Happy Easter

We had a beautiful Easter- spread over a few days. We dyed eggs Friday night for “Family Fun” we hid two sets of plastic eggs inside on Sunday and then hid our boiled eggs outside on Monday (Since Sunday was rainy and cold, and Monday was beautiful.) We had our spiritual lesson on Monday for Family Home Evening, as Sunday was taken up with church and dinner with the Vogel’s. I managed to get one quite snap shot on Easter when the rain broke for 15 minutes before church. It’s a pretty accurate portrayal of our family: Anders looking sweet, Scotland being silly, me smiling though clearly stressed out, and Tom trying to keep the peace. I’m not sure why Easter Sundays are always so stressful for me. I’m afraid the attempt to get two wiggly high energy boys to church without dirtying their clean pressed shirts, or rumbling their brushed hair is an overachievement. But I keep trying, unsuccessfully- adding a family picture to the equation was the sinker this year. Thanks to the classical radio station for calming my nerves before Sacrament meeting.







IMG_4968The boys had so much fun with all the egg hunts. They loved hiding the eggs for each other, and for us. Anders ran around the yard enthusiastically, exclaiming whenever he found an egg. And Scotland was determined to find the “hard” ones we had hid for him.

I prepared the “Easter Bag” activity from the Friend, for FHE. It involved a collection of items that symbolized different events in the last week of the Savior’s life. We then read the scriptures and the boys found the item mentioned. I’m still surprised at how well my boys understand the scriptures. Anders excitedly picked up the little plastic cup when I read “Let this cup pass from me.” As is the norm their was a good measure of silliness, but I hope that the boys felt some of the spirit that I felt. Especially as I read the passage of Christ appearing to Mary before he ascended to the Father. The emotion captured there is stirring. I felt a measure of the joy Mary must have felt at seeing her Lord alive, and was glad to be able to bear testimony to the boys of the living Christ.

I’m so grateful for sacred holidays for bringing these discussions to the forefront. I’m grateful for a church that nurtures spirituality in my boys. There are few things that I love more than hearing them sing primary songs as they play- often filling in lyrics or making up melodies where their memories fail them. I’m grateful for how their testimonies strengthen mine. Mostly, I’m grateful for my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for filling my heart with joy, my mind with truth, and my soul with peace.

New Foutz Rule

One of the largest take home messages I got from the Positive Discipline philosophy was, if it only works for a week- “Great! It worked for a week!” So who knows the duration of this latest success, but I’m reveling in it as long as I can.

There was a long period where dinner time conversation became a string of “I don’t like that.” “Do I have to eat this?” “How many more bites” and “I do wannit.” As any mother knows by the time dinner rolls around, if a hot meal has been prepared and presented and then received in this ungrateful tone, it’s hard to handle.

I was particularly taken aback by it, because this sort of pickiness was new in our home, at least from Scotland. I wasn’t sure where the sudden change in taste buds were coming from. All I knew was, I didn’t like it.

I took to saying “You don’t have to like you, you just have to eat it.” Which of course didn’t come off very sympathetic and didn’t earn many followers. But I have an abhorrence for pickiness. I believe the world would be a better place if people just ate what they were served and were grateful for it- both in terms of food and life in general.

When considering the question “How do I want to raise my boys” it struck me that the best way to know how to raise my boys was to look at the world and say “What does the world need?” (I also think this is a beautiful way to choose a career.) The world needs more gentlemen, more who are grateful and appreciative, more optimism, more work ethic, more thrift. .. I could go on and on. But the one that struck a chord relating to this post was- the world needs fewer people who complain.

So a new Foutz rule was formed.

No complaining at the dinner table. You can think it, but you can’t say it. If you do, you are welcomed to your room for the rest of dinner.

I proposed the idea to Tom and he was on board and presented it to the boys that very night. (Thank goodness it came from him, and not me, he practically walks on water in the boys’ eyes.) We had a few warnings the first few nights, but now- all it takes is the start of a groan- the “eye” and they clam up. I was delighted. That’s all I hoped for, a shift from dinner time conversation being taken up by “If you take three more bites. . .” and turned to “How was your day?” But the most delightful side effect is that the boys are now eating and liking seemingly everything I make! My boys are now requesting seconds of spinach salad with a balsamic vinaigrette! They scarf down romaine lettuce, and have welcomed the recent addition of many more vegetable sides at our meals. It’s really quite miraculous. Cooking has become more enjoyable, I don’t dread dinner. And I’ve been throwing together a green salad almost every night- because it no longer feels like a waste.

