Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Welcome 2019

Dear 2019,
   We are pretty excited you are here. 2018 was good to us with the best part welcoming our little Belle into our lives but we are definitely excited for you to be here even with all the unknown that you will bring. You are a reminder of a fresh start and even more new beginnings.
   2019, we really want to focus on being more present as a family. With all the distractions around that bombard each one of us daily, we want to make sure we focus on what is most important-each other.  That means putting down our phones, forgoing the cleaning or the laundry at times, less worrying about the future and past, or the never-ending "to do's" and being fully involved and 100% there.
   Thanks for coming! We're happy to have you stay awhile, at least a year?
                                                                                                  Xo, The Larson Family

Now time for our goal words for the year.

April 2018 was a good month for us with the birth of this cutie. Isabelle continues to be the happiest baby around. For 2019 we want this little girl to focus on keeping that smile around. Belle is a bundle of joy and pretty much ALWAYS smiling. Her smile is absolutely contagious and we hope she continues to spread that sunshine to all who encounter her sweetness.

Adeline's word for 2018 was Grasp. We had hoped she would grasp for learning and she caught hold and has held tight. Through a study done before her 2nd birthday at the University of Utah, we found that our sweet rambunctious Adeline is a gifted child. She is advanced far past her age. The challenge for us is finding activities that keep her entertained and also challenge her. When it comes to learning, this girl has definitely grasped the train.

With the arrival of her little sister automatically bumping her to the "middle" child I wanted to make extra sure she grasped how loved she is. I am sure this will always be a work-in-progress with all our kids, but I felt it extra important for Addie to hold firm to the knowledge, I hope she and we will continue to do so.

She has grasped her role as "big sister". At first we worried a little, but soon those worries changed as she and Belle grew a little more. They are becoming the best of little friends. She has not only grasped her role, but exceeded expectations and become quite the teacher and helper.

With each new adventure that has come our way, Addie has fully grasped each one. We started saying, "Well Addie will" because her adventurous spirit and ability to be so resilient and try and do anything has been something we all want to be more like at times.

For 2019, Addie helped to choose her word: Soak. With all that she has grasped this year, we now hope she'll soak it in. We hope she'll be like a sponge and just absorb all the knowledge she learns and soak in the challenges-not letting them slow her down. We also hope she'll soak in kindness and love and them spread them around wherever she goes. 

Lydia's word for 2018 was connect. I am grateful for this focus as this was the year that I feel like a lot of connections were needed.

Lydia has connected with many friends. The love of working and playing with others went a bit farther as she learned to bring it all together. She has made quite a few "best" friends and I love to hear her pray for her friends at night.

Speaking of praying, Lydia has connected more with the scriptures and most importantly more with her Savior. It has been fun to watch what we are learning at home and at church come out in normal conversations. "Mom, I think we should pray" is something Lydia does not hesitate to remind me, and I know it is because she has seen and felt a connection between prayer and divine help. We have loved reading of our Savior with her because her little brain is constantly forming connections and it will often spur questions and then wonderful family discussions.

Lydia started preschool, dance, and tumbling this year-this has been such wonderful avenue for her and helped her connect more to her body as she learns to move it and try new things. She has been able to connect more with her mind as she is learns to read and spell. She's exploring and learning so much and I absolutely love it.

Lydia chose the word Make for 2019. This is extremely fitting for her because this little girl has turned into a creative butterfly. She connected with her talents this last year and found that she loves all things arts and crafts. She can spend hours upon hours making things. We hope her ability to make things will go far beyond crafts. It is our hope that she will make more happiness, friends, and room for trying new things. I hope she can make the brave and right choice at times and that she can make room for spiritual talents to develop.

For 2018 I had chosen the word Cherish for a lot of reasons. One was that with the coming of our new baby, I was nervous and excited and worried all at the same time. But I knew what I needed most was to cherish the new experiences that were coming. I wanted to cherish every moment I could with the new baby because it is so fleeting. I have strived to cherish her and every stage she has passed through. I cherished the pregnancy as much as I could as well as the whole birth process.

I am still working on this one but I also wanted to cherish my amazing working body for growing 4 babies and delivering, feeding, and caring for 3. I am still working to cherish the way it looks-a little more stretched out and softer, but I am grateful for the progress I have made.

Cherishing my motherhood is something else I really worked on. Heaven knows I am far far far from perfect but one of the definitions of cherish is "keep a hope or ambition in one's mind" and that is how my motherhood is. I'm keeping the hope and ambition of being a better mom and trying a little harder every day in mind and pushing forward with the hope that I'll succeed even if it is just having the patience to sing "Let it Go" one more time or cleaning up one more spill. I love my role and I want to hold it dear and care and nourish it more.

