All five Card girls came together this year for Mother's Day to make this video for our Mom. Thanks to Sam (Oldest) and her hubby Chas for putting in most of the work to film and edit this gem. Mom LOVED it and so do we.
Im so glad I had Heather Pickett take these newborn pictures of Archie. I didn't do this with Banks and regret it. Heather is so great because her experience as an RN really makes her confident and able to work with babies so well. We are so happy with how the pictures turned out.
It's funny how easy you forget what those first few weeks are like. Michael and I sure did. I have to say though in Archie's defense, it really was that first night home (so far) that was a little rough. He was pretty restless that first night, which meant no sleep basically for Mommy and Daddy. I think it had something to do with switching formula on him (that's right, I don't nurse...don't judge) that had him in a funk. Thankfully he is back on top and has been sleeping for 5 hours straight! Ill feed him and then he's back down. Both my boys have been like this and I feel so lucky to not be a zombie. Bottle feeding, for us, is a lifesaver and I wouldn't have it any other way. I realize that it's only been a few days but I feel like this routine is a good indicator of how things are going to go with this one, keeping our fingers crossed.
These pictures are my attempt at some amateur infant photography. They change so much at the beginning that each day they look different, at least in the Mommy's eyes.
I had my sister Sam of kelly arts films capture this happy event. So glad I did.
This is how it went down.
I was waiting to get induced on Wednesday but honestly didn't think it would happen because the hospital had called early that morning to tell me they were slammed and didn't know if I would get to come in that day. Plus I had come down with some 24 hour flu bug in the night and so I wasn't feelin that good to begin with. My Mom and I decided to head to NPS to shop our sadness away. I had been feeling contractions all day/week but just figured they were Braxton Hicks and so I just worked through them as usual. We were having dinner at my parents that night when the hospital called and said we could come right in! I about died and almost pulled some muscles by sliding across the floor in excitement. We ditched Banks with them and drove to Provo.
Got checked in and turns our those contractions were pretty consistent and intense. I must be a soldier because I worked through them like one. I got started on pitocin and the contractions got pretty intense. Epidural please! Within an hour of getting the epidural, my water broke on its own which is awesome. The Doc came right in because the baby was ready to slide on out. I literally pushed through 3 contractions and out he came!!!!!!!!! Can you believe it?! I couldn't either. I was in shock! I guess I assumed all my births would be similar to Banks'. Hard hard hard. I guess not. It was actually enjoyable. Did I just say that? Never thought I would. I was super blessed it went as smoothly as it did and that Archie is here safe and sound.
I know I had you all goin on Gordon or George. Neither felt super right to me a few days before so we just went back to the drawing board. They were left on but a few more were added. Archibald was my Mom's Grandfather's name and he was quite the stud. Geneaology Hall of Famer and much more. I just loved how Archie went with Banks and so did Michael. His middle name is Michael after my Dad.
So we are in love and feel so blessed to have him in our life.
Saturdays are coveted days round here. Banks and I both look forward to having Michael home all day, for some of the same reasons, but for some different reasons as well. Here are a few of the reasons why I love Saturdays:
Anytime we go anywhere, Michael always loads Banks in his car seat. This is a simple treasure for me. Sometimes during the week I decide not to leave the house for this reason. Banks is to that blessed age where he loves to fight me EVERY time I have to put him in his seat. This is killer especially being as big as I am but also because Banks puts up a good fight. Simple pleasures.
Another thing I love about Saturdays is all the mellow hang out time. Since Michael is home Banks seems so much more content to just play and entertain himself...go figure. Michael will also bust out the guitar and serenade us. We love this.
Really, I just love all our cozy, quiet time on Saturdays. Some Saturdays there is more of this than others but in general there is plenty to be had.
Banks just loves Saturdays because Dad is home all day to play.
So really, Michael is the best part of Saturday round here. We're pretty spoiled by that guy.
The floors at my Mom's house are pretty slick so this is how we keep Banks entertained while we're there.
Also, if you follow me on instagram don't bother with this next part. Some of my family doesn't have instagram so I've got to post some pictures for them of the Banker man... all of which you've seen before.
