Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Dear Fellow Mothers and Fathers or Friends (with good advice and wisdom),

I have a few questions I need help answering and think maybe you can help. I'll give you more background information than you'd ever care to know, but might help you better understand my dilemma.

While we were dating, Josh and I often talked about the number of children we'd like to have. Each of us came from large families (7 kids in his family and 5 in mine)so our plan always included having a big crew of our own. We felt settled with the idea of 5.

Life didn't go as we had planned. Shortly after we were married, we realized that we had little control over our own fertility. (To this day, we still don't know why becoming pregnant takes so long for us...) It took a couple of years, fertility treatments and countless doctor appointments to finally conceive Jacob. Likewise, Kaylee was a product of medical intervention and heartfelt prayers. For those of you who struggle with infertility you can appreciate the absolute discouragement and deflation that comes with each failed pregnancy test. It is an emotional journey to say the least. One full of questions, few answers, countless needle pokes, tests, charts, doctors visits and tears. On the flip side of that, with each positive pregnancy test comes an indescribable joy and true understanding of the word "miracle".

Following the births of Jacob and Kaylee, the next two pregnancies seemed like literal miracles to me. I was just starting to get that inkling that it was time to begin the pregnancy "process" when I discovered that I was already expecting. It was a welcome relief from all of the anxiety-filled months and/or years of "trying" that I had become accustomed to in the previous pregnancies. Nevertheless, the years of trying and waiting and disappointment meant a longer child bearing phase than we had anticipated.

So here we are, prepping to become parents to our 4th and possibly final child. I have mixed emotions and feel conflicted. So, what is it exactly that I'm conflicted about? I have felt the last year or two that maybe 4 children (not 5 as previously mentioned) was the magic "Carver Crew" number. I was feeling pretty settled in that feeling until I learned that baby #4 was a boy. (FYI, I love boys...and girls!) For some reason, however, I always imagined having 2 little girls in my family. I was sure that this last baby would be a girl, and I could then move forward confidently in the decision that we were DONE. I could clear out all the extra baby stuff and finally have some space in my garage. I could focus a little more on me and truly getting back in good shape. I would be able to designate more permanent living arrangements for my children, knowing our family was all here. I could commit more time to helping in my children's classrooms, encouraging them in their talent development. I could start to prepare for the future that happens after the child bearing stage. So many reasons for wanting that DONE feeling. None of which are really that important when considering the grand scheme of things, I know.

If I'm honest, part of me wants that DONE feeling because I doubt my own abilities to be a good mother to more than 4. I already feel inadequate and am not sure that with all of my shortcomings I would be able to provide the loving, peaceful, positive atmosphere a 5th child would need. I wonder if the stress of 5 would do me in. (I personally don't want to occupy a bed at the local mental asylum, but think that could very well be my fate.)

I know baby #4 is not even here yet which makes this conversation so premature, but when you are trying to decide whether to make an "investment" in a new stroller system and crib and which things to save or to get rid of, the question of more children weighs heavily on one's mind. Every time I get the urge to go get rid of the baby girl clothes and accessories, I stop myself. The thought of selling them or giving them away makes me sad. However, the idea of a possible 5th child freaks me out. It's something Josh and I have talked about often lately. I'm making it a matter of prayer. I just wish I knew...

My question to all of you out there is this...How did you know? And when did the DONE feeling come? How did you know that it was Heavenly Father's will and not just your own desires or fears?

Conflicted in WA

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tornado Warning

Warning: Tornado alert. This little devil wreaks havoc and will make a disaster out of anything in his path. If you see him coming, I highly suggest that you take cover and hide or you may not be able to withstand the havoc and chaos that will soon follow.
I'm not sure where my nice, calm, clean child has gone, but I've been left instead with this whirlwind of energy that is uncontrollable.

Run for your lives. Lock your food cupboards and toy closests.

You've been warned. Not responsible for any destruction that ensues or loss of sanity that results.

Oops. Gotta run. I hear the winds beginning to pick up. Destruction is near.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

In Denial

It's crazy to think in less than 16 weeks we will be adding baby #4 (a boy) to our family. Truthfully, I'm in denial.

Don't misunderstand me. We are beyond thrilled to have another baby. I'm in love with newborns and feel an indescribable sense of sadness when my babies transition into toddlerhood. Perhaps this sadness comes because the independence they naturally start to crave means Mom (me) is no longer the #1 person in their little lives. Or, it could also be because toddlerhood and the accompanying tantrums mean chaos for me.