I have always known I had a testimony of my Savior and His gospel, but I wanted to cherish it and protect and care for it more. I am so excited for the new Come Follow Me program and the opportunity to cherish and grow my testimony even further.

I have wanted to cherish and preserve my family and the memories we are making more. I have started organizing ALL my photos and journals (and when I say ALL I mean every photo I have ever taken) and put them into albums and books. Cherishing all my relationships-my friends, my siblings, my parents, my husband and kids, neighbors, and even the same two cashiers at Smiths that helps me with my groceries each week. It has been feeling a love for all of these people.

Overall I have strived to cherish change. With the unknown of Brian's job and the change in our home that has happened I have really tried to cherish my resilience to change. It was a really good year for me to cherish.

My new goal word for 2019 is HERE. I have felt such a pull to be more present and aware. My kids are growing up SO quickly. My baby is 8 months, my 2 year old is more like a 3 year old and my 4 year old thinks she is 13. I want to be right here with them every day and on most moments. I also want to be here in my head and body-not thinking so much about the next thing I need to do or want to buy or the next pound I want to drop. Stop thinking about the past and my mistakes or the mistakes of others. Live in the present and being grateful for the now.

Brian really tried to be more appreciative of life. He strived to appreciate me more as well as the little girlies that adore their daddy. He appreciated his testimony and his role as priesthood holder and head of our household. He appreciated his job more. His patients. His research. His rotations. And with his appreciation came more feelings of gratitude and happiness. He 2018 off started with such a burn out that he needed this focus to bring him out of it and grateful for the wonderful life he has created. He appreciated his calling more and we even where given another calling of teaching the YSA of our ward which he has loved and come to appreciate feeling young still.

Brian learned to really really appreciate his body as he turned 30 this year and the day after hurt his knees mountain biking that put him out for months. Two weeks after he got pretty sick and had his first ever ER visit just two months after. He has really learned to appreciate his health and what it means to take good care of himself.

Brian has worked to develop better study and spiritual habits and has come to really appreciate the knowledge he has learned and his desire to be a better disciple of Christ. This has really reflected in our life at home as well.

For 2019 Brian wants to be more present. Studies show that being more fully aware of the resent moment helps people be happier. He wants to be aware of what is happening and perceive more. He wants to sharpen his senses and be more immersed-in his job, family, relationships, studies, and just each day.

Alright 2019! We are ready for you! 

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Dear Lydia at 4

My dearest Lydia

Today you are 4. When you climbed into my bed this morning and asked, "Is it my birthday?" with the most hopeful and sweetest voice ever, my heart felt soft and my eyes watery. I held you close and watched your face light up and I said yes and you broke out in the biggest smile. You've waited for this day since Halloween of last year when we told you that you couldn't go trick-or-treating until you were 4.  I think we have anticipated it now for so long that it didn’t feel like a huge shock but it still is crazy to think of all that has happened in the last 4 years.

When I reflect back on that day when we first became a family of 3.. it was huge. We were so excited to become an official little family. But we were also terrified. I wanted to be strong but I also didn’t know what to expect. How would I be as a mother? How would we raise this precious child and keep her close to the Savior? These questions still swirl in my mind these days but I now have this little girl who is now 4. And she has personality and is fierce and strong and darling.

Today we dyed the milk in your cereal pink and you dressed in your favorite "cinderella" dress for your princess party with your friends. I was determined to help you feel like the princess that you are. You loved running around with your friends and breaking open the pinata, and we loved watching your excitement. 

You have so much energy and feisty sweetness all bundled up into this tiny little girl. You are so smart and social and absolutely brillant. You could be the next inventor or discovery of something superb. You are so creative and original. You love to help and dote on your sisters. You are beautiful with those radiant blue eyes and dazzling smile. You are glitter and sparkles and spunk. 

When we went to the park before bedtime tonight, I watched you climb on the rocks with Adeline and giggle while you both tried to hold your pizza in your hands. You are the sunshine that first made my world glow. Happy Birthday my girl. Happiest 4th year to you!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Dear Adeline on your 2nd Birthday

My Sweet Adeline,
It has been a wonderful two whole years of singing the old 1903 ballad "Sweet Adeline" to you.
     Sweet Adeline, (My Adeline,)
     My Adeline, (My Adeline,)
     At night, dear heart, (At night, dear heart,)
     For you I pine. (For you I pine.)
     In all my dreams, (In all my dreams,)
     Your fair face beams. (Your fair face beams.)
     You're the flower of my heart,
     Sweet Adeline.

Oh how we adore you my sweetheart.

Your BIG, HUGE smile that you freely give to everyone. I hope you continue to share it with all.

Your friendly disposition. You will run up to complete strangers with your arms open wide for a hug and absolutely no fear that you have never before seen that person. You leave people happier than when you found them. Please please continue to help people find happiness.

