Monday, May 18, 2015

God's gifts of Grace: bringing Gracelyn into the world

This pregnancy and birth of our daughter was indeed a miracle and gift from the good grace of God. Many little miracles occurred to bring this girl into the world.

This pregnancy was different from the beginning. It felt different. At ten weeks I started bleeding very heavily. There was no way this wasn't a miscarriage. I was devastated and heart broken. The first miracle occurred: baby was just fine.  It turned out that I had a subchorionic hemorrhage. Typically nothing to worry about,  but they would monitor my pregnancy more closely with frequent ultrasounds.

When I was approximately 24 or 25 weeks along, I was sure I had lost control over my bladder. One day I started to realize it might be amniotic fluid. I knew that this was something that shoukd be reportef right away to the doctor. However, I didn't feel like I should call the office. Heavenly Father blessed that everything was ok. This turned out to be a major blessing and another miracle because had I notified the Dr's office as soon as I suspected amniotic fluid, they would have hospitalized me and I would have been in there at least month longer. That would have been a hard struggle on our family.

The night before my next appointment, i started to feel anxious and that it was time to take care of this problem. I just didnt realize thst tsking care of it required hospitalization. Here is was i erote the night i was,admitted:
"I was admitted to the hospital tonight.  My water has broken prematurely and I am only 39 1/2 weeks pregnant. I will spend the rest of my pregnancy here in the hospital and if I make it to 34 weeks they will induce me into labor. I have been filled with an amazing feeling of peace and comfort during this entire time. I have no doubt that the Lord is in control and He is with me.  How can he not be in charge when the first person i run into when i walk into the hospital is my bishop. Not a coincidence. When Doug got here, he and the bishop have me a blessing. Doug blessed me that my body would be strong, that my family will be taken care of,  and that the Lord is in charge. I realize there will be challenges and it will not be easy. First I need to make it through being in the hospital for a while and then take care of a premature baby. I want to be home with my kids and hubby, but we will get through it.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Family Newsletter April 2015

Dear Family,
Here is the update on us the last 6 months.

A Baby Girl!  As most of you know,  we will be adding a new addition to our family at the end of July. The exciting thing is that we get to experience having our first daughter.  The boys are all very excited,  even Adam is now saying that he is not the baby anymore because the baby is in Mommy's belly. Brigham can't wait to hold his little sister. He has even practiced being very sweet and gentle to another baby girl in our ward. Silas keeps wanting to save things for the baby girl (like smoothie popsicles and Easter eggs).

Spring Break Vacation: It was so awesome how the school district that Doug teaches in and Brigham's school district,  along with ISU, all had the same spring break schedule.  We just had to take a vacation!  At the moment, our favorite vacation place is Roseville, California.  It might have something to do with two very special people who live there.  We love allowing our boys to get to spend a week with their grandparents. We had a lot of fun. We visited Point Reyes National Seashore,  Muir Woods,  took bike rides, played at Folsom Lake, visited the California State Capital, and ate some yummy food.  We cherish the memories we made there.

Doug has been working on his principal internship and has completed almost 3/4 of the required hours. He continues to take master's courses at the same time he is completing his hours. He manages to do this after he has already spent a full day teaching.  Now, due to beautiful spring weather,  it is already watering time for grain. Life doesn't slow down for him.

I, on the other hand (Shar), only seem to have two things that change for me: my belly gets bigger, and the midgets I take care of get bigger. Let's move on to them.

Brigham just turned 6 and finished his first season of junior jazz.  He absolutely loved it! He made several baskets, could control his dribble,  and made for a persistent (almost annoying) defender. His team mates learned to respect his abilities even though he was younger than most of them. Now he is gearing up for soccer. He just started taking piano lessons from his grandma Bitter. He is getting better at reading every day. He is a good boy and we sure are grateful that he is our oldest.

Silas is 3 1/2. He will be 4 in June. His most awesome accomplishment a couple months ago was finally being potty trained!!! Silas is one who has to decide on his own if he is ready to do things.  That is the challenge right now as we are hoping to get him accepted as a peer model student for a developmental preschool program for this next school year.  It was such a great experience for Brigham and we would love it if Silas could be accepted.  Silas really enjoys pretending and dresses up as different super heroes every day. He gets to have a friend over every week too since I babysit a boy his age.  Silas is definitely our most mischievous musketeer.

Adam is 2 1/2. He has now caught up in weight and shoe size with Silas. We knew it would happen eventually.  For this reason we call Silas and Adam "the twins". I literally get asked if they are twins everywhere I go with them and they sure act like it too. Adam and Silas get along as the greatest of friends almost half the time. The other majority of the time they fight, wrestle, tease, and make each other cry. The times when they are getting along with each other are usually spent in some sort of mischief like painting the carpet or ripping papers. I guess I should give Adam a little personal focus in his paragraph.  Adam also likes to imagine. He pretends he is different animals all the time. He also enjoys turning his brothers into animals by saying, "poof! Your a frog!" or whatever he decides you are. He is a very grown-up talker. He has his own humor and he walks around with a hop in his step which also has a confident strut-like flair to it. He is still our baby until this little girl shows up.

We hope everyone is enjoying life and can't wait to get caught up with the rest of you!