Either way, as I've watched Landon (now 2) start to enter into this toddlerhood phase, I'm sad for the little baby I have lost. He's been such an amazingly joyful little soul, and I have found such fulfillment from being his mother. So much of my attention has been on him the past few months as he's been making remarkable strides in his own development that I've had little time to ponder the fact that his baby role in the family will soon be replaced by his little brother.

Now, the fact of an approaching due date has hit me. I cannot live in denial any longer. I will soon be the mother of 4! (Four?!!) Four little precious spirits sent to earth from their Heavenly home to my home, with an expectation that they will be loved, cared for and taught truth. The more I think about the important role of motherhood, the more daunting it becomes. It is such a sacred trust, a special partnership with my husband and God. I am grateful that my Father in Heaven has blessed me with this amazing opportunity. I fall short of His expectations daily, but in the rare quiet moments of my day, as I have an opportunity to remember the joys of motherhood & the few things I do right, I know somehow He is still proud of me and my efforts. It makes me excited and nervous to contemplate becoming a mother all over again in just a few short months.

It's time to prepare for the new little one who will soon enlarge my heart all over again and help me to better understand our Father's love for us.
I am in denial no longer...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Girl Can Dream...Right?

Josh is constantly asking me throughout the year for gift ideas. "Your birthday is coming up," he'll say, "What do you want?" Or, "I have some ideas for our anniversary, but want to add something to it. Is there anything special you would like to receive?" Usually, I can't think of anything and let him do his best to surprise me. However, with Valentine's Day around the corner and our 12 year anniversary approaching in a few months, I gave my "wish list" a little more consideration.

Generally, I'm a very practical girl. However, as I'm getting closer to delivering our 4th child, I'm thinking it's time that I finally get a thing or two with some lasting quality.

Here are some ideas, Josh, just in case you happen to need some. (Haha.)

1. "Big Star": Maddie jeans from Buckle . (These could serve as some post-partum weight loss incentive come May...)

2. Juicy Couture Perfume (My current bottle is almost gone...I'm sure you want me to continue to smell good, right? Wouldn't want to be the stinky kid in class.)

3. A new phone with a texting plan (I've decided to leave the dinosaur age behind and join the "cool" texting kids.) 4. Coach purse (O.K... this might be a little far-fetched, but a girl's gotta dream, right? P.S. I promise not to keep spare packs of fruit snacks, crayons or wetwipes in it for the kids.)

Monday, January 11, 2010


Transitioning my barely 2 year old (who is currently too afraid to attempt climbing out of his crib) to a "big boy bed" is not my idea of fun. I like having a place I can put Landon for "time outs" when needed. However, in a little less than 4 months we will need the crib for the new baby, and thus the transfer process had to begin.

Here is Landon sleeping in the trundle of Jacob's bed. I came in late that night to check on him and thought it was so precious to discover Jacob snuggled up to Landon. Oh how I love those boys! (Sad to say...the next few nights were not as successful. Landon was uncooperative and constantly came out of his room.)

Friday, January 8, 2010

Friday Flashback: Halloween 2009

Halloween just might be my absolute favorite holiday. Sorry to all of you Christmas fans out there. (I do LOVE Christmas too, but there is just something so fun about playing make believe in dress up clothes for an entire month & decorating with witches, ghosts, goblins and pumpkins!)

This year, our family decided to all go as Harry Potter characters, probably influenced by Jacob's decision to have a Harry Potter birthday party a couple months later. We had a ton of fun! Oh, and so did the kids!Here are a few pictures from various Halloween events (Church "Trunk or Treat", adult Halloween costume party, Preschool Costume parade, etc):

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry: Special Mid-Winter B-day Session

Starring: New Head Boy, Jacob Carver

In honor of Jacob's 8th Birthday, we planned a Harry Potter party. Almost a year ago, he mentioned that he'd like that as his theme. Slowly, over the course of the past few months, a plan began to take shape. It wasn't long before I knew that this party would be like no other we had done before.

Invitations: We decided to send a Hogwarts acceptance letter as our invitation. And of course, it had to be hand delivered via owl post. Each envelope had an official wax seal bearing the letter "H" for Hogwarts. Because they were hand delivered I was able to use the Harry Potter address: Cupboard Under the Stairs, 4 Privet Drive etc. which the kids thought was fun. (For the paper bag owl pattern, go here . )

(Click to enlarge the letter for wording purposes.) The font was Blackladder ITC in a custom green color and the Hogwarts logo was found off the Internet.

