Bryan is the hardest person to Christmas shop for. He's very big on 'magical' gifts (yes, that's the phrase he uses), and I am much more of a boring, practical gift-giver. Maybe it has to do with the fact that everything on his 'magical' list is out of our price range, and there are no substitutes. So this year, instead of a 42" HDTV I made him this. I know, totally not a substitute. But it's practical, considering he still has back problems stemming from his car accident. And it was reeeeeaally easy to make. And I think I'm gonna steal it a few times myself. Love it.

It's the cutest thing ever when your 3-year-old recognizes "Jingle Bells" on the radio and sings along. So cute!

I recently found out that my shampoo is 100% vegan. I found that really hilarious.
Does that mean it's made out of vegans?

Even though my last post was shocking and depressing, both Bryan and I are in good spirits and I only have maybe one sad day for every 10. And I know we're in capable hands, so everything will be fine. People say I'm an inspiration, but believe me, I really don't feel that way! :)

Due to the copious amounts of candy purchases and even more candy consumption during October, I bought NO CANDY for Christmas! With the exception of candy canes to make peppermint bark. And I really don't miss any of it.

Bryan just started his Christmas shopping. Today. At 12 noon. He is both crazy and brave.

It's my goal to finish 2009 business taxes by December 31st. Call me insane. But I'm so close! :)

I can't wait to decorate Christmas cookies and leave some out for Santa this year! :) And don't forget carrots for his reindeer!

I also can't wait to move into a bigger apartment. With NON-smoking neighbors. Can't wait. But I'm still waiting...

I love that my kiddos eat their fruits and veggies. They're snacking on grapes while watching a Toy Trains DVD right now. And they're bopping their heads to the music. Adorable!

I totally wish it were appropriate to do a Nacho Libre and make your appearance at every event wearing stretchy pants. Especially right now!

My kids already love Anime. Still not sure how I feel about that.

I am oh so ready to get back into the musical swing of things. I miss being a part of music in general, especially in the creative process! It's been quite a sacrifice to not be able to participate since Bryan has been in school.

Less than a year and he is DONE!!!!!!!!!!!

It just dawned on me (again) today how awesome San Diego is. But I'm not in love with it enough to stay here for the rest of my life.

Christmas Eve is going to be busy and I really just wanted a nice relaxing evening with my hubby and the kiddos, but it's not looking like it's going to be like that. Hooray for large families! :)

Merry Christmas to everyone!


Really, I'm not avoiding you.

People may or may not have been wondering what I've been up to, and why in the heck I've dropped off the face of Blogland. Well...... lots of reasons. And I kind of already explained them through Facebook, then I realized that there are some people who don't get their updates that way. So this may be repeat news for some people, but just consider this news for the rest of you! :) And bear in mind, it's a detailed explanation of the last 10-15 weeks of my life, so it's quite long!

(copied from Facebook)
I'm only going to write this one time...
Okay, so people have been asking what's up with little Anastasia and what's the latest. So I'll start from the beginning, and update this as I go along so everyone can know without me having to tell the same story 5000000000 times! :) That can get a little daunting; I'm sure you understand.

WOOT! We find out we're pregnant with our third baby in mid-June. Everyone is elated.

1st ultrasound. It took seriously over an hour! The technician was very thorough, and good thing! She discovered that the right kidney appeared to not be dialating (emptying out), and she couldn't locate the stomach. She did tell us we were going to be having a girl (yet another WOOT!), and everything else looked absolutely perfect.

Following OB appointment. My doctor tells me that I have a condition called Velamentous Cord Insertion (VCI), which in layman's terms basically means that instead of the umbilical cord implanting into the center of the placenta (which is what happens normally), mine implanted on the side of the placenta. This can pretty much lead to insanely scary side effects, like the cord growing into membranes and blood vessels, which could cause your baby to bleed to death once your water breaks. I obviously wasn't too happy to hear that, and my imagination went haywire. HOWEVER, once I had a bit of time/common sense to do some research, I learned that my particular case wasn't life threatening to me or baby. Big sigh of relief! Though in the same breath, my doctor referred me to a perinatologist (baby doctor specialist) to have monthly ultrasounds done to chart progress and watch for anything else crazy.