I’m right peachy about it all. Here’s hoping it keeps up!


It’s fall, we went on vacation

Summer has been over for a good month, but it’s really felt like it the last week or so. There’s been a culinary shift. We eat pretty seasonally, since the bulk of our diet is vegetable based. Butternut squash has replaced green beans, applesauce- fresh berries. Today I made a batch of Myrtle’s applesauce. Grandma Myrtle was a dear friend whom we adopted in Cleveland as Scotland’s “Grandma.” She cooked great southern food, including a scrumptious applesauce. I hope I never forget the time we stopped by to visit and, as was the norm, she sat us down at her table to eat. Scotland was just starting on solids, but I gave him a taste of what amounted to apple pie in puree form, sans crust. He downed the whole bowl so fast I hardly got a taste. Myrtle happily supplied me with a large second helping. The next fall I called to ask the secret to her fabulous sauce: “Oh, you just cook down a variety of apples then add butter, sugar, and cinnamon until it tastes good!” Butter! I wouldn’t have come to that on my own. So today, I made a batch of applesauce that even Myrtle would agree “tastes good” with plenty of butter, sugar and Penzies apple pie spice. It’s divine. I think of Myrtle often, I miss her, but I feel closer to her now, that she’s in heaven. I like to think she can hear me when I talk to her, and that she checks in on me, just like she used to. We love you, Grandma Myrtle.

We spent the week in the San Juan Islands, Orcas Island specifically. One of the perks of Tom’s job is that he gets four weeks of vacation. And they can only be taken in two one week chunks and one two week chunk. We can request certain months for vacation, but specific dates are chosen for us, and they are selected in July for the following year. It forces us to plan, and make use of his time, as it is so special. It also means they don’t always coincide with family get togethers. I hate that Tom often misses my family reunions, but we appreciate that it gives us time as a little family to get away and make memories. We rented a small cabin that was right on the water. We spent our three days there playing in the sand, hiking, fishing, cooking over the fire and BBQ, eating outside, driving around the island, and enjoying the resort’s spa. The first day was gorgeous, the second rainy, and the third overcast. We made the most of the weather, hiking despite the rain, and enjoying family time playing games and reading books inside, but we were all thrilled the the rain cleared the third day so we could return to the beach, the pier, and the breathtaking outdoors. I’m really glad that we chose a place on the water, because Orcas Island has very limited public access to the water. The place we stayed West Beach Resort, had a good stretch of beach and a long dock from which to take in the scenery. The boys got drenched and totally sandy a few times each day. I was grateful that a change of clothes was only a few strides away! The ferry ride there is a good fifty minutes of sheer beauty. Islands dot the landscape in layers, with Mount Baker faint as a backdrop.

Now for pictures:

Day 1:

Ferry Ride

I tried hard to capture the beauty of the islands on our way in. But you just can’t capture the expanse. They seem to go on endlessly. It made me reflect on how incredible the human eye is. What a creative masterpiece. Despite my fancy camera, it couldn’t come close to capturing what I could see. 

Scotland was most excited about “discovering secret passage ways” in the ferry. Something he and Tom did last time they rode the ferry together. Tom as always, was willing to indulge his appetite, so the three of them set off to try out every stair well, elevator, and hallway. Leaving me to savor the wind in my hair, and the beauty before me.

I was determined to spot any whales that were had to be spotted. We were rounding the corner from Lopez island to Orcas when there they were two orca whales! We saw them dive in and out of the water several times, just as the captain instructed us all to return to our vehicles. We waited and watched a little longer before a firmer voice repeated the demand. I was tickled pink that my persistence had paid off, my wish granted, and that my two boys saw their first whales in the wild! (Lucky ducks!)

Our cabin- #4.

Beachfront property. Sigh. Scotland suggested we buy a house by the water in the future. I’m right there with you bud. (Well, except for the constant supply of sandy wet laundry!) 

Scotter and I had a blast building a “fish trap” on the beach the first afternoon, while the two other boys slept. I found that waterproof pants, boots, and rubber gloves made for a much more pleasant beach experience for me. Then I was willing to get “into it” just as much as Scotland, without getting squeamish about the bugs jumping out of the sand, or wet pants. I’d wished I would have sprung for waterproof pants for Scotland before this trip. He may be getting thigh-high waders for Christmas!

