Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Merry Everything This Holiday

I just ordered our family Christmas card from Sams Club.  They won't be ready until Friday which means they won't mail out until Saturday (if I get them addressed right away) so they'll probably be late for Christmas but at least I was able to do something.  These are the pictures we used and the little family blurb.

"Mary Ellen joined our family 12-2-12 at 6:49 pm.  She weight 9 lbs 7 oz and measured 22 inches.  She is just perfect!  Nathan (2) is very active and repeats everything.  Samantha (4) loves to sing and make up songs.  Brian (6) rides his bike to 1st grade and loves going out with dad.  Melanie is very busy with 4 kids!  Dusty just finished his internship.  He will graduate and commission as a Lieutenant in the Army National Guard in April 2013."

We wish all of our family and friends a wonderful Christmas and New Year!!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A miracle is born!

Mary Ellen Allen arrived on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 6:49 pm.  She weighed 9 pounds 7 ounces and measured 22 inches long.  She has 10 perfect fingers, 10 perfect, really long toes, 2 beautiful eyes and the cutest button nose ever!  The wonderful nurses brought my wonderful present all tied up with this bow back from her first bath.  She is the most perfect baby and I am simply loving every moment of her life (yes even getting up in the middle of the night)!

I had my last Dr. appointment on Monday, 11-26 where my midwife stripped my membranes and reported I was dilated to a 4.  She ended our appointment by saying, "I'll see you later today or tomorrow to have that baby!"  You can imagine my frustration when Wednesday and Friday (my due date) both passed with no real contractions.  I had been super uncomfortable all week and felt like things were happening but I just hadn't had the tell-tell contractions that meant labor was here.  I was so frustrated that when Dusty suggested we go cut down our Christmas tree Saturday, I jumped at the idea.  What a perfect activity to tempt Murphy!  Surly hiking around in the snow for a few hours over 50 miles from our house would bring on labor!  Wrong!  We did get a perfect little Christmas tree though and the kids had a blast playing with the sleds.  It was a wonderful family outing.  Saturday night, Lacie stayed with the kids while Dusty and I went into Idaho Falls to walk the mall.  Walking brought on a lot more tightness and a lot more discomfort but again, no contractions so we came home to try and get a good night's sleep hoping contractions would wake me up.  Sunday morning- still no action so I went to Sacrament meeting with Brian and then came home because I was just too uncomfortable to sit any longer.

Finally Sunday afternoon about 2:30/3:00, I decided it was time to go to the hospital and check things out.  I still wasn't having contractions but I was so uncomfortable I just had to know if my body was progressing and if the baby was handling my super tight belly okay.

Upon arriving at the hospital, I was dilated to just beyond a 4 and baby sounds great.  So we walked the hospital for an hour which brought me to a 5. This was not enough progress to be considered in labor and not enough progress to be checked into the hospital officially.  We had 3 options:  1- go home and wait some more 2- walk some more or try something else for one more hour 3- have Susan, the midwife come in a break my water.  I didn't feel comfortable having my water broken because I didn't want to risk having to have other interventions (I especially did not want to have to have pitocin) and I was so uncomfortable that I just wanted to have the baby!  So we decided to go with option 2 and instead of walking more (I'd been walking all week and it didn't seem to do anything!), I decided to sit in the Jacuzzi tub.

I couldn't have been in the tub for more than 5 minutes when my contractions finally started!  They were strong and regular but the tub felt good so I just sat and soaked up the warm water and bubbles for about 40 more minutes.  When I got out of the tub I was dilated to an 8 and Mary was born about an hour later!!!  It was actually kind of funny to observe the nursing staff when I got out of the tub.  They were as shocked as I was that things had happened so quickly.  They called the midwife to come to the hospital, Dusty called my mom to drive down, I was strep B positive so they quickly tried to get an IV antibiotic in me, they tried to monitor the baby all while I was having stage 3 contractions every 1-3 minutes.  I actually remember laughing out loud and shaking my head at how crazy and fast things were happening.  I just couldn't help but think that I have a weird psychological disorder that won't allow me to go into labor until I'm already in the hospital.  I guess I just needed to relax!  I had a hard time pushing because the baby was turned sideways.  The midwife had me push for a couple of contractions while laying on my side.  This downright hurt but it worked and I was able to turn back on my back and push her the rest of the way out just a minute or two later.

