How we met your brother: Part III

Annika, when you told daddy that “my bubble had popped” it took him just a beat to realize what you were saying. When he understood what was happening he immediately sprung to action. He remembered how quickly your sister Emily came after my water broke. Andrew, however, was going to take his time.

Grandmama and Grandpa came to pick up you girls up about an hour later and mommy and daddy hung out at home cleaning, baking, and just tying up a few loose ends before heading to the hospital. Finally, as change of shift neared, I called in to give the charge nurse a heads up and let them know we would be coming. She told me to “take my time,” that they were pretty busy and would try and clean things up a little first. I told her I had already taken my time a bit and thought I should head in soon.

We arrived at about 7:30 pm. Contractions still really hadn’t picked up, so they hooked me up to some Pitocin to see if we could speed up your arrival. It would still be about 8 or 9 hours before active labor really started. I started to think maybe you would be too big!

I thought surely Andrew would be born on the night shift, but 7 am came and went and we still wouldn’t meet him for another 3 hours! Two of my incredible coworkers who had taken such good care of me that night agreed to stay until you arrived. Jenny and Crystal are such great nurses and labor coaches!

Finally at around 10 am it was time to push. We were so ready to meet this new addition to our family! At 10:22 am this new Jung took his first angry breath and everyone in the delivery room gasped just a bit when they saw his size! My first thought was that he looked just like you, Audrey. My second thought was that he was so big! Finally, I looked down and I saw that he was a BOY! We didn’t know until that moment! It was so fun to be able to announce “it’s a BOY!” to everyone there, then later to all of my coworkers via our in hospital communication system and then again to our family!

Then came the moment everyone was waiting for…they put your brother on the scale. ELEVEN AND A HALF POUNDS! Exactly what the doctor had said, and I called him crazy! 11 pounds 8 oz, 22 inches of adorable baby boy. 39 weeks gestation! Imagine if he had been 40 weeks! He’d have been just like daddy at 12 ½ pounds.

It was definitely different having a boy. It took some getting used to for sure. I still sometimes call him “baby girl” in those early morning hours. We couldn’t be more thrilled with life this boy! But mark my words girls, we would have been JUST FINE with another one of you little darlings!

Stay tuned for more stories of life after baby. It is sweet. Definitely not always pretty, but sweet.

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Cousin brooklyn. aka Andrew’s “sister cousin”. This is what brooklyn and morgan called themselves for a while…lynds and I thought it sounded a little “sister wife-ish”. Luckily the phrase did not stick.

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One more and we won’t fit on that hospital bed!

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Eric got to watch the US open on Father’s Day with his brand new baby boy! Pretty great gift if you ask me. After a few nights with little sleep he wasn’t so sure it was actually the best gift ever…I assured him it was.

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“A five! I’ve never seen a five!” That’s what we all said in the delivery room when they squeezed him onto the scale.

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Jenny and Crystal. My amazing coworkers!

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Eric and Dr. Palitz. Andrew was his biggest baby this year, but a few years back he actually delivered a 14 pounder! crazy.

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Audrey is an amazing older sister. Andrew adores her. It seemed like it took her a few weeks to decide to acknowledge his existence, but once she realized he was sticking around she has become my number 1 helper at home. I can count on her to entertain him when he gets fussy and I am trying to get something done. Of all four kids these two also look the most alike.

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Grandpa Robert. Andrew gets his middle name from him.

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grandmama. She just kept saying it brought her back to 35 years ago when her big baby was born. Eric weighed 12.5 pounds and Andrew was right on track to match him

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there’s nothing like those first few hospital cuddles. It took me a while to get used to the idea of a boy. I kept calling him all sorts of girly names…still do sometimes in the middle of the night.

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Took this guy home in a 3-6 month onesie. It was a little loose, but still.

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cousin Morgan

cousin Morgan

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Biggest sister Annika. She couldn’t get enough of holding her little brother those first few weeks. What a big help it really was to have an extra set of arms!