Our first night, we were treated to a beautiful sunset. A real treat since we didn’t see the sun the rest of the time we were there. We had tin foil dinners and s’mores for dinner the first night- note my boys there around the fire in the bottom right. (The tin foil dinners were a huge success- They had precooked and marinated BBQ chicken, diced baked potato, corn and onion slices. The BBQ flavored everything and the fire gave it all a delicious smoked flavor. The fact that everything was pre-cooked was key- it was just a matter of heating it up!)Day 2:

The second day it rained all day. But we were determined to make the most of it, so we set off in the morning to explore Moran State Park.

All started well. Anders and I were fully suited up- totally rain proof. Tom and Scotland were only covered on top, and had water proof shoes.

We chose the mountain lake loop, and stopped to play at the lake about a fourth a mile in. A poor decision. Scotland was thrilled to play in the water, as always, but fell in not longer after getting there. Which didn’t deter him from having a fabulous time at the lake, but did result in a less than happy camper once we hit the trail again. Let’s just say we didn’t make it the full four miles.

The boys would have happily played by the lake the whole day, throwing rocks, building boats, and being boys.

Note Ander’s rock!

After a long play session at the lake we set off again from the trail. But what followed was a good half hour of whining and crying from Scotland, negotiating/pleading/demanding from Tom and I, until finally I grabbed his hand and started skipping along belting out such greats as “Do you Ears Hang Low” and “Shinnamerinkadinkadink!” which lessened his displeasure, but didn’t completely stop it until I made him the soloist of “The Wheels on the Bus-” “The baby on the bus says: motioning to him” He immediately grew silent, laughing as over and over I sang the prompt “The baby on the bus says Scotter, that’s your part!” He thought it was hilarious and requested I sing that song the rest of the way back. Despite the emotional duress Scotland’s cold, wet state brought upon all of us we still enjoyed a beautiful, though brief hike.

Thanks to Anders rain suit. He was happy as a clam!

On our way home we saw a bunch of deer and then a huge bullfrog hoping across the road! I HAD to pull over. It’s not everyday a boy gets to see a frog that big. Of course I had to catch it, because well, that’s what you do when you see a frog right?!

The rest of the day was spent working on the Snap Circuit, reading, and goofing off in the cabin. We did head out before dinner to buy a fresh salmon to grill up, which was fabulous! Tom and I enjoyed seeing more of the island. We at dinner on the patio, listening to the rain pitter pater as we enjoyed grilled cheese and tomato soup, and salmon.

Day 3:

Anders and I were up first so we sneaked out to enjoy the early morning quiet so the other two could sleep.

We were rewarded with a bald eagle site-ing as well as fish, crabs, a starfish and of course lots of sea birds. With the rain cleared Anders enjoyed his breakfast out next to the water, and Scotter enjoyed a pre-breakfast sand session.

After breakfast, I took Scotland fishing. We rented a pole and tried our luck with hotdogs at the end of the dock. (As was recommended.) He had several tiny fish bite, and several larger fish sniff, but no takers. I was proud of his patience, and persistence, but after a good half hour lacking in excitement, he decided to move on to other things. I was surprised at my desire to teach him to fish, to show him the joys of fishing, the thrill of teasing the fish, the art of imitating the fly, worm, etc. I don’t think of myself as a fisherman, but I fished every summer growing up on our family backpacking trips, and I can appreciate the thrill of taking in a fish! I’ll admit I was disappointed that I didn’t have a license, and couldn’t try my own hand at snagging those whoppers down below.

We visited Eastsound that afternoon, it’s a charming tiny little town with a couple streets full of darling shops and restaurants. I’m always a sucker for the beautiful potted flowers tourist towns such as these support.

Day 4:

We headed back to the mainland around noon. After eating a scrumptious brunch at the Island Skillet. Fortunately the clouds had blown off and it was, again, a gorgeous clear ferry ride. We wrapped up our trip with a visit to Mt. Erie in Anacortes. The view was beyond breathtaking. Almost unworldly. Pictures can’t come close:

For future reference here’s my brief review of the vacation: We were really grateful we chose to rent a cabin instead of tent it. For one it was really wet, and we all appreciated our sleep. We had more struggles than we would have liked with Scotland. (I’m really appreciating our spacious house after our tiny cabin.) If we go again I’ll be sure to supply Scotland with water-proof gear, so he can go out whenever he wants without getting chilled. Next time I’ll plan it more thoroughly. There was a lot of “So what do we do now?” The indecision was hard on all of us. I liked having a kitchen, even though we did eat primarily pre-prepared foods. While it was nice to be there on the shoulder season because of it being quieter, and a little cheaper. I think we’ll go when the weather is more reliably nice in the future. We made the best of it, but we ended up in the cabin more than any of us would have liked. All in all we had a wonderful time, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to leave behind the projects, stresses, and distractions of our home for some wonderful family time in a gorgeous place!

