. Since baby will arrive just before Christmas, I'm trying to get all of my gifts made during November. I'm excited to make things for the people I love, and if all goes well, I'll end up with some darling items for my kids.

10. Knowing that my prayers get answered. I've noticed lately that it's not always the way I think they should be answered, but something strangely works out every time I'm in a bind and I ask for help from my Heavenly Father. I know that prayer works! What a great thing to know in life...it's definitely helped me get through some crazy situations.

Here's wishing all of you a happy day!

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Adam has helped me out so much lately and I just have to sing some praises. It's been wonderful to be able to spend a little more "me" time, to wake up (late) to a spotless kitchen and family room, to not have to do yard work (like I ever did much before, but still...), and to be able to finish tasks I start while Adam feeds the kids lunch. Get this: Adam and I got the stomach flu on the same night. As we were both running to the bathroom to throw up, our kids woke up, and he put them all back to bed after resolving their issues. I got to sleep through all of it! Now that is awesome.
All his help has made the last while of my pregnancy much more bearable. I really don't want to give him a sissified reputation, but he's been quite the household helper and I love it! He is an amazing guy and I'm thrilled to have him for my husband.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pregnancy Quirks

I only have seven weeks and two days left of this pregnancy, and I'm starting to feel the "I-can't-go-on-any-longer" symptoms. It seems like suddenly, I'm so huge I can't move and that overnight, even my maternity clothes became too tight. Isn't gestation a wonderful thing? I'm getting very excited to not have a baby inside me, to feel a little less-invaded all the time, to be able to make progress on weight loss and actually have a goal to reach as far as returning to my pre-baby shape, and to be rid of all the strange, random things that have happened to my body:

1. ultra-sensitive tops of feet
2. quickened temper
3. bizarre dreams
4. eczema on my neck and arms
5. facial acne
6. fingernails that grow so quickly they must be trimmed every four days
7. greasy hair
8. heartburn, heartburn, and more heartburn
9. terrible posture
10. insatiable sweet tooth

I know that I'll have a whole new set of issues with which to deal once the baby is born, but for now, those seem like a walk in the park because I'll actually be able to breathe and move in the ways requisite of caring for a family and performing household tasks.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Utah Gal Am I

My dad invited me to go to the University of Utah vs. Air Force Academy football game yesterday. Since I'm a huge fan of fly-overs by big military jets, I was thrilled. I was even more thrilled, however, to be reminded yet again of how amazing Adam is. He passed up a ticket to the game to stay home and babysit so I could go. I was so excited to get to have some time away from the kids and to hang out with my dad at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Thanks, Adam! It was wonderful!

We found a great parking spot just one block from the stadium (and it was FREE!) and hurried to buy some tickets from a scalper near the box office. As we walked up the stairs, we looked up just in time to see the F-16s zoom directly over our heads. It was awesome! I love the noise and the gust of wind that accompany a fly-over. We had great seats on the 10th row at about the 12 yard line--chair seats, which are great for a pregnant woman--and amid a crowd of some fairly unusual characters. For some reason, T.V. and cameras simply don't do the crimson justice; the field looked like it was freshly painted and almost everyone was wearing red. The sight was wondrous to behold.

This sounds really dorky, but as a color aficionado, I love the contrast of all the red against the green turf. It looks amazing in real life.

I can't believe these kids are now ten years younger than I am. I still feel like I should be in college. Geez, I'm old!

I'm always excited to see what the students in the MUSS come up with. They do the "3rd Down Jump" and it really causes a ruckus.

Fortunately, Utah eeked out a victory in over time, and it all unfolded right in front of us. I love the entire spectacle of a college football game, from the tailgaters to the band to the smell of greasy stadium food. The weather was perfect and it was a delightful way to spend a fall day. Thanks for the great time, Dad!

One Howl of a Party

My parents and sisters hosted a super fun, amazing Halloween party for the Liljenquist and Clark grandkids on Friday night. I couldn't believe the extent of planning and preparation that went into the festivities; it was a riot! Thanks for all of your hard work, Mom, Dad, Angela, and Jennifer. The kids loved it and so did the grown ups. First, the kids had a costume parade so we parents could have a few photo ops.

Here's Rex as a "Sons of Anarchy" motorcycle club member. He had lots of wicked tatts and a killer hot pink mohawk.