We're headed to the Zoo in the morning to see if I can't give my body some encouragement to get things moving. Hopefully I don't regret it. Go by myself ? I ain't that crazy, Michael is taking the day off of work to come with us. Plus I think he loves going to the Zoo the most out of the three of us.
A little background. Cathy is Michael's older sister. She is pretty much an Amazon woman like all the women in Michael's family. Anywho, she wrote this email to the fam in response to a group chain that got started a few weeks back. I was amazed after reading it and you will be too when you're done. And just so you aren't confused, Jon is her current husband but she was also married to a John Gardner whom she talks about at the beginning.
Thanks for asking us to do this. I think needed this personally more than anything I can share with you. I keep a very sporadic journal. Some of it's on my computer and some of it's hand written. Anyways, I was looking through my computer for some ideas of things to send you and found a file that I had completely forgotten about. It's a series of about a dozen journal entries all written during the 3 months right before Heavenly Father delivered us from our last financial crisis when Jon was out of steady work for 18 months and ended up working at DirectTV, which was COMPLETE MISERY and not enough $ to support us. It was so interesting reading and seeing how similar the emotions and struggles are to what we're going through now.
It made me reflect overall on my life. I have faced many stressful times in my life, times when I really felt like my life was over (in the sense that what I had dreamed of and hoped for for my life were now impossible), times when I literally couldn't get out of bed in the morning or eat or sleep, times when I seemed surrounded by darkness. And yet, every, single time the Lord has, in the end, delivered me. Not on my time table or in the ways that I expected or asked for, but He has sent a miracle, a life-changing event that makes life good and worth living until the next big trial.
Just off the top of my head:
1. When John Gardner went to jail I spent a year of my life as a first-time, single, unemployed mother of a young infant (Braden was 2 months - 14 months old during that time period) who was also homeless (I bounced around living with relatives that year) and penniless. I truly believed my life was over at the tender age of 24. I didn't believe it was possible for me to ever be in a healthy marriage, to have a family or to be happy again. I had become too jaded, too bitter, and I had WAY too much baggage (not to mention a kid - although wonderful and who I wouldn't trade for the world, but what good guy was going to want to take that on?). Shortly before John's death, I asked dad for a father's blessing and in it I was promised that I would have "everything I had dreamed of and more". It was a short 8 months later than Jon and I reunited and I knew immediately that it was the fulfilling of that blessing. There are sooooooo many miraculous and sweet stories associated with all of the details, but the gist of it was that the Lord delivered me from a situation that I couldn't have resolved myself.
2. After a brief period of wedded bliss, our 2nd baby, sweet Caleb, was on the way. Jon had a good job, but was only making about $23,000/year. He was working full time and going to school full time. I was teaching piano lessons to help supplement our income a little, but it wasn't much. As the time for Caleb to be born grew near, I was panicking. Despite living very frugally, I just didn't see how we could provide for Caleb. I remember it was only a couple of weeks until he would be born and I hadn't even bought any diapers because we just couldn't afford them. One night our doorbell rang, and when I came to the door no one was there, but there were about 300 diapers wrapped in bows. I remember falling to my knees and crying, I was so relieved. Anyway, we always have a lot of little help along the way, but after he was born we were sooooooo cramped in our little 800 square foot house. Caleb was sleeping out in the living room and Caleb and Braden were constantly waking each other up and it was just hard. I could not see any way to work harder or improve our situation. Out of the blue I get a call from John Gardner's lawyer and our case, which had been going on for 2 years, had suddenly settled. The settlement allowed us to pay off student loans and get into a bigger house. Once again, we were delivered.
3. About a year later, Jon found a job opportunity with a start-up company that had a lot more potential. It was risky, but we felt certain he could always turn around and get another $10 or $11 an hour job again. They were a dime a dozen. Well, the company failed after only a few months and it was right during these few months that the collapse of the economy began. Despite his best efforts, Jon couldn't find a job at all. I was pregnant with Cameron at the time and it was super stressful. After 6 months of working odd jobs and just trying to keep it together, Jon took the job with DirectTV. It was terrible and didn't even come close to paying the bills. He was miserable and depressed and could hardly even function at the end of each day. He was at that job for 6 months. Just when I thought we couldn't take it anymore, he was offered the job at Steven's Henager. $40,000/year was a dream come true!!! He loved his job and it gave him a chance to get his MBA for free. It was such a miracle!