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Em also liked to hold him, but pretty quickly would tell me to “get him off, get him off!”

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Finally! A boy cousin. Poor Ethan had only girl cousins on both sides until this one came. My mom said all the cousins cheered when they heard it was a boy!

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Huds and Andrew. Hopefully these cousins will grow up getting into all sorts of trouble together.

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proud papa

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Auntie and Andrew. Lyndsay and Kevin had just reached the airport when I texted to tell her my water had broken…of all the weekends this was the one he decided to come of course!

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Great Grandmama

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Great Grandpa James Andrew.

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Nana and Em. We got to go to the beach house with my parents shortly after Andrew was born and it was the perfect few days of rest and relaxation and entertainment for the girls.

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Of course Andrew tagged uncle the first time he held him. He’s another little vomit comet…hopefully he is growing out of that stage though!!

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How we met your brother: Part II

Andrew, in my perfectly planned out world, you wouldn’t have been born until about October. You see, a week prior to finding out I was pregnant, I had committed to be a part of an ultra relay team in a RAGNAR race. This meant I would be running about 35 miles over the course of 30ish hours. I was very excited about this race and this trip with this particular group of girls with a team of girls. No sooner had I signed up and your daddy got that sneaking suspicion which led me to sit staring at a test with a little plus sign.

My first reaction was not excitement. I am now over the moon about your addition to our family, but I didn’t start that way. There were lots of very silly reasons that I didn’t think your timing was perfect, but God thought that it was, and you know what, God was right. He always is.

Just about exactly 6 weeks into my pregnancy I started feeling pretty sick. This was new for me. Your daddy and I had planned to go to the coast with your auntie and Uncle to run the Big Sur half marathon in the fall. I would be about 8 or 9 weeks pregnant. We went ahead with our plans but I felt pretty lousy the entire time. Your auntie just kept saying, “maybe you’re pregnant.” She knew, but I wasn’t ready to talk about it yet. She also reminded me that the only time she experienced morning sickness was when she was pregnant with the twins. I didn’t really appreciate that reminder. I hadn’t yet been to the doctor so I wasn’t sure if you were one baby or two!

A couple of weeks later I finally had that appointment. The doctor said I was measuring a bit bigger than he would have thought at this point. I told him to go ahead and get it over with…show me the twins. But nope, you were one baby. And we all breathed a sigh of relief;)

You continued to measure big throughout my pregnancy. I remember an appointment I had at 34 weeks…you were already measuring about 8.5 pounds! I thought the doctor was surely mistaken!

As I neared the end of my pregnancy I began to think maybe the doctor was right. Almost every time you moved I bent over in pain.

Though I was anxious for you to arrive, I thoroughly enjoyed the time we had as a family of 5 just before you came. Your sister Annika graduated from Kindergarten! We took a quick trip to the beach house, your oldest sisters had their first ballet recital, attended VBS and Golf camp! We also enjoyed almost every afternoon in the pool, and consumed boxes and boxes of popsicles!

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oh my! Look at that belly!

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Kindergarten graduation!

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last little beach house getaway before brother came

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take 1

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take 2

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take 3. Seriously, we are incapable of taking a proper family picture!

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some sweet time with Em before she lost her title of baby of the family

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A little getaway with your daddy

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last bit of freedom before you arrived Andrew!

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Annika and audrey’s first ballet recital

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I was kinda of dreading this outdoor recital, but it ended up being such a fun night! Surrounded by a lot of fun couples watching these little cuties.

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You wouldn’t have fit had you been any bigger!

Finally, on June 18th, at 38.5 weeks gestation, I had my last appointment. The doctor couldn’t even get an accurate measurement. His software wouldn’t calculate it. You were off the charts. I could see he was nervous about this big baby. I was nervous about this big baby. I remember praying for you and for labor the next morning. Asking God to bring you soon so you didn’t have time to get any bigger and just praying for peace that all would go well. You see, when you are a labor and delivery nurse you know too much about all that can go wrong. Each and every delivery is a miracle, not to be taken for granted.