Platform 9 3/4:

As all Harry Potter fans know, the only way to catch the Hogwarts Express is by accessing it via Platform 9 3/4, which is invisible to Muggle eyes. It is a brick wall found in between Platform 9 and Platform 10 at King's Cross Station. Would-be wizards must run through the barrier to hop aboard the magical train that will take them from London to Hogsmeade. Here is a picture of Platform 9 3/4 from the Harry Potter movies.
We knew the new students attending our special session of Hogwarts would need to catch the Hogwarts Express by accessing it via Platform 9 3/4 so construction of our own brick wall began. (It's amazing what a cheap shower curtain from Ross, a sponge and some red paint can do!)

Here's Jacob, getting ready to run through the wall to board the train!
Eager wizards, getting ready to bravely run through the wall!
An outside look at King's Cross Station.

All Aboard Hogwarts Express:
We wanted to give all of our wizards an opportunity to access Platform 9 3/4 and hop aboard the Hogwarts Express before arriving at Hogsmeade and continuining on with the party. Once the wizards ran through the brick wall, they were met with the smoke from the train (fog machine) and Harry Potter music. They quickly found their seats on the train and got busy filling out the "How Well Do You Know Hogwarts Students and Staff" sheet where they had to match the pictures with the names. (Two winners received Harry Potter Droobles Best Blowing Gum.)

Diagon Alley:
Diagon Alley is the hub for all wizard shopping needs. We decided to take our little wizards shopping so they could pick up their much needed school supplies, prior to arriving at Hogwarts.

First stop: Gringotts Wizarding Bank
Here, our wizards were given pouches of gold with which to buy their school supplies.
Next stop: Ollivander's Fine Wand Shop

To make the wands, Josh bought dowels from the craft store and made a lathe out of his drill and carved each wand by hand so that they were unique. He then stained them with various shades of stain and sealed each wand with a clear spray paint so the stain wouldn't rub off on the kid's hands. They turned out fabulous, and the kids were so excited to pick out their wand, or rather, have their wand "choose them" (as all wizards know, it is the wand that chooses the wizard).

Next Stop: Flourish & Blotts

Here, students picked up their potion jars and Spell & Charm books.

Other Shops passed along the way:

Quality Quidditch Supplies
Eeylops Owl Emporium Madam Malkins, Makers of Fine Robes

The Great Hall/ Sorting Hat Ceremony:
Following the shopping trip to Diagon Alley, students were taken to Hogwarts where they met together in the Great Hall for the traditional Sorting Hat Ceremony. Each wizard had the sorting hat placed on his/her head. After much thought, the Sorting Hat would shout out (via walkie talkies) which house the student had been placed in (Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff or Slytherin). The kids thought this was funny. The house divisions would come in handy later on in the party for the Quidditch teams.

Potions Class with Professor Snape:
Unfortunately, Professor Snape was ill, and therefore, I (Professor McGonagall) was forced to fill in. Potions class was a ton of fun. Students had the opportunity to make Snape's Slime as well as learn a special potion concoction for predicting the future (just a simple vinegar and baking soda mixture).
Snape's Slime Recipe:

2 oz. Elmer's White glue mixed with 1/4 cup water (in one bowl) Add food coloring of choice.

1/4 tsp. Borax mixed with with 1/4 cup warm water (in separate bowl) until majority of Borax is dissolved

Combine two mixtures and stir quickly. Use hands to form slime ball. Squeeze out any excess liquid and discard.

Store in air-tight container.


After Potions class it was time to expend some energy in a House Quidditch Tournament.

End of Birthday Session Cake & Presents:

Students returned to the Great Hall for the end of term birthday celebration complete with Hedwig Owl Cupcakes and Butter Beer (Cream Soda) while they enjoyed watching Jacob open his Muggle-inspired gifts.

Surprise Trip to Honeydukes Candy Shop (Party Favor Bags):
If you've seen the movies or read the books you surely know about Honeydukes and some of the most famous Harry Potter candies: Chocolate frogs, Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans, Ice Mice, Droobles, Acid Pops, Blood Pops as well as Albus Dumbledore's favorite muggle candy, Lemon Drops.

For some reason these candies are impossible to find locally & are insanely expensive online. However, a few trips to the Dollar Store & some creative labeling and we came up with our own line of Harry Potter worthy candy.
A few final pictures: