It was bad. Bath worthy bad.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Last night took forever for it to change into morning. Cody and I found ourselves waking up every hour last night and both being surprised that it has yet to move on to another hour. But before we get into that let me back up here for a moment so that you can see why the night needed to quickly move on.

 We spent the evening at a restaurant with the kids. We ate the delicious food, tasting what each one order, talked quietly about nothing and just plain adore each other’s company.
We then drove to target, tossed the kids into the shopping cart, threw in the cart some amazing light up bouncing balls that we just had to have, found in dollar bin area all the while shopping for our upcoming family vacation to Zions.

We get home, to only discovered that Annie had the biggest poop blow out that you ever did see. It was everywhere, all over her flower leggings, all over her car seat, dripping down her legs when I picked her up.

It was bad. Bath worthy bad.

Of course we get home right at bedtime. So we all are rushing to brush teeth, getting Wyatt’s backpack ready for school the next day, put jammies on, find blankets, teddy bears and getting the millionth drink of water before daddy flies the boys like airplanes to bed for the night.

I of course am still dealing with the bath worthy poop of Annie’s. I finally get her cleaned, dressed and I throw her dirty clothes on top of the washer telling myself that I will put them in when I am done. (Which I still have yet to do.) By this time, she is so tired mad that she won’t even latch on to feed. She’s screaming her lungs out and I can’t get her settled.

At this point Cody and I have to take turns bouncing her. An hour later, she finally settles. Now at the same time she’s fussy Bella the dog is whining because earlier in the day she thought it would be a fantastic idea to eat my shoe laces. Now her tummy hurts.

So we are letting her in and out and then in and then out. We are hoping, crossing our fingers that the boys don’t wake up with all this commotion.

It turns midnight, finally. Bella is still outside, Annie is finally asleep and it’s our bedtime. I softly lay Annie in her basinet as Cody let’s Bella back in. We finally lay down and are quickly asleep.

Annie wakes up which is unlike her to feed. I look at the clock its only 1am. I feed her and fall back asleep. Then Bella starts to whine again, Cody gets up and takes her out. Its only 1:15am. We fall back asleep. Bella whines to come in, we wake up, I put Annie in her basinet and Cody lets Bella back in. Its 1:30am. We say to each other how is it is still 1 in the morning? We fall back asleep.

Bella whines wakes Annie. We decide to leave Bella outside for a few hours (we set an alarm.) I get Annie and feed her again. It’s now 2am. We fall back asleep.

3am rolls around, I get a tap tap tap on my knee. I wake up its Wyatt he has had a bad dream and I realize that I am somehow still feed Annie.He climbs into our bed. We fall asleep again.

The alarm goes off to let Bella back in. It’s now 4am. Cody goes and gets her, I wake Wyatt and tell him that Dad will tuck him back into his bed. I still am somehow nursing Annie.
Wyatt gets out of our bed goes with Cody. I unattached Annie from my breast and put her back into her bed. Its 4:30am.

Cody comes back to bed, Bella too. We fall asleep again. It’s now 5am.
6am rolls around, Annie cries to feed again which is unlike her. I get up, get her again somehow and nurse her while I fall back to sleep.

My alarm goes off its 7am. Time to officially wake up. I hand Annie who’s still asleep to Cody to have him hold her in our bed, get up and make breakfast, tired.

Sometimes, parenthood is full of nights that move too slowly only to leave you feeling unrested but I know that one day I will miss the middle of the nights nursing a little baby. And the times, that the only way my kids will feel better after a bad dream is to come cuddle with me in my bed. So I’ll take these long tired nights over any well-rested night, every time.

And they called her Shamrock

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

I never use to be a dog person. We had a ton of different dogs when I was growing up and they always bugged me. So needy, always at your feet. You had to walk them and feed them all the time. They were never not hungry. They’d sleep on your pillows and chew up your stuff.  I never use to be a dog person, until I saw a picture of Isabella online.