The Christmas season

We had a long Christmas season this year. Typically Christmas feels so rushed, and I don’t feel like I have enough time to do all the things I want to do. This year was different. We decorated for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving, and we started daily Christmas advent activities soon after. Then we celebrated a week late, on January 1st. It made for a LONG Christmas season. It had its challenges but looking back I’m amazed at the beautiful experiences we had as a result:

-I hosted a garland making night with a bunch of friends. (And made the wreath below.)

-Attended the Nutcracker with Scotland (Mommy- Scotter date)

-Attended a dramatized production of the Messiah with Tom.

-Made our first Gingerbread house.

-Threaded popcorn and decorated a tree outside for the birds. (It dissolved in the rain soon after!)

-Visited a rest home twice and sang and visited with the residents.

-Went to Sky’s Nursery to see the model train village, reindeer, camel, and coy with friends. (Shared a HUGE mug of hot chocolate while we were there.)

-took treats to our neighbors.

-Lots of nativity play.

“Mom, I’ll be the Angel and you be Mary!”

-sent Christmas cards for the first time.

-Attended the Bellevue Nativity Display. (A tradition we’ll keep.)

-Had a surprise Christmas party for the young women I work with.

-hosted a baby shower for a friend.

-Spent the day downtown as a family- rode the merry-go-round, saw the Teddy bear suite, and gingerbread display. saw the falling snow at Pacific place, experienced the “mall Christmas shopping frenzy” and enjoyed all the lights.

-slept “under” the Christmas tree.

-placed a “straw” in the “manger” when we saw others perform Christlike acts. (A personal favorite.)

-Visited Tom at the hospital on Christmas day December 25, and took the other residents treats.

Ran into Santa. (He de-scrubbed right before chatting with us, after visiting a sick child.)

-made candy- Peanut butter fudge for Dad, and peanut pretzel brittle.

-Filled our days with silliness

-Visited the Temple.

-visited a few toy stores.

-various secret services.

-sang carols around the piano.

-watched the First Presidency Christmas Devotional as a family.

-watched a few Christmas movies.

-Facetimed with family

-Candlelit Christmas eve dinner.

-Nativity reenactment.

-Daily advent activity. (Scotland has suggested several times since that we do another advent calendar.)

It was hard to not go and celebrate Christmas with family this year. But I’m really grateful for the opportunity we had to establish some beautiful Christmas traditions. Scotland and I had so many beautiful moments where we were able to really discuss the true meaning of Christmas. The daily act of talking about Christlike deeds changed the way we each went about our day. It reminded me of the quote by Elder Packer.  “The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior.” Our simple Nativity reenactment was followed by a tender testimony meeting, where even Scotland participated. The spirit was strong in our home, and discussions of Christ more frequent. I felt a deep abiding appreciation for my Savior, and a true rejoicing in His life. We really welcomed Christ into our Christmas this year, and I’m so grateful for the peace and joy He gave us in return.

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

Today was as perfect a day as a day can be. In my previous post I mentioned I wanted to work on having more “family” time. Well check, check for me! Today fulfilled that desire in every way. It was near perfection: relaxed morning all together, walking in puddles with Scotter, wearing Anders in the ErgoBaby amongst great beauty, holding hands with Tom, longs chats in the car, good food, and flowers, flowers, flowers.  I’ll let the pictures tell the rest of the story:

I was there for the tulips, Scotter was there for the puddles.

I’ll admit I thought many times today- I don’t want to ever move from this place. In other wards, maybe Tom will get his way, and we’ll stay in Seattle permanently. (Note: The sun was shining brightly today.)

I also told Tom that maybe he ought to just be a general pediatrician so we could move to Skagit Valley across from these fields.

Tom took me to see the Butchart Gardens on our honeymoon. It’s probably the last time I’ve seen this many flowers in bloom and brought back many flashbacks to that lovely week. Babe, I feel a little deeper in love with you today!

Sigh! May I stand and take this in for eternity.

Something about those straight clean rows spoke to the organizer in me and brought such peace.

Local and Organic fare at Seeds Cafe in La Conner- may have been the best hamburger I’ve ever eaten.

My boys on La Conner boardwalk

Our newest little traveler!

Okay, is it just me, or was that one AMAZING day trip? This is what continues to shock me about Seattle- day trips as breathtaking as this abound! Our outing totaled six hours and I returned feeling like I’d spent a week in Europe. Oh Seattle, you’re pulling me in! (Devin, wish you’d chosen Seattle as your honeymoon spot now? (wink, wink!)

