Wednesday, June 25, 2008

It's all about the accessories

Before Chloe was born I had lots of fun making hair accessories and little bracelets. So far Chloe has been a good sport about being Aunt Jemima (though Birch is sure I am squeezing her brain too tight) and adorning all her jewels. I love having a little girl!!
Chloe - 3 days old
I made this flower pot to announce Chloe's birth at Birch's work. All of his co-workers and patients have been so excited to share in the joy of Chloe's birth. The flower pot is filled with "Sixlets" -- get it...six kids..."Sixlets."

Monday, June 23, 2008

Baby Mine

Birch did a wonderful job sharing the joy we have for our new little girl. Chloe and I slipped home from the hospital after the kids were all in bed last night. We both enjoyed the comfort of our own bed and slept much better than the previous night at the hospital.

I can't really add more to the birth story of Chloe Ruth. It turned out just the way I wanted...peaceful, quick, spiritual, joyful, and practically painfree (shh...don't tell the pioneer women). Her umbilical cord was so short that we could barely pull Chloe up on my tummy before Birch cut her cord. The nurse was wonderful and caring and allowed Birch and me all the time we wanted to snuggle with Chloe before she was all cleaned up. At our hospital the baby never leaves your room so we have been able to enjoy each moment of Chloe's first days here on earth.

The kids ALL love Chloe to pieces and we have had to referee several arguments over who gets to hold her next. Birch printed them each pictures to take to church on Sunday and share with their friends. From what I hear they were all very proudly sharing their new sister with whoever would listen to them.

We continue to be so blessed with so many friends that have cared for our children, fed our tummies, and lent a hand wherever it's been needed. We are ever so grateful!
The whole gang - Sunday morning - Chloe (one day old)
Chloe Ruth - 2 days old



Saturday, June 21, 2008

From a Dad's Perspective...

I suppose most who have witnessed birth must feel humbled by it. Observing a child coming into the world is a very miraculous and amazing experience. This is my sixth time. While most of the procedural stuff (checking into the hospital, monitoring the baby, nurses running here and there, IV poles, etc) is familiar and even comfortable, there is nothing ordinary about holding a newborn baby.

Even though I have not personally experienced pregnancy, feeling the baby move, labor, or delivery, I have been by the side of my sweet Sara who is a champion in all regards. She is brave, compassionate, loving, calm, focused, and beautiful. During the birth of each one of our children, I have marveled at how she pays attention to every detail, seems to do everything right, and hangs in there until the end.

This time was no exception. Sara and I went to hospital at 6:00 this morning; she had an epidural at 9:45; the midwife broke the water at 10:15; and at 11:26 a.m. Chloe Ruth Ditto was announcing her presence (with a pretty good set of lungs!). Chloe weighed 6 lbs. 4 oz. and was 17 1/2 inches short. Her APGAR scores were 9 and 10 (those numbers permit a bit of bragging by a proud father). She is born on the same day as my little sister Blayre (also the sixth child and second girl).

As I take over Sara's blog for this single post, let me share my love and gratitude for her. She is an amazing woman, a caring and nurturing mother, and a fun and compassionate wife. Our children are a source of great joy, and I love each of them dearly. I love my life as a father. Sometimes I wonder why the Good Lord has blessed me so.

Lest I wax too mushy, let me add that Chloe seems to have been born with sleeping habits like her mother; with her mouth open...








Here is Sara dressed in her hospital threads, just before all the action began.





Ya gotta love that face.





Chloe seems content with her surroundings.





The happy Daddy




Sleeping soundly







WELCOME CHLOE!!


Friday, June 20, 2008

Best if used by...

This family photo is just about to expire...
June 15, 2008
(front row: mom, Tyler (7.5), dad, Cooper (2); back row: Alysee (almost 6), Nate (4), Alex (almost 10)

I know I have a big ol' smile on my face in this picture but my family can attest that I have actually been a grump for several days now. Generally, my sleeping schedule has not been desirable for quite some time. In fact, last night I was excited when I woke up at 2:15 am as opposed to 4:00 am because I thought that it would be easier for me to fall back asleep. Nope, I am now beginning the day thoroughly exhausted and grouchy. What a nice combo!

My doctor's appointment was pretty uneventful yesterday afternoon. I'm ready to go and again my midwife says that she doesn't think I'll make it to my Saturday morning induction. I had some big time contractions in the evening but the night was fairly calm. I'm sure once I am up and moving today they will start again. The kids are all SO anxious and keep asking me if I think the baby will come today.

