Category Archives: Family

Glimpses

A few weeks ago Scott and I went in for our 20 week ultrasound. I had been waiting for that day pretty much ever since we found out we were pregnant. I had always been excited about the ultrasound for our three other children too, of course. That glimpse into the womb gives you a sneak peak of so much–a healthy baby, hopefully, first and foremost. But also learning if we were going to have a daughter or son was always so magical. We could start picturing how our little family was being shaped. For our first, we learned we were having a boy. I was thrilled because I had always wanted an older brother when I was growing up, and now I knew this little guy would be the oldest sibling. With our next pregnancy, our ultrasound gave us exciting news–a healthy baby girl. Now one of each! With our third pregnancy, we found out that our little girl would have a little sister, which made me so happy. Every girl needs a sister, at least in my book. So, with each ultrasound it was a little different, and always exciting news. But this fourth one was different.

Here’s why. I thought for a long time that we were done with three kids. Growing up with just two kids in the family, three felt like a lot. I felt like my hands were pretty full most of the time, and I was happy that each of our kids had two siblings. A family of five seemed like such a great number. I was content.

Then something happened when Scott and I were sitting at an extended family reunion around two and a half years ago. President Henry B. Erying was speaking, and he was talking about his brother. Something hit me then. Zach is supposed to have a brother. It was just a thought in passing. Maybe it was more like “It sure would be neat if Zach had a brother.” But the thought didn’t leave me. I drove away that day and couldn’t get the thought out of my head. Inspiration? Who knows. But ever since that day I couldn’t feel quite comfortable with our family of five. 

Scott had been excited about the idea of having another baby for a while, but I just hadn’t been ready. But after this experience, we started to really talk about it, and sincerely pray about it. Both of us felt like a baby–a boy–was missing from our family. It was so weird to say that, because we had never felt strongly one way or the other about the gender of our other kids. Once we decided that, yes, we were excited to try for another baby, we went for it. It took us a while–longer than any of our other kids–but we finally took a pregnancy test that came up positive (after lots of negative tests taken in our impatient excitement). Then the question remained–were we going to get the boy we had felt so inspired was supposed to be in our family?

Twenty weeks went by, and finally the day of the ultrasound came. Again, first and foremost we were hoping to find that we had a healthy baby, with all the working organs and limbs he or she would need to start off life well. The tech dimmed the room and we stared at the images on the machine. I’m sure I was holding my breath. She took measurements, showed us a healthy heart, brain, stomach, arms, and legs. I loved seeing a beautiful little profile shot. What magic to see a glimpse of our child. Then Scott saw something. “Is it a boy?” he asked. The tech smiled and said “You stole my thunder.” Then she moved to a screen shot that showed so clearly. “Yes, it’s a boy,” she said. The emotion I was trying so hard to keep in control let loose and I cried. I squeezed Scott’s hand tightly as we looked at each other. “Zach’s going to have a brother!”IMG_0199IMG_0203

Telling our kids was magical. Scott and I stopped by Target on the way home and got three little boy outfits with gift bags. When we got to my mom’s house where all our kids were, we gave each one of them a bag. They pulled out the little boy outfits and all screamed. They had all been asking for a brother for the past year.

IMG_2763Now we anxiously await our Dec. 31 due date. We don’t know what he’ll be like or look like, but we know a little bit about him. We’ve seen him, after all. Besides that he will be the little brother in our home, we know that he will be one of the most loved little boys ever to come down from heaven. So, little man, we’ll see you in a few short months.

14 miles

Ellie just learned to ride her bike a few weeks ago. We had gotten her a bike in February for her birthday, but in Utah, February and March don’t provide too many optimal riding opportunities. We took her to the church parking lot when we finally had a nice Saturday, and we did the usual drill–push, hold, run along side, let go, watch her fall, try again. She was a trooper. After an hour or so all she needed was a little push to get going and she could ride.

It took her a few more tries in our cul-de-sac and she got the hang of starting by herself. Once she had that, she wanted to ride her bike out front every chance she got. She loves riding that bike. Of course, out in front of our house is pretty much the only riding she’s ever done, aside from a little family bike ride around our neighborhood a couple of weeks ago. Over Memorial Day, we had the opportunity to challenge her, and Zach, for a ride along the Jordan River Parkway with some of Scott’s family. It’s a beautiful ride, and quite easy for an adult. But for a kid on a bike with no gears, on a trail with hills that ended up being 14 miles round trip, we were asking a lot.

Ellie had never ridden more than about 4 miles. Zach had never ridden more than about 5. There were moments when both kids wanted to quit. Zach pulled over after a few miles and said “Can we go back? I’m tired. My legs hurt.” Then he did it again a few miles later. “I don’t want to ride anymore!” Sorry, Charlie.  If Ellie was in the back, watching all those big grown ups in front of her, she got discouraged. “I can’t do this Mom. I’m tired.” You can do it. Once she got up in front, she knew it too. And she had a blast.

On the way back, Zach led a breakaway group home without looking back. “Like a horse to his stable,” Scott’s Dad said. On the hills that went up and down on the last mile before home, I looked back at Ellie and her face was contorted like she was about to cry. “I was crying in my head,” she later told me. I said, “Ellie it’s just over these hills. You can do it.” She took a deep breath and kept pushing those pedals around on the only gear she had available. I felt bad, knowing I had switched to an easier gear several times on the ride. But that option wasn’t available for her, and there was no where to go but forward.

We made it to my in-laws’ street and Ellie knew she was almost there. It was an uphill climb to the finish. On our short neighborhood ride the day before, this is where she had hopped off her bike and walked. But she had ridden 14 miles and she wasn’t about to quit now. She pushed harder and moved her bike ahead, finishing the ride just in front of me. The look on her face was priceless–I wish I had taken a picture. “You did it Ellie!” I said. She grinned with the pleasure of someone who’s just conquered the world. “I didn’t know I could ride that far.”

I think there’s a pretty good metaphor in there somewhere. How many times have I been in a situation that was hard, that I’ve never done before, when I’ve felt like I might need to quit? But then, digging deep, that’s when we find out what we’re made of. It helps when you have a few people along the way who can say “You’re almost there!” and “You can do it!” I’m starting a new book project right now, on the subject of parenting with the Holy Spirit. I love the topic and I have loved diving in to the research, reading books and articles and interviewing people. But there have been moments where I have sat back and said, “How am I going to do this? This is too big, too important a subject. I can’t do it.” I think we all have days like that. I guess those are the days I’ll remember Zach and Ellie’s 14 miles. I’ve just got to keep pushing those pedals and, eventually, hopefully, I’ll make it.

image-3