There she was. A Red Healer So small with cute red freckles all over her white fur and that curly tail. I was in love. She was rescued off the side of the road in Arizona as a puppy and brought to a no kill shelter there. I stumble over her picture random on the interwebs and emailed the shelter about her without telling my husband.

I didn’t tell him because we already took a little rat (Chihuahua shih tzu mix) dog from my sister who barked all the time. He really did not make me become a dog person but there was just something about this little puppy staring back at me from the screen. I just felt like she was supposed to be in my family.

I received an email back from the shelter stating that she was available and that they had someone who was willing to drive from Arizona to Salt Lake City to bring her to us.

I don’t know how I convinced my husband that we needed her but I did. We drove to Salt Lake the following week to meet the people who brought her to us. And they called her Shamrock. I guess because in part she was lucky to be found on the side of road as a tiny puppy and was nursed back to health.

We drove her home that night and laughed as she chased the cats and ran through our whole house excited to be in her forever home. Then we named her Isabella. Or Belly button as I like to call her.

Years later, she’s still excited to be with us. She is still needy, always at my feet. I take her on walks all the time and feed her all the time. She’s never not hungry, always sneaks food off the table. Sleep on my pillows and chews up our stuff. But she made me a dog person. Because she is my dog.
So If I was reborn as a dog it would be her. She is strong, funny, caring and protects my kids like they are her own. So cuddly and has never ending love for me and my family.

And even though I had that dog bite me on Easter, I still love dogs because of my Bella.

Yesterday I forgot.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Yesterday I forgot to do the dishes, run and tidy up the house according to the productive app on my phone. But what I didn’t forget to do was be fully there with my oldest.  

After Gunner’s behavioral therapist appointment, Gunner gathered all his trucks and buses, made a parking lot on the couch and played quietly, Annie nursed and Wyatt and I talked.

Wyatt, he tends to get lost in the shuffle of the younger kids who demand more attention from Cody and I. We haven’t really been able to have a real solid conversation with each other for a really long time and few weeks ago I thought about how honestly I could not remember when we ever did. That really bothered me. So I have been more diligent about making sure to have a real one on one time set aside just for him.

I invited him to join me and my sister in our 52 week hiking challenge. Where each week we take to the mountains and hike our butts off.  Which at first he didn’t want to do but after the first hike he was hooked.

The funny about hiking is that no matter what, you have to have conversations. There is no way around it. I have learned more about him and my sister in the last three weeks than ever before.
I also see how strong he is. Sometimes while my sister and I are talking, he’ll run up ahead of us and have us time him to see how long it’ll take him to run up to a tree. I can say that I can’t do that quite yet. But I do plan on it. (He’s challenged me.)

What I have learned through hiking with him, is that he is goal orientated and way driven. He likes to be challenged. To have a goal that may not be very accessible to others but to him it is.
The other day when I was marking off tasks on my productive app he leaned over and stated that he wanted that app on his iPad because he liked that it showed how many days in a row you accomplish something and that is what he needs in his life.

So yesterday as Gunner played parking lot we loaded a task app called Swipe (since the “productive” one I used isn’t available on the iPad) entered in all the tasks that he wanted to accomplish in a day and he beamed. This is what he needed.

He put things on his list like feed the dog, read 20 mins each night, then he put things on there that I didn’t think he really cared about. Like cook dinner with mom. That surprised me.
He run around the house seeing how many tasks he could complete. Practice karate. Check. Make your bed. Check.

Then we spent the mid evening in the kitchen cooking, laughing, talking with each other that spread out into the evening that when the dishes were left in the sink and the run I needed to do so badly beeped up on my phone for me to accomplish I didn’t hesitate to skip the task.

Because I was doing that one thing that shouldn’t have been on my list of things to accomplish, spending time with my oldest.