A few short hours later, as I was rounding up your three sisters at the golf course after camp, my water broke! We wouldn’t have to wait much longer to meet you! We got home and your biggest sister Annika ran inside and asked daddy if he wanted to have a baby that day. She told him my “bubble had popped.” Thus began my long, long labor with you.

How we met your brother: Part I

The more children we have the fewer and farther between my blog posts have become. Before I throw in the towel completely though, I need to document sweet Andrew’s debut. The girls love to hear about how each of them entered the world, so this will be the story of how they met their brother.

For me, the story of Andrew’s arrival actually began back in March of 2014. I had been training for 3 ½ months for the Modesto Marathon. This would be my 3rd full marathon and I had an unspoken goal of qualifying for the Boston marathon. The Modesto marathon is very extremely flat (only one “hill” or overpass) and its course takes runners down country roads through orchards and fields. In other words, it is very familiar to me as it is much like the roads I run down daily. I thought that if I were ever going to do it, this would be my chance.

Race day came and conditions were perfect. No rain, no wind, a cool 50 degrees at our 7 am start. I was able to keep my pace steady right where it needed to be. Daddy came out with you three girls, nana was there, and uncle was there with all of their kids because Auntie was running too. We had quite the cheering squad, which was perfect for the out and back course. It was so much fun to see you all cheering your little hearts out!

Despite my good start I began to really struggle at about mile 23. I could not catch the pacer who would help me achieve that qualifying time. A friend of mine from work and your dad joined me for the last couple of miles throwing water on me and telling me to keep going. I just remember telling them I wanted to go in easy. Please, just let me go in easy. (I really kinda wanted to punch them.) I figured I had already missed my time.

As I ran toward the finish line I saw the official time. 3:35:20 is what I read. I needed a 3:35:00 in order to qualify. I ran across the finish line still feeling very proud of my efforts, but knowing I had missed my time. I had held my goal loosely, so I truly was not too disappointed. As I walked back to join my family I picked up my phone to call your dad. My first words were, “I missed it, guess we can have a baby this year instead of going to Boston.” He said, babe did you check your time? It was 3:34:48. I had forgotten that I started about a minute behind the front of the pack. I had qualified. Barely.

Again, I held dreams of running Boston loosely as I knew that my time, though a qualifying time, was not likely to guarantee me a spot in Boston. As the popularity of running increases it has become more and more difficult to win one of those 30,000 spots. However, I wouldn’t know until September 21st after registration for the race was completed.

September came and my suspicions were correct. I wouldn’t be running Boston the following spring. I needed my time to be about a minute faster. Turns out this was a very good thing as a few weeks later I learned that a fourth young Jung was on the way.

Actually, daddy is the one who knew it first. You see, I tend to be pregnant when the Giants win the World Series. Audrey in 2010, Emily in 2012, and now Andrew in 2014. In case you are wondering, daddy says the Giants are done with their winning streak. I say they have at least one more in them.

As soon as the Giants secured a spot in the final series Eric looked at me and said, “you’re pregnant.” And sure enough, I assured everyone that the Giants would in fact win the series during that close series because we knew another baby was coming.

And so we began to look forward to June 20ish when the baby would arrive. We didn’t know it would be a brother yet. We were so excited for either!  For now, this is the beginning of how we met your brother.