Mary was a loud crier and she would not be consoled!  She kept crying and crying which worried the midwife so she called the pediatrician.  They were worried she had broken her collar bone while being pushed out but the x-rays came back fine.  After she nursed and snuggled into mama, she settled down.  We were worried she would be high strung and cry all the time but we've learned quickly that she just likes to be snuggled tight and to avoid too much stimulation.  She absolutely hates being changed!

She is nursing well but still drinks 2 oz formula after each nursing.  Once she gets full and burped, she settles right in for a nap.  She will sleep for 3 or 4 hours stretches at night which means that I am feeling fabulous!  Brian, Samantha, and Nathan all love her and want to hug her and kiss her all the time.  Brian especially wants to pick her up all the time which I'm not okay with yet so we keep practicing.  Other than a few emotional outbursts by just about everyone in the family except I think Dusty, we are all adjusting well.  I'm so grateful for Dusty and how willing he is to take care of the older children so I can focus on the baby.  We are also super grateful for my mom who came over everyday last week to cook dinner for us after the many meals from the ward were consumed.  She did our laundry and just spread a lot of love and care around.  Things would have been really hard without her.

Funny note:  Out of the 5 meals we were brought (for which we were very grateful!) 3 of them were pizza.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Business of Waiting

As I sit awake in the middle of the night (again) uncomfortable but not “in labor” I find myself pondering this business of waiting.  As a teenager, I often had trouble spelling the word business and so taught myself to pronounce it busy-ness in order to remember the i.  I have indeed tried to stay busy while waiting for this special girl to be born into our family.  I have cleaned the house many times over- just in case today’s the day.  I have been able to sew: a diaper bag, a nursing pillow cover, 3 nursing “house dresses” and 3 big sibling bags.  I have also been able to help Dusty get ahead with his homework so that hopefully he will not miss anything when the big day arrives. 

However, even with staying busy, I got pretty discouraged and frustrated earlier today that yet another day had passed with no “action”.  Tonight, I finally decided to be proactive and learn a little bit about waiting in order to be more patient.  Here’s what I came up with from the phenomenal book, “The Gift of Giving Life”:

In Hebrew, the word wait is the same as the word hope.

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint.”
“Waiting denotes an active process…requires continual self-examination, constantly trying to become more worthy, and ever-deepening and progressive discipleship of a broken heart, a contrite spirit, a yielded will and consecration of self.  When we know that the guidance is of the Lord and the answer to our prayers are spiritual gifts, we cannot control or demand.  We must be content and peaceful.”  ~Dr. Lynn Callister

Just as the baby’s body is continuing to develop and gain weight in the last weeks and days of pregnancy, so their spirit is gaining the last moments of instruction and love from Heaven. 

Also, as a matter of perspective, most of the things we “wait” for in life that are tied to a calendar we don’t really have to wait for.  Waiting for Christmas to arrive on the 25th of December is nothing like waiting for the snow to melt and Spring to arrive.  Waiting for Halloween to arrive on the 31st of October is nothing like waiting to meet that special someone to whom you will marry.  Waiting for school to get out on the 28th of May is nothing like waiting to receive an answer to a prayer.

I have tried so hard this pregnancy to not focus on my baby’s due date but I am so accustomed to events on the calendar coming and going precisely when they are planned that I find myself viewing my baby’s birth in the same way.  However, as I wait/hope for my baby’s arrival, I’m starting to understand that hoping for my baby’s birth is more like having faith that the Lord will bless me.  I pay tithing with the faith that our bills will be taken care of (this kind of hope doesn’t have a date attached to it and yet the bills are “due” on a certain day and the monetary blessings always come through before the due date.)