Update: I found an even better app for him. It is called Monster Chore. It gives him rewards points for each chore that he completes and then he can use those rewards to purchase things from his dad and I. Like a trip to a museum. Plus it will beep on my phone when he actually said he did the chores so I can approve that it was done or not. I really like it

Definitely not a vacation

Saturday, April 9, 2016

It was funny, the other day Cody and I were having one of those parenting days that just are so hard. Every whine, every look, every poopy diaper had us on edge. And when both of us are in the overwhelmed state we simply cannot function.

So I said in a huff “Ugh, we seriously need a vacation.” To which he replied “You will be getting one in a month” hinting to the fact that school will be out soon and my job ends until the next school year starts.

I corrected him because I actually have 2 months left and I also stated that it won’t be a vacation. It will be more work for me. I will be the only one 100% of the time responsible for all of our kids all day, all night, no breaks, it will be me. That’s it.

He just laughs and blows it off and said something to the point of how work is stressful and I said “well work for me is my break. It is not stressful it’s the chance for me to get a mom break.”

I knew he did get it though.

He doesn’t understand the demand that mothers have. He doesn’t understand that you literally have no space. That no matter what room you are in the kids will follow you there. Talking, crying, screaming, wanting always wanting.

That you’ve picked up the house way to many times that by the time the end of the day comes, you could give a flying fuck how your house looks.

He didn’t get that until I came home from work yesterday.
Now I only work 5 hours a day but when I got home I could see it in his eyes. That same look of defeat I get some days.

He was rocking Annie who seemed to not want to settle. I could hear Gunner crying through the monitor because he wanted nothing to do with a nap and Wyatt was in the other room playing video games.

And that’s when he told me. Wyatt and Gunner kept coming into every room I was in. I was trying to get Annie to sleep and right when I would, they would come running in here and start wrestling. And no matter how many times I tell them to stop and go play somewhere else they wouldn’t listen.
So she hasn’t slept all day.

Then I said “see, it’s no vacation huh?” as I snatch up Annie, who settled quickly. Walked out of the room so he could take it all in. Marinate in it.

The fact that parenthood is hard most days and most definitely not a vacation.

Alone with the baby

Friday, April 8, 2016

I was not allowed by any means to wallow in my misery after the dog bite incident. I get home after my 5 hour stay in the ER. I just received 10 stitches altogether in my arm and I chose to have no pain meds while I was in the hospital. Because one, I hate how they make me feel. Two, I could not really feel my arm/fingers anyway.

I get home, and there was my husband frazzled. Rocking the baby trying to settle her down. His mom there watching, who just got the older kids down to sleep finally. After a while she leaves and it is now him and I alone with the baby.

She’s hungry and waiting nothing more than to nurse after hours of being away from me. And he is so far beyond his stress level that he was nonfunctioning. I in a huff told him to just go to bed and hand me the crying baby.

That’s when I realized I was on my own.

There would not be anyone else that could be the mom in this family. No one else that could nurse Annie. No one else to calm down my husband. No one else to comfort the boys back to sleep the way I do. No one else that knows their special lullabies to help them feel better.

I was it.

So painfully and alone I figured out a way to hold Andalyn on my breast and pinch my nipple the certain way she likes with my nonworking fingers so she’d actually eat.
I rocked and cried, rocked and cried some more because I didn’t ask for this. I never wanted this.

An hour later, Gunner wandered down stairs crying and I call threw my tears still rocking and nursing Annie for my husband who rushes out into the living room in his half slept mind to snatch him up.

He wakes a little more to see me crying and asks what’s wrong. All I can think is I just got bit by a dog asshole and I am still up with the baby what do you think is wrong?
Instead I mumble through my tears, I just hurt.

He goes to the medicine cabinet and gets an ibuprofen and pops it into my mouth and gives me a drink of water.  

Picks up Gunner again who's still crying and starts to rock him.

I look over at him in his rocking chair and I in mine as we cuddle the kids and I knew at that moment that I am not really alone in this because he is a dad too.

The only dad this family has. 