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Not even Solomon in all his splendor…

{I wrote this post on March 10, my birthday, as I sat in the lab waiting to complete my glucose tolerance test. I never got around to posting it for whatever reason. I stumbled across it in my drafts today and thought I’d finally post it, even though it seems we are jumping right into summer already and spring has all but gone. The girls have already enjoyed multiple days in the pool and we are counting down the days until summer…}

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February through April are some of my favorite months of the year in the valley. My girls hear me say daily how much I just love spring. After a cold, often grey month of January we begin to feel the warmth of the spring sun on our skin in the afternoons. The laughter and screams of the neighborhood kids can again be heard outside, and the aroma of Almond Blossoms saturates the air during our morning runs. The orchards that surround our town look to be bursting with little pink and white popcorn kernels and my own daffodils and tulips begin to push up through the ground.

Perhaps my favorite thing of all however is the array of orange and yellow poppies that cover the rolling hills of northern California, which for a short time this spring are draped in vibrant green.

We recently took a quick road trip to the coast.  We debated whether we should put the effort in to go and I am so glad we did. The farmers hard work was on display in the bursting white orchards and the hills were adorned in green, yellow, orange and purple.

I could not help but think of the verses of Matthew 6:28-34. They say, “And why do you worry about clothes {or food, your job, your house, you car, etc} See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little failth?! So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, ad our heavenly Father know that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

This verse speaks so strongly because, to me, there is nothing more beautiful than the northern California coastline bursting with the wildflowers of spring. You can’t even capture it in a photo….and just like it seems to appear in one night….the next day it is gone. Truly here today, gone tomorrow. {we have since been back to the coast and those bright green hills are now the familiar golden color displayed throughout summer} If God puts that much care into creating those beautiful flowers that fade away so quickly, how much more will he take care of my life?

I spent a few hours running along the water that weekend just looking, looking, looking at all the beautiful colors, taking it all in. I was reminded again of how God is the great artist, all inspiration, all beauty, all ability to create comes from him. I am so grateful that he allows us to enjoy his works of art.

The girls are growing like crazy. As Annika {already!} nears the end of her first year of school we are amazed at the development that has and continues to take place. She is our little teacher, which can sometimes translate to our “little boss” when it concerns her younger sisters. We are really working on tone of voice as she “instructs” Audrey in whatever game they may be playing;) Annika loves school and her enthusiasm each morning and afternoon is contagious. I want to go back to school!

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Audrey returned to preschool this in January with a brand new enthusiasm. I had considered just keeping her home for the rest of the year because it had turned into a struggle to get her there every day. When I asked her what changed she said, “I think I just changed my mind and decided to like it now mommy.” She gets so excited to tell us all about what she is learning. She was very excited to bring home her Almond Blossom tree and does a great rendition of the Blossom song…which I will try to get on video soon! I have to learn it first so I can help her with the parts that she forgets! Audrey and Emily are playing so well together now. The other day I noticed the house was awfully quiet so I went looking for them. They were in Em’s room. Audrey was teaching her how to get in and out of her crib herself.

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Emily, oh what a joy she is right now. We are able to reason with her a bit more now, which is a huge relief and her determination to do everything herself is a bit more palatable as she actually can do quite a few things herself now;) She is just full of joy, full of personality and full of funny sayings. She told me the other day to stop looking at her, so I asked her if she had a dirty diaper. She told me, “no mom, I working on it.” I think someone is about ready to potty train, but I’m not quite there yet!

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Lyndsay and Kevin graciously gave us their play structure as they are moving on to the next stage of outdoor play equipment. Eric and his dad and uncle put it together for us last weekend and the girls have been outside ever since. Seriously, they spend almost every moment they can on that thing. It is pretty awesome. We are eating many dinners outside again and enjoying these longer daylight hours.

We are grateful for this sweet stage.

On the eve of 35…

…made me think back to where I was when I was on the eve of 25.  It’s crazy that 10 years ago:

  • I didn’t know my amazingly wonderful wife,
  • the 3 biggest/ littlest sources of joy in my life didn’t exist,
  • I didn’t really know where Ripon was on a map,
  • that I would get the opportunity to teach at a college,
  • that my career path would look nothing like I had envisioned and be much harder than I ever thought…

If you would have told me what life would look like between 25 and 35, I would never have believed you.  Yet, had you told me the blessings I would have today, and the sweet little life I get to live with my family, and that some of the bumpy roads along the way have been God’s way of teaching us lessons… I wouldn’t change a bit of it.