2nd/3rd ustrasound. 2 Ultrasounds in one appointment! This was my huge, emotionally stunting day. I went in for a 'routine' checkup, and they did another ultrasound. I told this doctor & U/S tech what the first tech found in U/S #1. They confirmed everything, only to say that the non-dialating kidney was actually multiple cysts. This in and of itself wasn't too much of a scare for me, as it sort of runs in the family with that darn right kidney! The thing that really bothered me was that they once again could not find the stomach. The few reasons a stomach wouldn't show up on an U'S would be because it's not actually there, or it's not filling up like it normally should. Soooo......... the doc explained that his main concern was about the stomach not inflating, and he suspected that it was esophageal atresia. That pretty much means that the esophagus (the tube that carries food down to your stomach) didn't develop properly, and is not connected to the stomach. (It sounds way scary, but surgery is an option right after birth, and it's been done for about 30 years, so I'm not super concerned about that.) It could be that, or a genetic malfunction. Sooo...... off to the genetic counselor I go! (Keep in mind, Bryan is at home with kidlets # 1 & 2, so I'm hearing all this solo and relaying it to him via cell phone 45 minutes later, amidst a breakdown!)
Let me tell you, their job must be the WORST job ever. Because all they do is give you bad news. And not just bad news, but the worst possible scenario. He was telling me that our little girl could possibly have Trisomy 13 or 18 (which basically means that one's head & brain hasn't grown properly and have a death rate of 100% within one year). YIKES!!! And that the best option for me at that point was to do an amniocentesis. Let me tell you, that didn't sound like fun at all! The worst part was that he didn't even tell me all the major risks that would be; he really downplayed it and I wished he hadn't. It would have been nice to know everything ahead of time. Anyway, he asked me how my week looked, and for the most part it was empty. So he scheduled me for THE NEXT DAY!!!!!!

Amnio. I had to scramble to move around my schedule because he chose the ONLY day of the week that I had stuff going on. The nerve! :) Anyway, that morning I had to travel down to Children's Hospital for that amnio. There's nothing like a long drive down a congested freeway to get your nerves going! Once I got there, they did yet another ultrasound to find a good pocket of amniotic fluid, to take some measurements and to double check everyone else's findings. And guess what they found??? A STOMACH!!! It wasn't very inflated, but it was there! That's what I refer to as miracle #1.
The doctor came in to see me, he walked me through the amnio procedure a bit, telling me they wanted to keep me there for observation in case I went into labor, and to ask that stupid question: "what are you going to do with this information?" Meaning "are you going to terminate this pregnancy?" ummmm, heck no! So, once he knew that that was out of the question, he recommended that I wait to do an amnio if I still wanted one, due to the risks of pre-term labor (which that dumb genetic counselor didn't even mention!) and my gestation period (24 weeks). The only reason I even went to do it was because the counselor pretty much advised me to do so. Anyway, one disaster averted!

Ultrasound #4. Back to my normal OB. He took another ultrasound and found nothing that everyone else didn't see already. He also told me that my VCI was doing fine, no complications in that regard. Hallelujah, some GOOD news for a change! He said everything else was fine and that he would let the perinatologists handle the monthly ultrasounds and updates, and in the meantime, come back in two weeks.