Next, we have Amber as Cinderella and Karli as Taylor Swift. I made Karli's dress as a copy from Taylor Swift's performance on the MTV Music Awards (Karli's favorite thing to watch on T.V.). Neither girl could stop checking herself out in the mirrors...hilarious!

Here are Amber, Libby, Karli, Gracie, Cooper, Colton, and Rex before the party. They all looked so darling in their costumes!

After the costume parade, the kids played all sorts of fun games like "Skeleton Scavenger Hunt", "Ghost Catcher", and "Monster Freeze Dance". It was a hoot to see the drama and character that all the kids brought to the event, and they seemed to have a blast. We finished things off by eating my mom's yummy taco soup with Fritos, drinking "Dragon Blood Punch", and eating eyeball crackers. We had a grand time!

Fun With the Cousins

In addition to bonding due to similar sicknesses, Amber and Karli had a lot of fun with their Clark cousins last week. First, they dressed up Roofus with a cute, ric-rac leash and a big, rhinestone flower for her collar.

They also gave her a new "blanket", meaning a blue and white gingham napkin.

They all loved snuggling with their new quilts courtesy of Grandma Clark. Jaxon, Karli, Libby, and Rex seemed to get along particularly well. It was great to see my kids having so much fun with their cute cousins!

The Few, The Proud, The Adorable

Amber's cheer team is doing a competition routine with a military theme. I invited my brother-in-law Dave, who is a Marine recently home from deployment in Iraq, to come to Amber's class and teach the girls a few military moves. He kindly obliged and the girls were so excited! They kept asking me questions like, "Is he a real soldier?" "Does he have a real uniform?!" "Has he been in a real battle?" Dave was great with the girls and taught them some key skills for their routine.
About face.


Standing at attention.

The girls were all thrilled and amazed to have a real Marine teach their class. Thanks, Dave, for making the day so special for all these cute little gals. We are proud of you and appreciate the sacrifices you, Maren, and Libby make for our country and for the freedom of people everywhere. Hoo-rah!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Not Even in the Movies

We had our annual fall gathering of Clark family members last week and it really was a riotous, chaotic, blast. Sadly, though, with 19 people under one roof, it was so fun, in fact, that we managed to have one wrist broken, three faces with lots of road rash, two cases of strep throat, four cases of possible H1N1 flu, and 18 cases of the 24-hour stomach flu complete with vomiting in buckets and endless diarrhea. Now that makes for a fun vacation!

I couldn't believe how fast the stomach bug ravaged its way through the whole family. It started with one baby on Saturday night, and by Sunday at noon four more kids had thrown up. From there it just got worse, and finally by Wednesday night, everyone had their turn of stomach cramps, body aches, fevers, sleepless nights, and the whole bit.

Needless to say, the washing machine was working constantly for ten days, literally with no break between loads of soiled sheets, blankets, kids' clothes, bathroom rugs, etc. I'm glad to have everyone on the mend now, and so sad that people who traveled all the way across the country to hang out in Utah had to spend their time off dealing with sickness of all sorts. Hopefully everyone had a good time despite the health issues and we're excited for next time when we'll all get together wearing surgical masks and anti-contamination suits.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Cinnamon, the Beautiful Pirate Temptress

You may remember that we took our kids to watch the pirate battle in front of Treasure Island Casino in Vegas last March. Little did we know, the show had been entirely re-vamped to be very suggestive...oops! Unfortunately, between the cannon balls and gunfire, Amber caught on to the plot of the show (pirates searching for literal booty...nice) and really took a liking to the star, Cinnamon, with "Sin" for a nickname.
From that moment, she has been obsessed with Sin, the pirate girl, and had a pirate birthday party, found a pirate costume, showed off all her scandalous dance moves, etc. When she heard we were going back to Las Vegas, she immediately packed her pirate dress, had me put in her pirate earrings, and sprinkled every conversation with references to Sin and how excited she was to be going back. Amber asked me if I had Sin's phone number so she could call her to tell her she'd be there watching, and she even thought for a minute that Sin might let Amber climb up on her ship and slide down the rope. Aaaagh! This is my four-year-old speaking!
The minute she awoke on Saturday, Amber jumped into her pirate dress and couldn't be convinced to wear anything else. The events of the day were such that we couldn't stick around in Vegas long enough to see the show (oh, darn...I was crushed) and poor Amber was heartbroken. She sobbed with the most sad cry for almost 20 minutes as we left the city, and was comforted only by being told that we'd definitely come back for her to see the show some other time. I guess when a person has a stripper for a role model, they're bound to be let down in some way or another...he he!