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People (myself included) often talk about God’s will for our lives.  I’m learning it’s pretty simple… daily ask the Holy Spirit to help you be more like Jesus.  Spend time trying to understand what it means to “Seek first his kingdom” instead of focusing on building yours.  Yet, I still stumble at that daily, and God gently picks me up and reminds me how foolish I still can be.

Even in my stubborn seasons, I am thankful how much God has taken care of my family.  He has cared for us even in the little details.  I’m thankful for the journey God has taken Kara and me in our marriage, for the grace Kara gives me when I am not on my best behavior.  I am thankful for my kids, for the joy they bring, the lessons that come with them, and for understanding God in a whole new way as I learn more about what it means to be a parent.

I am thankful for my parents and my in-laws, for their generosity and desire to play a role in our family’s lives.  I am thankful for old friends who send birthday videos from Africa and for new friends who have made Ripon become home and make us feel like we finally have some roots here after 5 years.  I am thankful for friends I get to journey with in my career who understand what it means when Jesus tells us to pray for our daily bread.

Without a doubt, I could never have scripted the past 10 years. I don’t think anything went according to my 5 year plan (or any of the subsequent revisions).  Yet, I am glad it didn’t.  Because looking back, I think I would have missed out on a lot had my plans worked out.  Sure, I could have avoided some wounds, but there wouldn’t have been many lessons learned either.  And I know the lessons aren’t done, that there’s more journey to go, and that is exciting and energizing.

If nothing else, I believe the past 10 years has been about growing a bit more in my faith that God is in control, growing in hope for what the future might look like both here on earth and in eternity, and trying to love those around me better… because really in the end, does much else matter???

… ok, maybe learning a short game to keep my golf handicap in the single digits…. but besides that…

and em is TWO!

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Well technically you are 2 years, 3 months and 5 days…cuz every day counts when you are dealing with a feisty little 2-year-old! Though it must be said, although you are a little volatile at times, you sure are a little love bug. We just ran outside to look at a beautiful rainbow and you said to me, “oh wow, a rainbow, how pwetty!” Then you ran inside to get some shoes on so you could dance under it in the puddles. Though difficult at times these sure are magical days with you.
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You love to sit and do “ho-work” with your sisters. You hold the pencil so well. We haven’t figured out if you will be a rightie or leftie however. You tend to favor the left hand for sure, but ocassionally you’ll switch back to the right. We’ll see…

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You like to sit in my bed and “color” on my journal…thinking you are so big!

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You are a big helper in the kitchen…especially when there are treats involved!

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Em, my girl, you are a bit sneaky. I often find a stool in the pantry or see you walking around with a bowl of snacks that I haven’t given you. You are determined too! You will carry your stools all over the house in order to get into whatever you think you need to get into. You make your big sister Annika nervous with how daring and {sometimes} defiant you are. She is good for you and you are good for her I guess.

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Your cousins and sisters adore you and you them. When we left you with nana and papa for the night over Christmas Annika and Audrey both told me they couldn’t wait to see you again when we got home.

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You love to dress up in fancy clothes or in multiple layers of your sisters’ underwear.  You tell me what you will and won’t wear every morning…right down to the sweater or jacket and shoes.

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You are always willing to give me a cheesy grin for pictures.

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You are a mostly a mama’s girl. Except when we tried to take family pictures over thanksgiving and you cried unless you were in “auntie mommy’s” arms. Thats what you call Auntie Lyndsay…either that or just straight “mom.” I think you know its funny. Just like you sometimes call daddy “Eric.” Funny girl.