(We realized the camera battery was dead when we first arrived so these are all Iphone pictures. Tom got some other lovely ones, but I don’t have access to them- he’s at the hospital. Forgive me now, if I post more pictures of this loveliness later. As you can tell, I CAN’T. GET. ENOUGH!)

April 2nd means…produce diversity

My favorite fruit and veggie stand (Country Farms) is open!!! This morning I got apples, bananas, tangelos, oranges, grapes, grapefruit, asparagus, parsnips, beets, cucumbers, zucchini, carrots, celery and three kinds of lettuce all for 35 bucks. I could have got only four of those things for the same price at Costco and been forced to eat the same thing everyday! Produce season has returned and I couldn’t be happier!!!

Baby Visitors: Foutzes

A few days after my family left Tom’s mom flew in, and a few days after that his sister, Adrienne. It was wonderful to have them and all their help. They kept up the pattern of entertaining Scotter in the mornings while I slept in, and kept me sleep positive by letting me get a nap each day.

Pam was here over Valentines day and so got to join us in making sugar cookies. Scotter was enthralled with the idea of adding flour, and was constantly dipping his hand in the flour bin. He also got a kick out of rolling the dough and cutting out hearts. Mostly, he enjoyed “trying” the sweet and sticky dough. Needless to say, my original intent to share cookies with the neighbors was cancelled by the obvious proliferation of germs caused by Scotter’s help in the kitchen. I wouldn’t have it any other way!
Anders was circumcised while Pam was here. As a result of the procedure, Anders was much more fussy and didn’t sleep as well. I hated seeing him in pain, and Pam was so supportive as we cared for him. (We stopped off at Bakery Nouveau on our way home from the procedure and Man! Their twice baked almond croissants are to die for! Just saying.)
It had been nearly a year since we’d seen Adi, so it was such a treat to have her visit. Her light hearted, happy spirit was contagious. Scotland immediately took to her, and I’d hear them each morning giggling upstairs. Scotland basked in her attention. Adi was always eager to hold Anders and gave him a love and attention that touched me.
Anders and I had our first big adventure to Pikes Market while they were here. It was rainy, but true to Seattle style I put Anders in the Ergo-baby, flipped up the canopy on Scotter’s stroller and headed out. We had some fabulous clam and smoked salmon chowder at Pike Place Chowder- it was far superior to Ivar’s in my opinion. We enjoyed the market and stopped into the original Starbucks for my coffee loving sister and mother-in-law. I was quite sore by the time the morning was over, but it was worth it.
Pam, Adi and Tom enjoyed a few highly competitive scrabble games via their ipads. Scotland was enthralled with the game, and always asked to play with Tom. (Perhaps a new idea for interesting him in letters!) We all enjoyed a few rounds of Settlers of Catan after the boys had gone to bed, which brought back many happy memories.

Another day, everyone but Anders and I headed out to Redondo beach and the Tamarind Tree restaurant. While they enjoyed walking along the boardwalk and watching Scotland splash in puddles, I enjoyed having a quiet day at home to get a bunch of things done.

Post-baby visits are always challenging for me because I prefer to be independent but the situation calls for reliance on others. My desire to be a proper host and yet my awareness of my own limitations always results in my being in a bit of a funk. Thankfully, Pam and Adi took me as I was. While I wished we could have gone out and done more, I was grateful for their willingness to make fun at home.


Baby Visitors: Petersen’s

My Mom and Dad were the first visitors to see Anders. We had been going back and forth on the best time for my Mom to come out. Tom originally was going to get the six days following Anders's birth off, but then we got realizing it would be great for the NICU team if he worked that weekend, and then he could take two days off while his Mom was here. My Mom hadn't heard back on what we had decided when she determined to come up. Her eagerness to come see her new grandson thrilled me. I'm one of eight children, and Anders's is my parents 18th grandchild. It's easy to assume that he's “just another” to add to the list. So to hear her excitement and desire to come spend time with our newest addition meant a lot to me. As is so often the case my assumptions are ungrounded.
My Mom has an uncanny ability to balance many hats at once. She was like a whirlwind at our house, keeping the laundry washed, three meals cooked and the dishes cleaned. She wisked Anders away to change his diaper and cuddle with him any time she could. All the while, she potty-trained Scotland, read him books, played games and helped instill good habits- like cleaning up after himself when he's finished eating. Scotter and she enjoyed some quality 'grandma' time each morning, while Tom and I slept in- Tom having taken the late night shift, and I having woken up repeatedly to nurse. She assured that I got a nap each day, and kept my painful nursing sessions entertaining with lively conversation. I love my Mom, and am so grateful for the week she spent caring for me and my family.
My Dad and sisters came up the next weekend to pick up my Mom and see Anders.