Your beautiful brown eyes. They melt me. Even when you are in trouble for sitting on the baby or pushing Lydia off the couch, you lock those root beer eyes with those thick black lashes and I stutter through your punishment. I hope you can always strive to see the beauty in life and how you can help create it.

Your fearless approach to trying new things. With anything food-you don't even hesitate to try new things and find you 95% of the time love them. This has trickled over to so many aspects-new games, riding a scooter, climbing in the car all by yourself-you don't shy away from new things and I hope you will look for something new to learn each day.

Your quick thinking and intellect. You are incredibly smart and gifted. It is my hope we can continue to find things that challenge you and help you learn and develop that amazing brain of yours.

Your imitation skills. You see something done once and can imitate it perfectly whether by sight or sound. I hope you will imitate goodness and spread it around like peanut butter on waffles.

Your energy and love for playing and running free. I hope you will

You are the flower of my heart my sweet, sweet Adeline.
Happy Birthday flower,


Happy Birthday Adeline!
It is amazing that two years has now gone by since you joined our family.  Sometimes it feels like we have never been without you.  You are our curly haired, brown-eyed, smiley, fun loving, little girl.  You love your sisters!  You love to take care of your baby sister, Isabelle. You love to follow Lydia around and imitate everything she does when your playing.  You say you like pink and make up because Lydia does, but I have a feeling you are going to be into sports (you already have a wicked arm).  I hope that you will always love your sisters and that you will always have them as your best friends.  You love learning and can quickly learn new things quickly.  You already know your colors, animals, and how to count to 10.  I hope that you can keep that love of learning throughout your life.  I love you so much Addie and hope that you have a great birthday!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Baby Larson #3 Pregnancy Journal

Another Baby Larson here, another journal completed. 

Lydia and Adeline's pregnancy journals can be found here and here. Now my plan is to get all these printed out so these girls can read them and see how our love for them started long before we held them in our arms. 

But first-here is Isabelle's. 

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Meet Isabelle

Isabelle Larson
born April 24, 2018
at the University of Utah Hospital
at 1:35 am
8 lbs
20 inches
3 days before due date

The Story:
   A little preface to the delivery is this- towards the end of pregnancy this baby's movements really started to slow down. This was a little concerning for my doctor at the time and she spoke with me about being induced. I was nervous about the idea of an induction, but after thinking, praying, and talking with Brian about it, we decided it was best. The date was scheduled for Monday April 23.

Monday April 23-I had been feeling light contractions through the night, but not closer than 10 minutes apart. I was told to call the hospital an hour before we were supposed to go in and when I did I was informed that there had been a few emergencies through the night and that they didn't have a room available for me and that I should call back around noon. This was honestly hard to hear-but almost a relief too because by now I was nervous and I didn't feel like my house was "clean enough" to bring a new baby home to. So I spent the morning deep cleaning the floors of my kitchen and family room.

By noon my contractions were still coming every 8-10 minutes but weren't painful. We called the hospital again and was told there still wasn't a room available so Brian and I went to Jersey Mikes' Subs (THE BEST) and watched Lord of the Rings on Netflix (it's a long movie and we needed the distraction ha). I even took a small nap. Finally around 4 pm I was told they had a room available.

The car ride was surreal. It just didn't feel like this was happening for real. My past two births have been much more dramatic and this felt so much more relaxed.

As we walked into the hospital I wanted to tell people around me walking by, "Do you know I'm here because I'm going to have a baby?"

I was checked in around 5 pm and we got ourselves set up in our room.

We kept giving each other goofy looks and strangely awkward giggles. It is just a crazy feeling-the moments before you know life is about to change. Brian kept joking that the baby needed to come either before or after the Jazz played the Thunder (and was grateful he had time to enjoy the whole game before she made her arrival ha).

Things got rolling pretty quickly. Due to the contractions I had been having I was already a 3 (which my last appointment 4 days before I had only been .5). My nurse predicted that had I not been induced that day I probably would have gone the next evening anyway with the consistency and rate I was progressing.

I was put on Pitocin and my dad came and visited with Brian as we waited. My blood pressure kept dropping which resulted in me being lightheaded and given extra fluids, but otherwise things were pretty chill.

At 9 pm I was given an epidural that only took to my right side and it wasn't very strong at all. It was probably the most uncomfortable I have been with an epidural and that is saying something because my epidural with Lydia only took to one side also. I could feel every contraction-they were just muted a little.

Around 10 pm my mom and sister Raquel came to the hospital. It was super nice to have them there and was a great distraction for the wait as well as pushing through each contraction.

Finally at midnight they checked me and I hadn't progressed much. I was really bummed but almost immediately after the nurse left the room, I  started feeling the contractions really hit hard and come closer together.

After another half hour the urge to push was becoming stronger and I told Brian to tell the nurse because I felt like things were about to get hopping.