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You are starting to talk up a storm! Most of the time its still kind of baby jabber, but every once in a while you throw in a complete, totally understandable sentence. Like the one you just said to me…”God is gweat, Olaf is gweat and ha-chocwet is great too…” IMG_7402 IMG_7384

You and Audrey have become good little buddies now that Annika is in school all day. It is fun to see you two play more.

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Here are a few pictures of you when you were just a wee babe. Hard to believe you were ever that small! You have always been a social little one. From the time you were small when I would pick you up you would turn your little body around so you could face out and “talk” to whoever I was talking to.

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You brought so much joy to our family November 3rd, 2012 and you continue to do so daily miss Emily. We love you!

A little late…

Audrey turned FOUR-years-old on November 13th and I am just getting around to posting about it. I have spent quite a bit of time looking through old pictures in the past few weeks and came across a few of my favorites. It is always so fun to look at the kiddos when they were babies and see their little personalities already forming. The expression in the picture below is so Audrey. When she wants to be, this girl can be pretty silly.
IMG_7298IMG_7203         I love the picture above. That little outfit was one of my favorites for all of the girls. Here Audrey is just learning to sit up, she’s probably around 6 months here. Audrey was slower to sit, crawl and walk. She wanted to wait and do everything on her own time. She is still that way. She will not be pushed into learning anything before she is ready, but when she decides it is time, there is no stopping her.

I’ve recently learned that she may have inherited my competitive gene too. The other day she was running little “sprints” from our house to a bench at the end of our court (about 50 meters). She had already done 5 or 6 sprints when Annika decided to come and race her. Naturally, Annika won. Oh my goodness, I had never seen Audrey so mad or so determined. She would not give up until she beat her sister. Same goes for bike riding, card playing…basically anything where there is a winner and a loser. We often avoid those kinds of games.

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Audrey has always kind of been a daddy’s girl. Looking through old photos I have tons of her and Eric. She loves to sit and build legos with him and tells me at night after her bath, “I think I should go find daddy cuz he might want to tickle me.”

IMG_6683These pictures of the “triplets” are so fun to look at. The other day Audrey asked me if she “came out” (of my belly) at the same time as Hudson and Brooklyn. She did not like to think that they were alive 3 whole months before she was born. She calls Brooklyn her best friend and whenever she refers to her “friends” she is really just talking about this girl. People often think I am watching Lyndsay’s kids when I am out around town with Audrey. She and Brooklyn do look a lot alike right now. The other day my sister overheard them discussing what they would be having for dinner that night. The conversation went something like this: B: Are you having sushi tonight Audrey?” A: “No, We’re having stuffed peppers.” B: “Oh, I LOVE stuffed peppers!” These two little ones have quite the palates. IMG_7372 IMG_3793

Since our neighbors moved a month ago these two have sort of re-found their friendship. Annika used to rush outside after school immediately to play with the neighborhood kids, but now she sticks closer to home and these to have become best of buds again. IMG_2458

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We took Annika and Audrey to the city for a night just after Christmas and they loved it. Audrey told me she LOVED walking around the city. We even waited 2 hours for a ride on the cable cars, but boy was it worth it. Who needs Disney Land! It was fun to be able to just have the big girls for a while as Em is often the most outspoken one among them;)

We were also able to go up to Shaver Lake for New Years and do a little sledding. We had to pull Audrey off the “slope” back to the cabin. She loved it!

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Another fun family trip for us was at Thanksgiving. We all went down to the beach house TOGETHER. 7 kids, 6 adults in the house together for one night. It was a lot of fun and we look forward to doing more of that as the kiddos get older. Audrey and Brooklyn got to sleep together on the floor in our room. They thought that was pretty special.

IMG_2377This is a very typical Audrey thing to do. On this particular day she asked me to build a cave around her until she was covered completely. This girl entertains herself at home most of the day. She is my creative/crafty girl. Constantly cutting, taping, drawing, coloring. Creating penguins, owls, dresses for her dolls, you name it.

Audrey, we love you so much Buttercup!