U/S #5. Wow, I'm getting drained just writing all this! :) No new news, which is good news to my ears! The only tweak this time is that our little sassy pants isn't swallowing amniotic fluid, which at this point she definitely should be. That led the specialist to believe that it was in fact, esophageal atresia. And because of that, I have way more amniotic fluid in my little tummy than I should at this point! And it's all making sense to me... THAT'S why I feel so huge. I mean, I am literally a house. Already. And as of today (12/20) I have another 10 weeks to go. But it looks like I'm going to have a baby any day just by my size! And I thought girls were supposed to be smaller? :)
Anyway, due to all this extra amnio, the specialist recommended that I come back in 2 weeks for yet ANOTHER U/S, and at that point determine if I need to do an amnio reduction or not. A reduction is just like an amniocentesis (where they stick a long thin needle into your stomach and take out amniotic fluid), and the risks are the same. The only major difference is that I'll be 31 weeks rather than 24 weeks. Makes a huge difference in fetal development! The ultimate goal is to have me go full term, but as of today, it's not looking 100% that I will be doing that. But that's the goal. And another thing; I more than likely will deliver at a different hospital (Mary Birch) to accommodate for newborn surgery.

OB Appt. SO sad!!! My awesome OB told me that he would be indefinitely referring me to a specialist colleague friend of his through Mary Birch Hospital. I'm so sad, but happy too. Because my OB is totally awesome. I MAY have to go on bed rest (like that's possible, with a hubby in school and two boys under 3??? HA!). But I am definitely now delivering at Mary Birch, across the street from Children's Hospital. And I am super tired and sluggish already. And as huge as a house. And stressed all the time that I have LESS time than originally anticipated. UGH. But otherwise, in good spirits. Christmas does that to a person! :)

So, that's the scoop. I'm hoping I can keep updating this as I know more, but if anyone has any questions, you can always email me!


Happy Birthday Einstein!

my newborn

UPSET about being 1! :)
EXCITED about two! (and the scooter really helped!)

THRILLED to be 3!

You are 3. I can't believe it! And you have grown up so fast. I'm still amazed at how smart you really are; people laugh when I endearingly call you an evil genius, but it's true!
You are beginning to show your willingness to be helpful. Sometimes you surprise me by helping me carry bags of groceries into the house, or helping Curly with something. Not to say that you aren't a rascal at times... you definitely still are the ringleader for trouble! :) You keep me and daddy on our toes most of the time.
You have the role of big brother, and you are a good one! I can't wait to see you interact with Baby when she comes; you love tiny babies. You are gentle and kind when you put your mind to it, and you can run circles around any other kid your age in the endless energy factor. You are a super fast runner! Another thing I'm excited about is soccer season. You can be on a league this year! I have a feeling you're going to really love it :)
Einstein, you're really good at remembering things. You have the memory of an Elephant. It's so funny to realize what you remember weeks, even months later. I love seeing your mind work, and your artistic flair isn't too bad, either. You definitely got that from dad. :) I love how you remember words to songs that I've taught you: "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star", "Little Bunny Foo-Foo", "I Am A Child of God", and the ever-random "Tractor song" (John Deere theme song? who knows, I still haven't figured it out!) are among your favorites.
It's awesome that you have mastered your ABC's and numbers to 20 ages ago, as well as most shapes and colors. I think it's really cute that you prefer the color red over any other, and pink was the first color that you verbally recognized.
I love it (and hate it) that you are incredibly personable; you will say 'hi' to anyone. ANYONE. Even the scary people! :) And then you will tell them "I have a baby sister", as if she's already here. So cute!
You have such a driven personality. When you want to do something, neither hell nor high water will stop you. That will definitely come in handy throughout your life, though it's more than a bit frustrating for me right now.
I can tell that you already have a small testimony of Jesus Christ. It's awesome to see you interested in the paintings in the church halls, and how you always want me to come with you to tell you the stories of each one. I also get a kick out of you wanting to know about Moroni and Nephi. They were some pretty awesome dudes, if I do say so myself! :)
So Happy Birthday, Linky-dink. You made it to 3! Hopefully you won't do me in before 4! Love you tons baby!


Our Summer Adventures in 15picturesormore!

So I am waaaaaaaaaaaay behind on blogging. And the more I think about it, the harder it is to just do something about it, darn it! I'm biting the bullet on this one. I'll thank myself later. For posterity, you know... :)

PS I was going to get all caught up right here and now, but the kiddos just woke up so it will have to wait until they are asleep later tonight. Since all of you are waiting for an update so badly, hahaha! :)