I've been asked by several friends if I am "ready." Each time I clean the bathroom or buy another gallon of milk I say to myself "if we could just stop eating, or wearing clothes, or letting the boys use the bathroom I could be ready." We did go to bed with clean toilets, the laundry all caught up, and I plan on buying some more milk today.

I remember several years ago my doctor telling me that they can usually tell when a woman is in "false" labor because she comes to the hospital with freshly painted toenails, shaved legs, sweet smelling lotions, and a smile on her face. All week I've considered skipping my showers and letting my chipped toe nails speak for themselves. I just couldn't do it, though. I've even been wearing deodorant all week.

Birch took Alex and Tyler rock climbing this morning at 6:00 am. He assures me the cell phone will work where they are going or he will turn around and come home. He knows his absence is a sensitive subject with me right now. We don't really have any other big plans for the day. Birch is off of work since we had hoped today would be the day. Guess it still could...

I'm so grateful for our friends here that have offered to care for the other kids at any hour. It is so nice to feel other's support and excitement during this time. Let's hope that by midmorning tomorrow Chloe is here in my arms!

Monday, June 16, 2008

The guessing game

I've never been much for games which is kind of a bummer since I married into a game-lovin' family. There is one game that I have always quite enjoyed. Birch thinks it is kind of a dumb pointless game..."the guessing game" but I am really quite good at it and find it quite enjoyable.

Wanna play?? If you want to make your GUESS on when Chloe Ruth Ditto will be born, her weight and length you can leave it in your comment. If you say she will be born after this Saturday I will be dropping you from our Christmas Card list.

Just to give you a little help here are the stats of the other kids:




Alex
7 lb. 15 oz
21 inches
Two days overdue














Sara Elizabeth Ditto
September 4, 1999
4 oz
12.4 cm.
Born at 19.5 weeks gestation















Buried in Missoula, MT













Tyler
7 lbs. 2 oz
18 3/4 inches
2 weeks early








Alysee
5 lbs. 8 oz.
18 1/2 inches
2 weeks early










Nathan
6 lb.
19.5 inches
1 week early
















Cooper
5 lbs. 14 oz.
18 inches
1 week early














Chloe Ruth Ditto
Weight?
Length?
Born?





I had my doctor's appointment this morning and nothing much has changed since last week. This is an ultrasound picture from today (though not a great one--it is a side profile of her face and her hand in front of her face). Though my fundal measurement is small, the ultrasound measurements seem right on track. My midwife "gently" stripped me today and I have had little action since. She doesn't think I will "last" until this Friday but then again that is what she said last week. There are currently no promises about a Friday induction...it all depends on their being room at the hospital. I have another appointment on Thursday afternoon for a second more vigorous stripping. Come on Chloe!!!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day 2008!

Happy Father's Day to the man I fell in love with over twelve years ago...
Birch and Sara in Corvallis, OR - October 1996

I know you would climb mountains for your children...
Scout campout at The Feathers, WA - April 2008

You are the love of our lives!Birch and kids - June 15, 2008

Friday, June 13, 2008

In a daze

I know that for many the event of your children eating a new menu item wouldn't be a huge deal...but at the Ditto house when four out of five children eat something new AND don't complain it is worth remembering.

Two nights ago I was in a quandary over what to make for dinner. I had some hamburger buns but we have already eaten our far share of hamburgers and BBQ chicken sandwiches in the past couple of weeks. Hum...sloppy joes came to my mind. What a crazy thought it was since I have never really liked them and have NEVER attempted or been tempted to make them. My kids LOVE tacos; so I went to google and typed in Taco Sloppy Joes. I whipped up a batch with a very simple recipe and called them Taco Burgers (I knew the "sloppy joe" part might be an immediate turn off). As I dished them up and I could already imagine the whines and comments I was going to hear. Lo and behold after prayer they all opened their mouths and began eating the Taco Burger only to say "Mom, these are really good." I sat eating in shock the whole meal especially as Tyler (my pickiest eater) ate one and half sandwiches.

So I am passing on this recipe to you. Maybe it will be a new favorite at your household too. (I am still wondering if I were to make them again today would I get the same result?)

TACO BURGERS

sloppy joe recipe dinner
1 lb. ground beef (I used turkey burger)
1 pkt. (1-1/4 oz.) Taco Seasoning Mix
1 can tomato soup

8 hamburger buns, split

BROWN meat; drain. Add seasoning mix and soup. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 10 min., stirring occasionally.

FILL buns with the meat mixture.

