Sunday, May 15, 2016

Hannah Venna Hartzell

May 25, 2015

5 days ago, I gave birth to my last baby. Hannah Venna Hartzell was born on May 20, 2015 at 11:11am. She was 5 lbs, 13 oz.She is a precious gift to our family. She has the sweetest spirit, rarely fusses and is easily content.  I am amazed at how much you can love someone in a few short days. Barbara Kingsolver wrote in Poisonwood Bible:

A mother’s body remembers her babies – the folds of soft flesh, the softly furred scalp against her nose. Each child has its own entreaties to body and soul. It’s the last one, though, that overtakes you. I can’t dare say I loved the others less, but my first three were all babies at once, and motherhood dismayed me entirely. The twins came just as Rachel was learning to walk. What came next I hardly remember, whole years when I battled through every single day of grasping hands and mouths until I could fall into bed for a few short hours and dream of being eaten alive in small pieces. I counted to one hundred and I rocked, contriving the patience to get one down in order to take up another. One mouth closed on a spoon meant two crying empty, feathers flying, so I dashed back and forth like a mother bird, flouting nature’s maw with a brood too large. I couldn’t count on survival until all three of them could stand alone. Together they were my first issue. I took one deep breath for every step they took away from me. That’s how it is with the firstborn, no matter what kind of mother you are – rich, poor, frazzled half to death or sweetly content. A first child is your own best foot forward, and how you do cheer those little feet as they strike out. You examine every turn of flesh for precocity, and crow it to the world. 

But the last one: the baby who trails her scent like a flag of surrender through your life when there will be no more coming after – oh, that’s love by a different name. She is the babe you hold in your arms for an hour after she’s gone to sleep. If you put her down in the crib, she might wake up changed and fly away. So instead you rock by the window, drinking the light from her skin, breathing her exhaled dreams. Your heart bays to the double crescent moons of closed lashes on her cheeks. She’s the one you can’t put down. 

This describes almost perfectly how I feel about this sweet baby I feed at night. I feel that the clock follows me around reminding me that she’ll be grown before I know it. I have enjoyed and treasured every infant I have had, but I feel an urgency with Hannah that I didn’t have with the others. I know she’s slipping out of my fingers before I held her long enough to convey how much I love her. All of mine have grown too fast…and when I try to remember details about each one’s infancy, I mourn the memories I mix up or have let slip away into fatigue and mental confusion. I know that the magic of motherhood will give way to the beauty of maturity. They’ll become their own little people, and I will revel in the differences and celebrate the individual achievements. But, I know they will leave me. I hope that they will want to move on to the next stage…and that stage requires independence and separation from their mom. I know it’s coming, my heart just can’t totally catch up.    

My doctor did a hysterectomy following the C-section. That was the plan. I have needed the hysterectomy for years. The pain of endometriosis has gotten excruciating. But, I knew we were to have 8.  I started doubting earlier this year when we had been trying for 8 months, and the drs were suggesting that maybe I just have the hysterectomy. We finally set up the hysterectomy for December 11th.  I knew that I needed to work on accepting Heavenly Father’s will…whatever that was. I knew I needed to stop trying by the beginning of November and in the middle of September, I found out I was pregnant.  It was such a hard pregnancy.  I was in my first year of my PhD, and I wasn’t sleeping, I was nauseated more with her than any other baby, and my back hurt literally every day. I was pretty close to miserable every day for 9 months. And, every day of that was worth it…to give us Hannah. She is perfect. She is beautiful, tiny, precious and I love every detail of her. 


I have been warned of the recovery of a hysterectomy for months, and yet, I feel great. I haven’t had any major side effects of the surgery and all I feel is just happiness at her presence in our life. I feel that Heavenly Father has given Brent and me so much to be thankful for…He knew that we were willing to do whatever he asked, and now we have 8 beautiful children to put to bed at night. The last decade has been an amazing trip of faith and commitment to our Father in Heaven, and he has blessed us tenfold.  I have everything I could possibly want in life. The most wonderful husband and 8 beautiful children that our mine forever.   

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Can I Miss School Tomorrow?