And just like that I was at a 9.5.

My doctor was paged and soon the room began to fill with people. I was kind of surprised at the fast pace things started to move. 

People were pouring in the room and hustling about getting things all ready. The bed was lowered and lights were turned on and tools were laid out. It felt unreal once again. 

Doctor Ostler asked if Brian was cutting the cord and the OB Resident said, “No the mom is” And I was super hesitant. I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to cut it because first it seemed totally weird and second I didn’t want to ruin my first moments with my baby by interrupting to cut the cord. That just seemed bizarre. But the resident was kind of pushy. She kept saying things like, “oh you’ll love it” And “just do it” and so I was like.. well.. okay?

Then it all started.

It took all of 2 contractions of pushing.. and at 1:35 am, I heard her. Her cry. 

And there she was. In my arms. Flailing her little arms and looking right at me.

I held her for a moment and just cried. 

My beautiful little love is here! Brian came to my side and cried with me. He put her hat on her as the nurses cleaned her up. We both just talked to her as she cried. It felt like heaven and angels were in the room with us and I believe they were. This little beauty was here. 

She has the same furrow her sisters had and those same big eyes. She was smaller than I had expected and had dark dark hair. Her fingers and toes were so so so long and skinny that they made me laugh.  Her head is perfectly round and her hair is so dark and long. I hope it never falls out. (But it probably will). Her ears have this little fold at the top and they are so tiny! She is perfect. So so perfect. 

I kept telling her that over and over as I held her little hand. “I’m your momma” I kept saying, “and I’m so happy you are here.”

I could see the umbilical cord still attached and the resident waiting to give me the scissors. They clamped the cord and handed them to me.

It was not quite the magical experience I think the resident wanted me to have ha. Instead it was kind of gross. It was like a super rubbery thick piece of licorice and I had to cut it in a couple snips.. but I guess I can cross off cutting an umbilical cord off a list somewhere ha.

But then she was “free” and I passed her to Brian to hold her. 

Watching Brian hold her is so special. He is one of those that can’t stop crying when the spirit is strong. And there he was, holding his new precious little girl. One that I think looks just like him. 

He brought her close up to his face and kissed her and then looked at me with tears down his cheeks. “It’s Isabelle!”

All I could mutter out was "We'll see." Because I still wasn't sure and wanted to go through my list of names. 

We passed her to my mom who had tears on her face and kept telling me how special it all was. She held her close and nuzzled her and my heart melted even more. 

And then it was Raquel’s turn who just kept that darling baby right up to her face and also shed some tears. How could we all not? This new little life, this perfect life-fresh from heaven is here in our arms. It does not get any better than this at all. This is eternity.

The nurses were soon hovering around to get her weight and length. 

7 lbs 15.5 oz and 20 inches long. Pretty much 8 lbs and pretty dang perfect.

The after-delivery was much smoother (though still a little crazy) than it had been with Adeline's delivery. My uterus wasn't contracting and I was loosing a lot of blood. But they were prepared. 

They gave me methergine and a few shots of something and kept me on pitocin for an extra 24 hours after delivery. It was all to help my uterus contract so that I wouldn’t bleed as much. But I still lost enough blood for it to be called postpartum hemorrhaging. They had to push on my belly every 45 minutes for the first day to measure the blood and make sure my uterus was contracting.

While moving rooms, Brian took the birth certificate papers and started to fill them out. I panicked because I hadn’t tried all the names on her yet. We had kind of narrowed it down to Samantha or Isabelle because those are what she looked the most like to the both of us. I could tell Brian was still set on Isabelle but for some reason I just couldn’t say yes 100% on it. 

The next thing I knew though, Brian was informing me that the birth certificate was complete and he had turned it in.

I was shocked! “Wait! What name did you put down?” and he just matter-of-factly said “Isabelle”

I wanted to react, but with how firm he was being on this I thought about how maybe the reason I couldn’t decide was because this baby was supposed to be named by her daddy. Brian was so sure that he had handed in the birth certificate. I didn’t get to look over it or anything! That was a little crazy, but at the same time, I knew that I trusted him. And I really do love the name Isabelle. 

And so.. my lovely baby girl became Isabelle Larson.

Lydia and Adeline came to the hospital the next morning to meet Isabelle.

Adeline just wanted to point out all the baby's body parts and Lydia wanted to hold her for maybe 30 seconds and was more concerned about why I was hooked up to so much stuff and couldn't move well.

It was a moment of excitement to be together but also chaos and a glimpse of what life with these three girls could be once we were home. But I loved it. Truly.

I thought my heart couldn’t be any more full, but I was wrong.

Here we were, all together as a family of 5. The girls climbed on the bed next to me and we all held and looked at the little miracle in my arms. 

Welcome to our home and heart little Isabelle. You are so loved.