Scotter was especially thrilled to have an energetic playmate in Dantzel. She happily played cars, and hide and seek.

Dantzi took every opportunity to hold Anders. My Mom and I got realizing that this was the first time the girls had seen and held a one week old baby. Such a treat!

Tom and I had an especially fun night watching Merlin with Adee and Dantzi. They had both seen several episodes, but not the ones as late in the season as we were. Tom and I enjoy getting really into the charcters and plots of each episode and Adee and Dantz played right along. At one particularly suspensful part Adee was pacing and Dantzi was crouching on the couch! As the children of older parents, both girls have a tendency to be quite serious, so it was good to see them relaxing and just having fun.

Adee was always sweet to come down and chat with me while I nursed. She, Dad, Tom and I got to get out of the house and see “The Book Thief” which, due to my raging hormones left me in tears for three hours straight!

Despite raising eight children, my Dad often expresses uncertainty and a lack of confidence regarding caring for his grandchildren. This cracks me up because he was and is an active and involved father. Something about seeing him hold my children melts my heart.

I love how babies have this way of drawing out one's sweet and gentle side. At least for me, and I felt like I witnessed this when my family held Anders as well, when I hold my baby its as if time slows and the world's cacaphony fades. I feel an overwhelming willingness to forgo anything to care for and love my precious child. Babies are a gift. They bring out the humanity in each of us.

Anders Cyril Foutz: The Birth Story

Warning this is a birth story, birthing is beautiful, but messy business. You’re warned.

This is a terrible picture, and was taken a week before Anders was born, but it’s the closest I have to the “going into the hospital” belly shot. I might have had a few other things on my mind!

At midnight of January 29th I lay awake and was flooded with an unexplainable sense of anxiety. Already a week and a day over my due date, the anticipation was killing me. I was just about to get up and do something, when I felt a small rupture and a rush of warm liquid. I jumped up and walked into the bathroom. Having had a false alarm a few weeks earlier, I wanted to make sure that this time my water had indeed broke. This time it was clear as the “water” continued to flow steadily for the next 40 minutes making it nearly impossible for me to leave the bathroom. After I was positive I was passing amniotic fluid I called the midwives and was told by Mary Bolles, the midwife on call, that I should come in so I could start my first round of Penicilin, being strep B+. I awoke Tom, called to secure someone to come over and stay with Scotland (Lindsay Arb) and we started packing up. I was immediately overwhelmed. Tom was ecstatic. He jumped up, smiling and rushed around the house getting everything ready. I felt serious, focused. After Lindsay arrived we drove to the hospital, true to Seattle style it was raining. We arrived around 2:15am. I started my first dose of penicillin at 2:50. The midwives advised me to try to lay down and get some rest, so we could assure I got my two doses of penicillin. I tried to sleep, but increasingly intense contractions prevented me. I laid on the bed for about an hour before I started to pace the room swaying my hips and moving my arms in the air to try to relax through the contractions. They were consistently three minutes apart. This continued for about an hour, and then I woke up Tom to invite him to walk the halls with me. At this point the contractions were getting very intense and after a few sections of hall I decided I didn’t want to labor in such a public way so we headed back to the room. Tom was an immense help through all of this, voicing encouragement, massaging my back, and just being there. After a bit more monitoring I decided to try the birthing ball, which felt terrible, and so we switched gears and I tried the jacuzzi. At this point, around 7:00am or so, I was so exhausted from not having slept that I would often fall asleep between contractions. The jacuzzi allowed me to rest up between. I told Tom I thought the jacuzzi was probably slowing my labor, but that it was worth it because I just needed a rest. He sat there next to the tub, keeping the water at the right temperature, holding my hand, and giving me encouragement, and sympathy. Around 8:00 the nurse suggested I get out for a bit so they could monitor the baby. I got out and they put on the straps, I held on to Tom as I worked through several very intense contractions. I felt amazing support and comfort hugging him so. At that point I expressed a need to use the bathroom. The nurse, Marci, a maternal and experienced nurse, asked if I’d had a pelvic exam. When I told her I hadn’t, she voiced concern over my using the bathroom. But knowing I needed to have a BM I insisted I go. She said ok, but called in the midwife. I sat on the toilet and cleared myself and then all of a sudden I felt the babies head pushing down strong, and I started yelling “He’s coming, he’s coming! Oh my, he’s coming.” Tom, jumped into action, telling me to close my legs and pulling me up off the toilet as he and the nurses rushed me to the bed. I wobbled over there and laid down- the midwife and her student rushed in and everyone prepared. I then worked through the last stage of labor. I had a nurse Marcy and nursing student, Kari who stood by my right side. Marci coached me through the pushes and Kari held my hand and rubbed my arm. Mary and Rachel sat at the end of the bed, applying gentle pressure and administering a lubricant as they guided the head through the passage way. Tom sat on my left holding my hand, and assuring me. Things progressed ever so slowly for me at this point, and at times I felt helpless to push the baby out. When I laid on the bed they checked me and could feel the head right there. I kept voicing apologies for not being able to go faster, and asked if I ought to try the squatting bar. They encouraged me to listen to my body, and do whatever I thought would be best, but also suggested that going slowly was going to be the best thing for my tissues. Unlike with Scotland where I used the squatting bar and felt great power and strength, this time lying on my side without anything but a few nurses to push against, I felt much less able to “bear down.” The pain was intense and I gave out many a loud whimper, followed by a “I can do this! I got this.” The love and support I felt from the four women and my husband was so sweet. Though my eyes were closed, I could feel their presence and their strength. I stretched out enough that we could all see, an oval of hair, I reached down and touched the wet wrinkly patch of skin and apologized for not being able to move him through faster. He stayed there for a little while as I tried to push him through but felt complete resistance. The nurses and midwives waited patiently assuring me that things would stretch out and that I just need to relax and let things open up. After a bit of this he made some movement, then a bit more, then a bit more, and then woosh at 8:54am out he came and they pulled him from me and placed him on my lap a squiggling, bluish wet chubby baby. I squealed with delight and relief and kept saying “My baby, my baby!” All the nurses exclaimed at his size and a quick measurement confirmed a head of 15inches. The nurses and Tom worked to clean him off and the midwives set to work helping me with the afterbirth, and then stitching me up. The placenta was huge and very healthy. Anders was a bit blue and took a bit to really cry out. Tom (who had been resuscitating babies all month) quickly started rubbing his back and encouraging him to cry.