Puppa looks at me with his big blue eyes during dinner, tips his head to the side and asks, "Can I please miss school tomorrow, Mom?" 

Mom: Why would I let you miss school tomorrow? 
Puppa: Cause it's just been so hard lately...and I just need to rest! I've been taking hard Math tests, like EVERY DAY! (with a little crying voice added for effect)
Mom (and Dad): HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Zombie Pig Man



This conversation happened the other day:

(Boys crowded around a tablet watching Lil' N play Minecraft)

All boys: Oh! He's so cute and adorable!
Mom: What is cute and adorable?
Lil' N: Oh, the zombie pig man on Minecraft! They are so adorable!
Mom: Oh, ya...that's what I think of when I think of cute and adorable things: zombie pigmen.
Lil' N: I sense the sarcasm in your voice...it's not really appreciated.

Blurbles: Come look at the Zombie Pigmen...Mom! You'll think they're so cute too!
Mom comes over to look: Yep...I totally see the adorableness of them now!
Lil' N: Sarcasm!
Blurbles: Well, that's just cause he was catching on fire! They're less cute when they catch on fire!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Which is Better....?

I overheard this conversation in the car the other day:

Blurbles: I'm so sad that when I get back from Christmas break, my two best friends won't be there anymore! I'm going to be so lonely....

Bug (trying to cheer Blurbles up): It's okay...which would you rather have: so many friends, but no awesome stuffed animals, a few friends and a few stuffed animals, or no friends but as many stuffed animals that you could want!! :)

Blurbles: I want friends!

Bug: Oh...I think it would be so fun to have stuffed animals! You have lots of cool stuffed animals!

Blurbles: You're not helping me...I want some friends to play on the playground with!

Bug: Oh, well...sounds like you need to pray to Heavenly Father then!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Baby #8 is a Girl!

I know, some of you are thinking, "Wait, she's pregnant?"

The last announcement made us a little less apt to share this wonderful news.  And, with school, I've been so busy, that weeks just passed and passed.  I'm 19 weeks now, and we found out a few weeks ago that we are having another little girl (you can find out with a blood test now!).  We could not be happier.

I had my hysterectomy set up for December 11th at 10am.  My endometriosis has been bad enough, that I needed to finally concede that the baby #8 that TPM and I were sure existed, may never come.  After more than a year of trying, and an awful miscarriage, I felt that we needed to set a date for the hysterectomy, and if our baby was to come...she would come.

And, in the most stressful, busy month of the year, she snuck into the family.  I woke up with a leg cramp in September, and that never happens, unless I'm pregnant.  So, I took a test later that day and found out we were pregnant.  We were hoping it was girl, because we wanted Bibby to have a sister.  But, we were happy to have whatever Heavenly Father sent us.  I got a call from my doctor to inform me that we were having a little girl, and everyone in the family except for Squeakers is happy about the news.  Squeakers thought that if we had a boy, it would mean he could have bunk beds, but I have informed him repeatedly that this is not the case.

We're thankful for our sweet baby, and look forward to her arrival at the end of May.  But, we are also a little excited about being done as well.  We've been giving away all baby boy clothes/shoes...and it's been a little cathartic.  :)

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Halloween

I know.  It's January.

But, it was a crazy few months.

TPM made the costumes this year. He's been a total knight in shining armor the last few months. He does dishes, mops floors, makes costumes, puts kids to bed, and so much more. I could not have survived without him.

Anyway, the Minecraft costumes were all TPM.  He did a good job, huh?





Snow White got her costume in the mail a couple of weeks before Halloween.  I let her try it on, and then she didn't want to take it off. I thought, "Hmmm...I kind of forgot that little girls like to dress up...maybe I should get her some dress up clothes?" I went the day after Halloween to pick up some other costumes for her and she has happily been dressing up ever since.  How do I not know these things?  I'm a girl! Alas, I've been in boy land so long...I've forgotten what girls like to do.  :)



Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Please...no.


You may not be able to tell, but she's trying to put my bra on.  Really?  You're two.  Please remember that.


She also takes the care of her babies VERY seriously.  