Saints, Sinners, and Almost Winners

We loaded up our car and took off for St. George to spend a day playing with Jen and her family and to watch Adam run the Ragnar Relay Las Vegas with my crazy runnin' family. We had a wonderful weekend; here's the rundown:

Friday morning, we all took showers in the "cool shower" at the condo. Amber loves it because it has a shower head that's connected to a hose, so she can spray everything from floor to ceiling inside the shower enclosure. Then, Adam packed up his running gear and we drove him to meet the caravan of runners who were crammed like sardines into two Suburbans to make their way to Overton to start the race.

We cruised over to Jen and Jimmy's cute house for a day full of fun and yummy food. The kids had a wonderful time playing together, I had a blast hanging out with my sis, and we culminated the day's activities with a trip to Red Lobster for dinner. Once the kids were tucked in, I took full advantage of the peace and quiet by painting my toenails and fingernails (a rare occurrence) with my favorite fall color. I finished watching "21" and went to bed early. It was pretty great, even though I did have to share the bed with Rex. That's never fun!

"Picnic Panic" was one of the many activities all the cousins enjoyed.

We woke up bright and early on Saturday, showered, ate, and I loaded up the kids so we could watch Adam cross the finish line with his team. We made it safely and the kids slept from Mesquite to Vegas. That was a nice drive! We ate a yummy lunch with Adam and Amy's family at Islands (hamburgers on whole-wheat buns...delish!) and quickly drove across the street to the finish line. After parking and weaving our way through the Red Rock Casino, we waited patiently for the last runner to approach. The kids had fun playing in the sand, and I loved watching all the teams finish the race. Some had outlandish costumes in which they traveled the entire 178 miles, and some of the runners' body shapes and sized amazed me.

Adam's darling sister, Amy, ran the race with him and they both were on the fast team...he he. I am so excited to run in a Ragnar Relay!

Here we have Utah Fold 'Em racing to the finish line. I was proud of Adam, Amy, Marianne, my mom, and my friends who took third place in their division. The other team, Utah Hold 'Em, took fifth, and I was also proud of my dad and Angela who ran with them.

They all posed with their cool medals and showed off their sweat stains accumulated in the 24-hour trek completed sans showers. Despite the craziness, I can't wait to have the baby and get into tip-top shape so I can run with Adam in the next race.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Grandma's Project

Whenever the cousins come over for a visit, they all want to have a sleepover on Grandma and Grandpa's floor. There is generally a dispute over blankets...who will share with whom, who gets which quilt, etc. Grandma Clark had a brilliant idea to make each grandchild a quilt that stays at her house. That way, everyone has their own cozy blanket at the ready when the urge to sleep over strikes. She has been working super hard to make 20 quilts, and each one is darling! She's carefully analyzed the personalities of each grandchild and hunted for flannel to match; both the front and back of every single quilt is adorable and perfectly suited to its recipient. Grandma Clark is great at making everything fun and exciting, and my girls can hardly wait to cuddle up in their new quilts. Thanks, Grandma!

My Kind of Tailgate Fare

A few Saturdays ago, Adam surprised me by bringing home a gorgeous filet of salmon from the grocery store. Generally, he hates fish, but my brother introduced us to potlach cedar-grilled salmon last year and we are addicted. I was so excited to have a delicious lunch of salmon, grilled zucchini, roasted new potatoes, juicy tomatoes fresh from our neighbor's garden (she brought me a whole bag...yum!), and Diet Pepsi while we watched college football all day. It doesn't get much better than that.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

It's a Chopper, Baby

Rex's hair has always been out-of-control; even his first hair cut at three weeks old couldn't tame the craziness. This morning, Adam and I had taken all we could bear and decided to get a jump on his Halloween ensemble by giving little Rexy a killer mohawk. He held very still and looks uber cool.

Rex loves to reach up and feel his spikes, and he gets a kick out of seeing his reflection in the mirror. We can't wait to see Coop's mohawk!