4. Now here we are again. After 7 1/2 years of hard work we've found ourselves stuck in a difficult place. Despite living very frugally and saving like crazy, we have lost so much. We lost almost $60,000 in the real estate market. Our $20,000 savings that we worked so hard to build so we could get a slightly bigger house for our family is nearly gone. And after 9 months of constant searching, praying, fasting and pleading, there is nothing even hopeful on the horizon. To top it off, we were sent a surprise pregnancy. There is no way to pay for prenatal care, but we don't qualify for pregnancy medicaid because thanks to our years of hard work and saving (rather than frivolous spending) we don't qualify for any help. The situation seems very hopeless. And yet, we have received several priesthood blessings in which we were promised that Jon would find a job "that would exceed our expectations" and that the Lord would bless us with work that would not only provide for our family, but that "would bring us closer to each other and closer to Him than we have ever experienced before". Some days I really feel like we've already used up all of our miracles. But I have to believe it's still coming and that, like the rest of my life, it will be worth the wait.
I had an experience during that first major trial that was very enlightening to me. Shortly after Jon went to jail, I went to Florida to live with Papa Seibert. The day that I was flying to Florida we had really bad weather. It was January in Utah and there was a big storm. After getting through security with a 5-month-old baby alone, I was literally sweating, exhausted and on the verge of tears. Braden was crying and wouldn't be calmed. To top it off, because of the storm we were delayed on the tarmac. I was in a window seat holding this crying baby and I looked out the window. Despite being near noon, it was pitch black outside. As far as I could see (which wasn't very far) it was gloom and doom. The winds howled, the rain/snow poured from the sky, and the dark seemed to press in from all sides. I remember thinking that it was very much a reflection of my own life right then. But just as that thought took hold, the plane began to move, Braden quieted and fell asleep, and we quickly lifted off the ground. Within moments, we burst through those low lying clouds. I was blinded by brilliant light. The clouds from this view were puffy and white and looked good enough to eat. The view was absolutely breathtaking, and the Spirit whispered to me in that moment that this is what my life was like. In that moment of my life, I was stuck in the storm and that was all that I could see. But literally, before I could even imagine it, it would all change, and the view would be glorious and hopeful. I have found that to be true over and over again.
I'm trying to convince her to write a book. I was so touched by her experiences that I just had to share them (with her permission of course:). Don't be jealous that I have people like this in my family. jk. but seriously she's amazing right?!
My sister Sam and I attended an awesome "Women's Conference" at BYU today. Sam called to tell me about it last week and I was skeptical but boy am I glad that I went. It was called "Confronting the Superwoman Stereotype: balancing womanhood, worship, and work." All the talks were given by ordinary women/mothers who have chosen to do play somewhat of a double role in their life by being working mothers. Being raised by a Mom who ran her own business out of our home for most of my life it was easy to connect and admire these women. I think I was skeptical about attending because for me, at this point in my life I have NO desire... I repeat, NO desire to work. I remember always saying that I knew I would likely be a working Mom because I just loved to work. WRONG! Don't get me wrong, I pride myself in my work ethic and ability to work hard (thanks Mom and Dad) but the second I had Banks, I haven't wanted to work at all.... except of course the work that goes into being a Mom. So, back to being skeptical. I guess I was worried that I wouldn't be able to relate to all these women who had the opposite desire as me, but I wasn't. If anything I walked away feeling more confident and OK with my desire to just be at home for now. That's not to say that as I get older and develop my talents or take on new ones that I won't develop a passion for something new that could lead to a career, because I am open to that and think that will likely happen in the future. For now, I'm content being at home with Banks and soon to be baby G (name change fiasco...we've got another one in the mix now, but it also starts with the letter G so we'll stick with that for now).