During the pushing I apologized many times to Anders for squeezing his head so much and not being able to push him through faster.

It’s interesting to compare the emotions I felt between the two pregnancies. With Scotland I felt very independent, very powerful, and very in charge. With Anders I felt much more vulnerable, more needy- more dependent. When I told Tom that I felt I had been weaker, less sure with this labor he was surprised. He felt I had been more peaceful. He said with Scotland he had been offended several times, while with this labor he had felt truly a part. Thinking on it again I realized I had leaned on him more with this labor, allowing him to hold me and help me, while with Scotland I had more often pushed him away or commanded him. As I laid on the bed in the pushing stage, squeezing Tom’s hand with my left hand, I looked over to my right and asked “Can I hold someone’s hand?” Kari immediately volunteered. I proceeded to grip her hand throughout the entire end of the delivery and as they stitched me up, I had probably been holding her hand (at a very awkward angle for her) for an hour or so when I realized that I was doing so, and that it was probably not a very comfortable angle for her. I apologized, but she smiled sweetly, expressing a willingness to help in anyway she could. I expressed thanks several times to Marcy for coaching me through the pushing.

In the end, baby in arms I looked at this semi circle of women around me and felt this amazing unity and connection with these women I had just met. I sensed an overpowering appreciation for women and our power together. I felt grateful for having pushed myself to a pain so immense that I needed these women, and of course my dear husband, to get me through it. It was a beautiful experience.

Anders quickly pinked up and shocked everyone, but me, when he weighed in at 10 pounds 9.9 ounces, and measured 21.5 inches. Everyone just kept saying how remarkable it was that with my thin frame I had birthed such a large baby vaginally and without anesthesia. I had been saying for weeks that I was pretty sure I had a big baby, and was rather nervous about having gone so far beyond my due date, as a result.

I had a second degree tear, and the stitching up afterwards was very intense and painful. But I held my baby and I was happy.

Anders had beautiful dark hair, that was neat and short. He eyes and face were swollen but he pinked up quickly and had a nice dark rosy coloring. He laid peacefully on my chest. I felt immense joy and relief, having him finally in my arms.

Lindsay had, meanwhile, gotten Scotland up and fed and took him over to Meri Koons to play until we picked him up around noon.

I lost a lot of blood again, and because I had a student midwife it took a while to get all stitched up, but from everyone’s account she did a terrific job.