As I continue to wait upon the Lord and our daughter, I hope to be able to be more patient with my new understanding.  I have done what I need to do. I know that I need to continue to keep myself healthy by eating right and getting good rest.  I can choose to be hopeful instead of waitful by taking advantage of this “extra” time to prepare for our baby’s arrival.  I can visualize her learning at the feet of my Grandmother or other loved ones gaining that last minute instruction that will help her have the strength and wisdom she will need on this earth.

Sidenote:  I’ve been so focused on waiting that the lyrics from this song keep popping in my head.  Anyone recognize them?  (hehe)

Doesn't morning wait for the sun to rise
Like a birthday waits for a big surprise
Like a baby waits for a diaper change
Doesn't laughter wait for a joke that's good
Like the big bad wolf for Red Riding Hood
Like a cowboy waits to be home on the range
After all I've said and all I've done
To prove my love is true
And now you ask if I'll wait for you
Doesn't mother wait for the bread to rise
Like a burger waits for an order of fries
Like a chicken waits for the egg to hatch
Didn't Alice wait for a Wonderland
Like Captain Hook did for Peter Pan
Like the alphabet waited for the letter Z
Like a faithful girl waits for her missionary

Monday, November 26, 2012


I have so many blessings!  I was especially grateful for my mother this Thanksgiving.  Being 9 months pregnant, the thought of preparing for a thanksgiving feast along with all the cleaning for company was completely overwhelming to me.  Words can't describe how nice it was for me to be able to drive a mile over to my parents beautiful home and enjoy such a family holiday without a care (okay, I brought the ice cream).  Especially so close to my due date, our Thanksgiving dinner would have been significantly less enjoyable had I been left to my own devices.
I shared my gratitude with my mom and tried to find words to express to her how incredibly nice it was for me not to have to worry about things and still be able to enjoy such a wonderful holiday.  Her reply was simply, "at least someone appreciates it."  I'm sure this was in part her attempt at modesty but it occurred to me how little mothers, and even grandmothers receive in return for their limitless service.  The best part is how mothers don't often seem to mind or even notice the lack of thanks and praise in their lives.  They would do it all again in a heartbeat.  I am so grateful for my mothers and grandmothers and their endless love and service and I hope to be able to emulate them.

With that said, my one contribution to the holiday was these super amazing paper cornucopia name cards and I helped set the table.  These pictures were taken by my sister, Sarah- fantastic!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Halloween Happenings

We threw a Halloween Bash for a few of our close friends.  We took these pictures before everyone arrived and then we had so much crazy fun, we didn't get any other pictures!  We played murder and curses with the adults while the kids ran wild and had SO much fun.

The kids at the school PTO carnival.  Nathan saw this bouncy house (Thomas the Train) and went crazy!  It was all he could do to wait his turn in line.  He kept laughing this super excited laugh while waiting- best sound ever!  It was super cute to watch Nate and Samantha trying to play mini golf.  Brian actually did pretty good.  

Also, our friend took these two AMAZING pictures of Brian and Nathan in their costumes.  I wasn't going to reveal costumes until Halloween night but these pictures are just too good!!!  She is just starting out her photography business, or

And... (we really, really like Halloween at our house) the pumpkin carving!  Dusty and Nathan teamed up.  Samantha and Mom teamed up and Brian did his 100% by himself!!!  Nathan was super hesitant at first and made some great faces when Dusty tried to get him to help scoop out the goopy pumpkin seeds.  It was great fun! Samantha dug right in and insisted on a "grumpy" face.  Brian just had to add eyebrows.  Love these kids!  And let's not fail to mention my almost 9-month pregnant belly joining in the fun for pictures.