Easter Disaster

Thursday, March 31, 2016

I am currently sitting at my desk at work. I haven’t really been able to get a lot of work done today or even this week because every few minutes one of the students or teachers stops and asks what happened to my arm. Just so you don’t have to ask the same question let me tell you while I am at it.

It was Easter like any other Easter. (Cue in the dramatic music) The bunny came, we ate candy for breakfast, dyed Easter eggs for lunch and even made side dishes to go with Easter dinner at my parents’ house.  The whole time we are doing these things Wyatt cannot stop talking about how he was going to get the golden egg this year. He is so serious about it that he even writes it in his journal.

We get to my parents have dinner and then it was time. Time for the Easter egg hunt. The men hide the eggs in my parent’s backyard making sure to hide the prize GOLDEN EGG in just the right spot as all the kids waited patiently in the playroom.

Once all the eggs were hidden we open the back door and the kids rush outside to find the eggs.
Now my parents have a good size yard sitting up a top of a hill connecting onto their backyard neighbor’s yard who’s below only separated by a fence and my parent’s wood pile. 
Now these neighbors always have had dogs who’s been a little aggressive so we’ve just come accustom to it.

I was with Gunner finding eggs and taking pictures of him, Andalyn was with Cody closer to my parents’ house and Wyatt was running in all directions to find the Prize Golden Egg.
He runs over to me 5 minutes into the hunt, and rushes to tell me that he knows that the golden egg is in the wood pile and asks me to go over there with him to find it. Of course I go, I mean it is the Golden egg after all!

I walk over there with him as Gunner follows me behind.
Wyatt is in front of me closer to my parent’s side digging in the pile. I am behind him semi turned to the back fence line. I am holding my camera and raise it to take a picture of Wyatt.
Just as I do, I see in the corner of my eye a big brown dog charge up the hill. Now, this is “normal” behavior that these dogs do so I don’t think anything of it.

I continue to raise my arm to take a picture and then all of a sudden, the next thing I know the dog grabbed my arm and bit hard down on it tugging and pulling me, trying to pull me over the fence.

I just remember looking down at my arm and being so pissed that this dog has bit me. I didn’t feel the bite, I just clearly remember saying in my head, “What the fuck, this dog has bit me.”
I could feel him pulling my arm trying to get me over the fence and I said again in my head again Fuck you dog, you will not pull me over.

I somehow, get my body to bend down and turn it to give me the momentum to rip my arm from the dog’s mouth, and I run away.

Again, I am still do not feel pain. My mind is telling me clearly that I need to run, hold up your arm, wave it around, you are screaming, they will hear you. I only see a top punctured wound on my arm at this time.

According to my mom, I run right to her and show her my arm. She asks me what happened and that is when I say, “The dog, the dog bit me.” And then I drop to the ground.

She’s screaming at my dad who’s a Director of Nursing. My two sisters run over who are surgical technicians. They are screaming commands out, get a towel, and do this, that, hold here, call 911.
I just remember yelling out to my husband “there is breast milk in the freezer there is breast milk in the freezer.”

The next thing I know I am floating out of the backyard with my sister holding and pressing down a towel on my arm to stop the bleeding. I clearing remember looking at my husband who is holding my 1 month old and telling him sternly to get the kids and that there is break milk in the freezer.

I am pushed into my sister’s car and we rush off to the hospital. My dad is in the car my two sisters and Mike my other sister’s husband is following us in another car.

My sisters and dad are on speaker phone to my other siblings and I am in the back seat of the car with my sister holding hard onto my arm.They are telling my siblings where we are going and what to do next and I just remember screaming out (at this point I am in and out of shock) Wyatt better get a damn golden egg!

                                             (be prepared to see graphic pictures below)

And then my mind starts to inform me, that I cannot feel my arm. Nothing, I cannot move my fingers, my hand and I freak out. And I start to scream even more and yell I can’t feel my arm I can’t feel my arm

We finally get to the ER and it’s like in the movies. We zoom up to the front and they throw me out and my sisters run me inside while my dad parks the car.
We get inside and I am screaming and bleeding and screaming and yelling about how I get bit by a dog.