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Best Part of the Vacation


After the reunion, we headed to Park City for a couple of days.  We decided to visit the Olympic Park at the mountain at Park City where a few of the Winter Games were played.  It had an alpine slide, zip line, bobsled, and some obstacle courses.  We paid for the older boys to participate in all of the events, and the younger ones were able to go on the alpine slide with TPM.



It started out all nice and fun.  Grandma and Granddad were there with us, and so were our cousins.  I went to take Bibby to the car and change her.  I was gone for about 10 minutes.




When I got back, the older 3 boys were on this obstacle course.  TPM was taking the younger ones on the bobsled.









When I got there, Squeakers was feeling pretty nervous about the whole thing.  I went over to try and cheer him through the obstacle course.  In a matter of minutes, the sky began to darken and thunder began to roll.  A storm was rolling in...and fast.  It was amazing how quickly it happened.  This young man, clearly not trained in emergency procedures, starting running up the stairs yelling, "Get them off! Get them off! Lightening is coming! Get them off!"  You would have thought that there would be some easy way to get them off the obstacle course (like a rope ladder at the end of each section?), but the only way to get the boys down was to get them to go through the obstacle course...quickly.  You  can imagine that the freaker running around yelling, "Get down! Get down now! This is so dangerous!"...was not helping Isaiah to get through the obstacle course quickly.  In not so kind words, I informed him that he was not allowed to say another word.  He apologized but explained that, "this situation is so dangerous."  I explained as calmly as I could muster in the moment (not very calmly) that he was not helping the situation, and that he better not say another word.

Freaker wisely decided to not say another word, and TPM and I cheered Squeakers, Blurbles, and Lil' N through the obstacle course as quickly as could be managed.  It was honestly all very stressful; because it was pouring rain, and thunder and lightning were getting louder by the second.  My children were the only people (besides 2-3 workers) that were not safely under shelter.  I was soaking wet, and a little stressed out.

If you ask Squeakers what his favorite part of the trip is, he'll tell you, "Oh, I LOVED the part where I almost got hit by lightning!"

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Special Family Reunion

We had a different vacation this year.  My grandma is getting more frail than I thought a cowgirl could get.  She has always walked around in her pink cowgirl boots, hat, and wranglers.  It was hard for me to imagine my grandmother anything but strong and spry. My uncle is also ill, and I think all of us knew that it was very important for us to make a trip to Southern Utah.  I am beyond grateful and thrilled that our entire family made such valiant efforts to be there.  It was amazing.  My mother is the 3rd of 9 children and there are many, many grandchildren.  My grandmother was the happiest I had ever seen her.  She was strong, happy, and the truth of eternal families was especially evident on such a beautiful, summer day.  



Sunday, October 12, 2014

Riding the Potty Train

Bibby decided before her 2nd birthday that she wanted to be potty trained.  She started standing at the potty and trying to figure out how to pee like her brothers.  I tried and tried to talk her out of it, because honestly, I wasn't in the mood to potty train anybody.  But, she wasn't going to have it.  She wanted to be potty trained.  I talked her into waiting until after our vacation.  The day we got back, she asked, "I be a big girl now? I wear big girl undies?"  I realized I was not going to get out of this.  And, I have to admit, I was a little stressed out about that.

I dropped the boys off at their first day of school; took Asher to his first day of preschool: 



And, then we came home to "practice being a big girl." She refused to go. I think she thought that being a big girl meant she never needed to go...that she would be able to hold it forever. I'm not sure why she would think that since she knows everyone in the house has to go potty. But, she was pretty stubborn, refusing to go. I knew I had about 30 minutes before it was nap time, and I thought we needed at least one success before we ended the morning. Finally, I decided to tickle her, and she was very upset at me when she finally had to pee in the potty. I jumped around cheering, and gave her a treat. But, she was still not very happy about her unintentional release in the potty.  

The boys were surprisingly interested in all this and came home each afternoon asking, "Did she go in the potty? Is she potty trained?" That convoluted everything to the point that Bibby was announcing to everyone, "I gonna ride the potty train!" every time she wanted to go potty.  

To be honest, it wasn't all love and sunshine.




But, she figured it out pretty quickly and thrilled that "she is a big girl".  

This is the first time in 9 years that TPM and I have not had to change a diaper. Glorious.