I just have to point out that Dusty carved the word "BOO" on the top of his pumpkin as an "exhaust valve"  You can see the reflection in the glass- so fun!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

First Snow

 I've been itching to do a blog post!  The other day we had our 1st snow of the season and I actually remembered to get some pictures.  I was surprised that Samantha was so excited and eager to go out and play.  While she can be very active, she seems to be kind of a home body.  She had a blast!  Nathan, on the other hand has been particularly fearless but was quite hesitant with the snow at first.  Here are some pictures.  After playing in the snow, Nathan and Samantha enjoyed warming their toes by the fire with Lacie (our live-in "nanny").  The picture of Nathan in the laundry basket is how I found him one day when I went to wake him up from his nap.  I really can't believe he slept in it for his nap but I guess it must have been comfortable.    We're in the thick of Halloween activities and will post about those soon!

Friday, September 28, 2012


 September positively flew by!

Brian started 1st grade!

Mom: How was your day?
Brian: A little frustrating.
Mom: Really, What happened?
Brian:  It just took so loooong!

I guess 1st grade took a little getting used to but he's doing well despite having to go to the principal's office already (He pushed a boy for wrecking his sandcastle at recess)!  We're working on communicating feelings instead of being physical when things don't go our way.  I'm pretty sure being physical as a 6-year old boy is "normal" and that Brian's communication will improve with age and practice but it's a little stressful getting phone calls from the principal and teacher about your child's behavior.  While the whole situation has made me look really hard at the way Dusty and I parent, I have to keep telling myself that we really are doing what we believe is right for our children.

Samantha started pre-school!

I'm doing an at-home preschool group with 2 other moms.  We picked our own curriculum and we've been having fun.  She's been so excited to go each week and she's done much better with getting dressed and doing hair and going potty and all that grown up stuff.  The first week, her teacher did a little interview with her.  These are her answers:

Name: Samantha Jane Allen
Age: (holds up 4 fingers)
Mom's name: Melanie
What does your mom do during the day?  Works
Dad's Name: Dusty
What does your dad do during the day? Goes to drill
Favorite color: Blue
Favorite food: Macaroni & Cheese
Favorite song:  Ring Around the Roses
Who's in your family?  Little sister, and little brother, and big brother.
Favorite place to go:  ummm..... to the store
Favorite thing to do:  Play games
What do you like about your mommy?  She let's me have a piece of candy.
What do you like about your daddy?  That he lets me go with him.
Favorite book: Horton hears a Who.
What do you want to be when you grow up?  A fire fighter!

Nathan is definitely in the thick of his terrible twos.  He can throw a tantrum!  However, he is learning more and more each day.  He can pick out a shirt and some pants (they usually don't match) and bring them to me to help him put them on.  He is also learning how to jump up things.  He tries to both-feet jump up the curb but it's just a little too high so he ends up doing a little step/hop one foot at a time.  Then he'll look up at me and wait for me to applaud.  (I found these pictures from his birthday back in July.)

Dusty started his 2nd to last semester at BYU-I and he is busy busy busy.  He is doing his internship this semester.  His 12 credits (which feels more like 18 because of his auto class and lab) his 20-hour/week internship, scout calling,  splitting firewood and the million projects he has going in the garage keep him hopping from one thing to the next and not having quite enough time to finish anything.  He did however, build some shelves in our shed for me so I was able to organize all of that stuff!

I am loving being home with my kids during the day.  I really missed Brian that first day of school!  I really enjoy being such a big part of Samantha's pre-school experience and even though Nathan drives me crazy with his repetitious mom, mom, mom, mom, or snack please, or look big tractor repeated 10 times, his innocence and joy in life bring smiles to my heart daily.  He is so quick to laugh, forgive and love.  I am enjoying being pregnant but just starting to get to that stage where some moving around is getting a little difficult.  The other day, I walked through the kitchen 4-5 times before I convinced myself to bend over and pick up the toy car that was on the floor.  hehe.  I have felt very close to the little spirit growing inside me and I just can't wait to meet her.  She is one STRONG baby and especially likes to kick and tumble about at night (right when I'm settling in to go to sleep).  She and Dusty have poking contests.  She'll kick and he'll poke her and she'll kick back and on it goes until I put a stop to it.  I have moment when I wish the end of November here right now and then remind myself that it will probably be here all too soon and I try to just enjoy the ride.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