Tom went to get Scotland after lunch. They arrived, Tom bringing me a gorgeous cyclamen, and Scotter bring Anders his teddy “Clara” as a gift. He was clearly happy to see me and climbed up on the bed. He asked “Are you sore?” “Can you pick me up?” (Tom had discussed how Scotland was going to have to be gentle with me for a while.) Tom took Anders to the couch and Scotland said, “I want to show him how to jump!” He then proceeded to jump up and down. Tom then helped him hold Anders and he smiled sweetly and with awe at his little brother, kissing him gently on the forehead. He watched with great curiosity as Tom unwrapped the blankets and revealed Anders’s tiny toes, and clamped belly button. The rest of the evening passed with treats, watching a bit of Pete’s dragon, nurses in and out, and Scotland trying out all the controls on the bed, goofing around, etc. We had a lovely “celebratory dinner” courtesy of the hospital, during which we enjoyed several rounds of toasts. Even Scotland joined in on the fun saying several sweet toasts. “This one is for Mommy. Because I love her, and I’m glad I know her!”

Tom took Scotland home around 8:00 and I spent the night feeding Anders, getting checked and trying to sleep. Anders slept much of the night in my arms. The next morning I felt much better and was able to get up and around the room and prepare to leave. (A delight, after a rough recovery with Scotland.) I was really impressed by how considerate and kind all the nurses and doctors were, and pleased to have delivered at Northwest Hospital.

We checked out around 12:30, headed to Five guys for lunch (because my hematocrit was low at 27, and so we figured I better get a burger to boost my iron levels!) and then headed home. Anders started to cry a bit on the way home and Scotland immediately started to sing to him. Anders calmed, and then a little while later started to whimper again. Again Scotland sang and Anders calmed. My heart melted at my eldest son’s thoughtfulness. Looking back my eyes grew wet as I saw “My boys.” I’m a mother of two. We’re a family of four. Here goes. . .

Anders Cyril Foutz- one day old.

Having “the glow”- choosing to smile

Last week was rough. I was uncomfortable, my hands and feet (and whole body) would itch so badly at night that I couldn’t sleep. My nails were sore from the constant scratching. I was crabby and done being pregnant. Then I remembered that my new year’s resolution was to smile more. I wrote a post about it. I made myself accountable. I’m not sure if it was the repenting I did during Sacrament meeting, the prayers for optimism, the sudden disappearance of my itching, the chocolate cake we made on Sunday, or a combination of many things, but this week has been glorious. I might even suggest I have “the glow.” I’ve been smiling a lot and it has reaped rewards beyond my expectations.

Scotland smiling January 1, 2014 12:00AM!


When Scotland comes into my room in the morning, instead of rolling over and saying “Ah, Scotland, can’t you go play for a little while.” I look at him and smile. I can’t say my smiling is the sole cause of his absolutely angelic behavior this week, but I can only assume it’s played apart.

Interestingly, I’ve felt more myself. Initially, I thought this smiling goal might come off artificial. Rather, it’s freed me to openly express the joy and delight I find in life. I beamed at Scotland today as over and over he rode his scooter down the steep ramp at the playground. His body was tight with nerves, his face focused, but unlike last time, he never crashed. I was so proud of him and his determination to master the ramp, and so thrilled that I could freely express my admiration without saying a thing.

Shaving cream fun at Play and Learn

In the evenings, when Tom gets home from work, instead of playing the “busy wife/mother” who hardly has time to stop and give her husband a hug because she has so much to do. I’ve stopped, smiled, and expressed my true feeling- thrill at have my best friend home! It’s resulted in more laughter, and more closeness.

Now I realize it hasn’t even been a week, but this sudden change highlights a fact that can change lives. Happiness is a choice. And when we choose to feel it and show it, it comes more abundantly.

Smiling on the swings

One of my hopes for my children is that they will smile unabashedly. How can I expect such a thing if my smiles are calculating and tight?

Awkward selfie smile

As part of my resolution I spend a bit of time this week thinking about what makes me smile and surrounding myself with those things. Yes, that included chocolate cake, but it also including things like this:

Opening the door to the nursery so I can enjoy the sweet room I’ve created there. Feeling for little feet and knees and imagining what our little guy is going to look like.

Cozying up on our “new” couch to read books with Scotland or just gazing out the window at the scenery. Smiling and feeling grateful for a living room I adore. 

I believe in the verse: “Men are that they might have joy” 2 Nephi 2:25. And I believe that it could also be said: Men are that they might show joy.