They run up to us and look at my arm. Now remember I’ve only seen a top punctured wound on my arm at this point.
They remove the towel and turn my arm over and I see it. A big, a huge bite hole in my arm. And I freak out.

My sister Alisha grabs my head and has me look at her and she repeats. You are fine Audrey, you are fine. Over and over.

They take me into a triage room (I am still screaming) and when I get into the room the doctor or whoever yells at me to stop crying and I am pissed that he yelled that at me and clearly think I cannot physically stop crying. I cannot make my body stop.

He starts to touch my fingers and asks if I can feel them and I cry even hard because I say no. I have never been so scared then at that moment in my life.
He tries the other fingers. He pinches them and I still can’t.

He moves me out of the triage room and puts me in the waiting room and we wait for hours to be seen by a doctor (not even kidding, lesson learned we will always call an ambulance so we can get straight into a doctor.)

Finally I see a doctor they clean it out, stitch it up and I go home 5 hours later still unable to move my fingers or feel my arm.

The next morning Wyatt woke me up, worried and feeling like this was all his fault and I looked at him straight in the face and said "Wyatt, in life you have to get an epic scar at least once. And this one is mine and not yours. I will wear it proud and loud because I now know, that I can stand my ground and not let anything ever pull me in a direction that I do not want to go."

And I truly believe that. I could choose to let this get me down, I could keep freaking out about not being able to move my fingers or I can get up, work hard (type this one handed) and know that I will do anything and everything to not let this accident be more than just that. Because I am a strong women who refused to let that dog pull me over.

*Come next week to read about the ridiculous animal control officers, what happened to the dog and why we had to get a lawyer.*

The end of the night

Friday, March 11, 2016


The house grew quite pretty quick as all the boys were tucked in bed and sung their last song for the night. I handed off the baby to dad and stood at the kitchen sink.

I have never been the one that liked doing the dishes or even really cared for picking up the house at the end of the night. But somehow after having Andalyn I turned into a mom that couldn’t wait to accomplish all those mundane tasks.


Here I was listening to my 2 year old snore through the monitor I had placed on the counter and felt the heat hit my hands as I started to grab the dishes to clean off the food. That somehow was prepared that evening even though I had a clingy baby attached to my hip.

How’d we get here?

How was it possible that I was my mom in this moment? I don’t remember becoming her but I slowly did. Here I was in a kitchen like hers in a quite house with my kids asleep after a long day doing what she’s done.


I thought about that each time my hands hit the water. I scrubbed another dish, placed it into the dishwasher and paused just for a moment to hear my baby whimper but quickly calm in her daddy arms.

Did he think the same thing as me? Did he wonder how he became his dad so quickly and naturally?

I finished the dishes and found myself picking up toy cars and bouncy balls and helping them find their way back into their toy bins. When I finally sat down the baby fussed and was tossed back into my arms where I nursed rocked her back to sleep.


I sat there silent next to Cody who was watching basketball and thought about all the things that will need to be done the next day. But this time it was different, I wasn’t mad that I wouldn’t be getting all well-deserved me time that before I would crave. Instead I was happy at the thought of it all.

I couldn’t wait to tackle the library with all the kids in tow and was excited at the thought of them running down the dirt road as we’d take the dog on a walk. I even felt good about folding the laundry again.


These tasks although I have done them every week for a good 12 years felt new because I was doing them now, like how I remember my mom doing them.

I pictured my young kids looking at me as I gracefully pick up this toy here, throw a load of laundry in there. Laugh with me like I did when I was young with my mom as we have a dance party in the kitchen while dinner was cooking.

I accomplished a lot this week. My house has been cleaner than ever before. I even scrubbed the toilets.