At Summer's End

Here is a recap of our amazing summer:

We survived Dusty being gone at LDAC for one month!
Samantha turned 4!
Nathan turned 2!
We found out our new little baby (due Nov. 30th) is a girl!
We had several wonderful family reunions- Junction, UT (Tolman), Midway, UT (Fillmore), Lake George, CO (Allen)  Am I forgetting any trips?
Would you believe that we didn't take a single picture while we were in Colorado?!?!  We're terrible!!!
 Nate swinging at a pinata at Samantha's birthday.
 Samantha's new cabbage patch doll and stroller.
The awesome pinata I made for the Tolman reunion with Brian swinging his heart out!

Here's a Preview of what is to come:
Dusty starts his Last year of College!  Whoot Whoot!  He's doing his internship this fall so it will be pretty busy.  He's been working on all kinds of projects in the garage including a sandrail and don't forget the many trips to the woods to cut firewood.  I keep telling him it's really okay for us to use the furnace once in a while but he really enjoys having a fire and I think he enjoys going to get the wood too.

Melanie is getting more and more pregnant every day.  I am so excited to welcome this little girl into our family!  If all goes well, I will also have gall bladder surgery soon after she's born.   Oh, how I have missed chocolate, butter, and 2% milk!  I'm still absolutely loving being at home full-time and I have been able to do so much sewing and crafting.  The other day, I made Brian a pair of pajama shorts which he though were the coolest thing ever!  (Confession:  I'm already thinking about starting on Halloween costumes for this year)

Brian is starting 1st grade!  He is excited to be able to eat lunch at school and use his new school supplies.  He is getting more and more independent and just loves to go go go!  We just got a little motorbike that Dusty is teaching him to ride.  He's not quite tall enough to straddle it yet which I'm grateful for- I'm not quite ready for him to be that grown up yet.  

Samantha is also starting preschool.  We're just doing at-home preschool on a rotation with a few other moms/kids.  She's excited and keeps asking when she gets to go to preschool.  She is still super imaginative and I find her playing all sorts of games with all sorts of things.  Did you know that colored pencils make great characters?

Nathan is growing up SO fast.  He is talking up a storm and running and jumping even more.  I have never seen a 2-year old with his muscle control and balance.  He teaches all his friends who come over how to go down the stairs on their bellies face first.  He still loves tractors and cars. He also loves going for rides with Daddy.  I've had to literally run after him a couple of times when dad had to leave him behind and he tries to run after him anyway.  

Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Busy Summer

 Nathan with his new Mouse (won at the fish pond at the Menan festivities 4th of July)
 Samantha posing! (Also 4th of July)
 The fish pond (4th of July)
 Bear in Yellowstone!!!
 All the cousins in Yellowstone.
 Gigantic Elk in Yellowstone!
Brian riding the train at the Fillmore reunion in Midway.

We've been busy!  We took a trip to Junction, UT for my mom's Tolman reunion.  Then Dusty left for LDAC.  Then we went camping and to Yellowstone with Mom and Dad, and Jen's family.  Then we left for the big Fillmore reunion in Midway, UT!  Whew!  The kids did awesome on all the outings except for a hysterical Nathan who woke up in a dark tent and couldn't find mom (I had to go potty!) but dad took us for a drive to calm him down.  I'm so grateful for such wonderful family and extended family and all the help I get when Dusty's away.  A couple of the pictures are from 4th of July festivities too!  It's the first year, we skipped the big fireworks but I don't think the kids missed them too much and I definitely did great without any tantrums or meltdowns that would have come from over tired kids.  Overall, it has been a fantastic summer with many more great memories to come.  I love our family!!!