The keynote address was given by C. Jane Kendrick. I had heard of her before and knew that she had a popular blog but that's about it. She did a wonderful job and talked about a lot of things that impressed me. One thing in particular that stuck was her belief that people need to write their "stories" down. She talked about how those are the only things we can leave behind in this world and we need to write them down so that others can be blessed by the lives we led even after we are gone. I've never been good at a journal so I thought that I could definitely be better at writing my thoughts down via my blog. So that's what I'm gonna do. I cant promise it's always going to be coherent or something you may be interested in, but it is what it is.
So this is me, writing my stories down.
a good quote from today...
"If you are on the right path, it will always be uphill."- Mildred G. Eyring.
and one more...
Give Give Give- what is the point of having experience, knowledge or talent if I don't give it away? Of having stories if I don't tell them to others. Of having wealth if I don't share it. I don't intend to be cremated with any of it. It is in giving that I connect with others, with the world and with the divine. -Isabel Allende
Also, this happened the other day at my Mom's house and I had to share it.
Banks is a wild man but him and his cousin Hero have a sweet little connection. He's always trying to lay in her lap so that she can pull his hair. Hero gets a kick out of Banks too as we can see.
Cousins are pretty great.
Baby G updates, there really aren't any. I'm due on the 27th but am praying for a miracle. Unfortunately it appears that my body is progressing in very much the same way that it did with Banks...aka...it's not. Even when I went into active labor with Banks at 41 WEEKS my cervix (TMI? sooorrryy) was barely dilated and pretty posterior. Ru ro. So the Dr won't let me go past my due date this time but whether or not I get induced at 39 weeks is still up in the air. Everyone pray that my water breaks or that my cervix gets the idea and starts to open the heck up. Mmmmkay?
I'll let you in on our little name change fiasco for baby. So I'm at a church conference the other weekend and the lady across the table asks me what we think we're gonna name said baby. Without even thinking I say "George." My visiting teacher was sitting next to me and said, "you told me it was going to be Gordon." I was totally caught off guard and quickly corrected myself. Of course I go home and tell Michael because I can't get that out of my head. Why would I say George? I hadn't been talking about someone named George, and hadn't mentioned anything about a George all day...all week even. So random but it made me second guess the name so now it's in the mix. I think we're just gonna have to wait till he gets here to decide but as of now I'm leaning towards George and no, his middle name would not be able to be Michael so it would be William instead. I think it sounds very regal and British...George William Ries...very regal indeed.
A couple of Sundays ago, I was out in the hall with Banks during class (my life on Sunday), and we happened to walk by the Primary door and peek through the window. I just about burst into tears watching Michael stand in front of all those kids, teaching them about a certain Primary song. It just hit me how lucky I am to be hitched to this guy FOREVER.
I cannot get over how perfect and cozy our little life is and I still can't believe I lucked out in such a way to somehow get the life I have with Him.
Michael is an AMAZING Dad. He plays hard core with Banks from the second he walks through the door till basically his bed time. When Michael is home, He is super helpful with Banks and pretty much anything else I ask him to do. I've always felt like Michael participates just as much in the raising of Banks as I do and I've never felt like it was "my job" to deal with baby things. He is the best team player and I know I am lucky to have that. It's no surprise that when you ask Banks to say "Mama" he says "Dada" instead...without fail...EVERY TIME.
Besides being a rock star of a Dad he is a Rock Star of a Husband to me. I've always known that I would never find anyone better for me than Michael. He is ever so patient with me, especially when I'm prego where it seems all I do is complain about how uncomfortable and achy I am. He's never once said anything like, "I got it Sarah, you're not the only one who doesn't feel great in this world," even though it's the truth. He spoils me to no end. He takes care of me and blesses my life everyday.
So here's to winning the lottery every gosh darn day!
My parents just finished a MEGA remodel on their home that they bought in Highland last year. I WISH I had taken before pictures just so you could have a clue as to how amazing this is. My Mom is an amazing designer and she has blown everyone away yet again with this remodel. I can't wait till the spring when the whole outside will be finished as well... so I guess it's not technically even finished yet. But these should just give you a taste of the greatness.
Love this art wall. Paintings done by my two sisters, Dad, and Grandmas.