I served them with salsa, lettuce, and cheese; though most of us just had the meat mix and cheese.


Here's another tasty muffin recipe that I made for dinner last night and served up with homemade Egg McMuffins and applesauce.

Banana Crumb Muffins



INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 bananas, mashed
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup oil
TOPPING
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon butter

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease 10 muffin cups, or line with muffin papers.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder , cinnamon, and salt. In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, egg and oil. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and cinnamon. Cut in 1 tablespoon butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle topping over muffins.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.
Just in case you were wondering...I'm still pregnant. I had contractions all throughout the night that kept waking me up. A nap is sounding quite "tasty" today! Next Friday should be the BIG day unless the BIG day arrives earlier than planned. Can't wait to hold this little girl and introduce her to her family!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Torn between two places

This past weekend Birch and I had to make a really hard decision. Birch's brother Logan was being honored with the HUGE achievement of graduating from dental school. Even until the night before the graduation we tried to figure out how we could make the weekend work, and would it be smart to be two hours away from home or be separated if I stayed home. Being dilated to a 2 and 90% effaced (and with a history of one hour labors) I was told by my midwife that we would be crazy to head out on an adventure at this point in the pregnancy.

So we sent our well-wishes to the graduation party and filled our weekend with lots of other activities. Friday night Birch took the four younger kids to our annual church camp out. It was a blustery night but the kids had a fabulous time! They roasted hot dogs and marshmallows, stayed up until 11:30 pm (apparently Nate and Coop couldn't stop giggling and talking in their sleeping bags), went fishing, and explored nature. It was Coop's first memorable campout and I think he is hooked.
Aren't my kids lucky that their dad would head to the mountains with just him? Luckily a few other dads from church helped out with pitchin' our very large tent. Tyler had a great time going crazy in the woods.Coop loved every minute of being in the outdoors.Alysee was so at-one in nature that she slept in until 9:00 am, when Birch finally decided that he had better wake her up if she was going to get any breakfast.
Nate was probably the most excited to go camping. When I asked him what he was most looking forward to the most he answered "going fishing and roasting hot dogs on the fire." Well, Birch didn't let him down. Since Nate is such an early riser, the two of them went fishing at 5:30 am. Though Nate didn't end up catching anything he still had a great time.

While Birch and most of the kids were camping, Alex and I were at his Little League tournament. After Friday's game I decided to try and make the night special since Alex and I get little one-on-one time. We watched a movie in bed and ate Alex's favorite Papa Murphy's cheese bread and a DQ blizzard. We had a really nice time together!

Alex played Friday night and Saturday morning. Both games were really competitive and Alex loved the challenge. He did a great job pitching each game. Birch and I were both really proud of him because when he heard that their final tournament game was to be on Sunday afternoon, he had no hesitation in telling his coach that Sunday is a day that he spends with his family and at church. The coach understood, and Alex set a great example for all of us on choosing the right even when it is hard. Overall Alex had a great season and it was really cool to see how the whole team improved so much over the season. Alex is already looking forward to next year!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

My daytime buddies

Dragons Nate and Coop May 2008

With school getting out early next week I can't help but think about how I'll be losing my two daytime buddies. No, they won't be going anywhere but it won't be the same with all the other kids home and a new baby. The three of us have done a lot of fun things throughout the year. Not only have we made it to the library and storytime almost weekly but we have had plenty of trips to the grocery store, lunches at daddy's work, playdates at the park, etc... I'll miss the quiet moments on the couch reading stories before naptime (I'm sure both of those things will still be happening, it's just that they will no longer be "quiet moments.") I sure love these two boys!

Honestly I am a bit scared about the summer arriving next week. I've always planned and carried out fun activities and academic lessons throughout the summer for the kids. Can I keep up the tradition with a new baby and a potentially worn out mom? This past week I've been busy preparing summer lessons for each day of the week; hopefully Alex can help by being the substitute teacher during the summer when I need an extra hand. I found an AWESOME website that has lots of great homeschooly type lessons for each day of the week that I will be using this summer. It is geared for the younger audience but I think Alex and Tyler will still have fun and be able to participate. Now if I can just gear myself up for loading six kids in the car and actually going to do something fun...that might be a different story.

Side note: I'm just shy of being 37 weeks prego today. At my appointment this morning I was 90% effaced and still dilated to a one. We're planning on Chloe Ruth Ditto (name still subject to change) being born on Friday, June 20th. I've done my best to plan...now we will just have to see who is in charge : )

Tear jerker

I'm sure you have all heard about this story by now but it still made me cry.