The dog and kids have been out of the house more than once, I cooked food, real food. I uploaded all my pictures off my camera card and even got some ready to print. I got all the errands done and paid bills and I have a DVR filled with shows yet to be watched.

kids3kids10These tasks are my tasks now that I will only get for so long before they will become my kids tasks and their kids tasks.

There is comfort in that.

Knowing that we start off life in such a small little way and end it bigger and more important regardless if it just putting the last of the dishes in the dishwasher at the end of the night like your mom did before you.

In Pictures: Andalyn’s first bath

Saturday, March 5, 2016


and then she came

Friday, March 4, 2016

Everything went wrong when you surprise us that you were coming.

My pregnancy was not at all easy like it was with your brothers. I was sick a lot, food was not something I wanted to eat (unless it was roast beef sandwiches from Arbys.) I broke out in rashes that covered me from head to toe, my liver started shutting down and my doctor was a jerk.

We had a scare that something was wrong with your heart so they had us redo your ultra sound. Which we never did find out for sure that it wasn’t because well, my doctor was a jerk. So we took it just as no news is good news.  You would also kick me all the time and had never ending hiccups.

You tried to come early a few times and I had to go to the hospital and stop you from doing so because you were still so tiny and I don’t dilate.

And then the day arrived that we picked out February 1st, 2016.

Your birthday.

Your dad and I excitedly packed the last few things in our bags that morning, dropped off your brothers to school and grandmas before we drove up to the hospital.

They took us back to our room where the nurses checked you and tried to give me my IV more than once. Which wasn’t that successful. I had to hold my hand a certain way or it wouldn’t drip the meds I needed and they even had to bring in another nurse to get that in.

But we didn’t think about that, we thought about you.

Your dad and I talked calmly about what it will be like to welcome you into the world. We chatted about how it was when we were here years ago getting ready to welcome your brothers.

We talked about how you were going to be our last little one. The last to do all the firsts and for us that felt like how it was supposed to be.

It turned 1pm, the time we were supposed to be moved into the surgery room but our doctor was late. Then when he did arrived he checked on his other patients before getting to us so we waited again. We finally got back to the room a half an hour later where we were greeted by the anesthesiologist.

He was to input my epidural which wasn’t successful and he tried for a good 20 minutes or so stabbing me in my back trying to get it too work. Finally after the moved me around a few times they got it in but I was left with a really bruised back.

Our doctor finally arrived and started the surgery to get you to us.

He started the cut but ran into some scar tissue from your brothers so he had to make the cut longer. And when they finally got to you, you were so far down that you got stuck. So stuck that I had 2 nurses jumping and pushing on my belly to try to remove you.

I could do nothing but laugh.

They finally got you out and we heard nothing.

No cry, nothing.

Your dad exactly walks over to where the nurses were cleaning you but they sent him away so they could get you to breath.

You were in such shock to be out into this world that it took a good few minutes for you to choose to breath.

But you did.

Then you cried.

Hard and loud which made me cry because I was so happy to have you here.

They were finishing removing my tubes but my IV wasn’t administrating the meds so I wasn’t clotting like I was suppose too. I started to get sick and could hear the doctors rushing to figure out what was happening all the while your dad was taking pictures of you and being with you.

After a few minutes they figured out that it was indeed my IV causing the issues and corrected.

They closed me up.

They moved us into our room and I finally got to hold you.

There you were, so tiny with a lot of dark brown hair and light eyes.

I couldn’t help but beamed with joy to finally officially get to met you. You launched on my breast with no issues and we spent the next hours there together with your dad by our side. It was the most amazing moment of my life. To see you, my daughter a girl I’d dreamt about but never knew I would actually get to met.


Anadalyn Joy Christensen

You were born into our family on February 1st, 2016 at 2:12pm weighing in at 6 pounds 13 ounces 20 inches long.

All though your arrival was a surprise and full of twist you were the most magnificent little girl we have  ever met.

Welcome to our family.