Love, The Bitter Family: Doug, Sharlene, Brigham, Silas, Adam, and little princess bump.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter and Conference

I must confess something. I blurted out to my children that the Easter bunny is not real.  This last Monday I was helping Brigham with the family home evening lesson which was a lesson on the Atonement and resurrection of Jesus Christ. After we were done preparing,  Brigham asked if he should then talk about the Easter bunny.  I said immediately, "No, the Easter bunny is not real....easter is about Jesus,  not bunnies." I can't decide if I feel good or bad about that.  I do wish that there was more emphasis on the Savior instead of eggs and bunnies, although the belief of a child is something magical. (And now Silas is telling his cousin that the bunny is not real). I still don't know if that was a smart thing to do or not, but I hope everyone had a happy celebration that our Savior lives! After all, it was Elder Holland who said that "Easter is the most sacred day of the year." I hope to make it so in the coming years.

We had fun this week decorating eggs and sugar cookies, having an Easter egg hunt, searching for Easter baskets, having a wonderful breakfast with a great grandmother, enjoying being with family, and listening to the Prophet and Apostles speak to us.

I am so grateful for the opportunity we get to listen to counsel from inspired leaders. Today I am filled with love, hope, and gratitude.  I want to grow closer to my Savior. I want to be a better wife, mother, sister, friend,  daughter,  and visiting teacher. I know that my Savior lives and He loves us. I know that to have true happiness is by striving to become like the Savior and living His teachings. I hope to apply the things I learned today to be a better disciple of Jesus Christ.  I leave these thoughts in His name, amen.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Whiny little Turkeys

Today my kids are being whiny little turkeys. They have been whining and complaining all day about everything. Their apple slices broke in half; it's the end of the world. They didn't get gum (because yesterday they broke into mommy's purse and ate the whole pack). They want lunch at 10:30. A snack isn't enough. I suggest they get their shoes and socks on so we can go play outside. They complain because they want to get shoes and socks so we can go to someone's house. More crying and complaining. I've had enough. That's it. They won't get to play outside, they are sent downstairs. More whining and crying....I loose it. I yell at them. Finally they are down stairs so I can think and breathe. I start to feel bad for yelling. Why did I yell? What good does that do? I begin to calm down but another one comes up and starts all over again. The frustration comes back quickly. I take him to his room. His sobs stop for a moment and he says something in his sweet little voice. That sweet little sound hits me right to the center. My hard shell starts to break away.  I am sorry. 
Maybe someday I can learn to handle these frustrations by staying calm and patient. Some days are better than others, but any women who have suggestions on how to stay at peace or how to teach children not to complain. I would love to hear from you mothers who are much better at this than I am. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

I Can't Believe I Have a 6 year-old!

Babies grow up so fast! Wow! Do I really have a 6-year-old? Here is a little spotlight on our Birthday Boy.

 He is such a smart boy. He is progressing in his reading really well and he is able to play games with Doug and I like Sequence, mancala, and quirkle. He beats me half the time at connect 4. His math skills for his age are crazy! He has a talent; I mean he has been putting together puzzles since he was 2!

He is my coordinated little sports man. He loves basketball, soccer, baseball, football. You name it. He has loved being on his junior jazz team the last couple of months. Whenever it's nice outside he wants to shoot hoops, kick goals, or bat at balls (with a plastic bat, but he just got his first real bat). 

Brigham is also my little artist. He loves to cut, color, and create. He can entertain himself with crayons or markers for an hour. 

Brigham is a tender-hearted boy.  He really cares about doing things right. He likes to please others. He is a sweet boy!

Doug and I enjoyed taking Brigham out to eat tonight. It was a special date with just him. It really felt special and allowed me to feel of Brigham's sweet spirit. We sure love our Brigham and are so grateful for him. He adds great depth to out family. Happy Birthday, Brigham!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Mom and Sons' Little Adventure

Thursday, February 19, 2015
 It is a real struggle at times to figure out a plan of something fun to do with the kids. I hang out with them all day, every day. Sometimes I would rather do the dishes than play with my kids. Which is really sad. 

Today I think I did a few things right though. It feels good to have a day like this now and then. It started bright and early in the morning when I took the two youngest to story time and then picked out 20 books from the library. 
When my kindergartener got home they all wanted stories. We read book after book. We already got through half of them. 
It was time to get outside though. I was kind of put off by the wind and suggested we go back inside, but they still wanted to play outside. So we grabbed the kite! We had fun trying to get it in the air and we eventually did and it stayed up for a few minutes before it came crashing down.
After that, our real adventure started. We just began venturing out and ended up walking across the field and I remembered our neighbors (3/4 mile away) just had baby goats. So my little troopers trucked across the dirt for just under a mile to see baby goats. We climbed in and out of dry canals and over dead trees. I put them through quite the little adventure. 
When we got home, I let them help me make fruit pizza. It takes patience to let kids help with things, but the times I do let them help, it feels worth it. I enjoyed being with my boys today! 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Expressing Gratitude for the Angels in my Life

There are so many wonderful women that surround me that have come to my rescue and dropped what they were doing to help me recently. They literally have been my guardian angels. I really want to express appreciation to them and let them know how much they have helped and blessed me. 
In this pregnancy, I have had a small hemorrhage which has caused worry, confusion, fear, and pain. (However, let me reassure you that everything is fine). 
When I had the first symptoms of this hemorrhage, I of course thought I was having a miscaairrage. I was devasted and didn't want to get out of bed until i had to go to the Dr.  My visiting teachers were the angels for me on this day. One of them brought my kids lunch, played and babysat them for four hours, and also ended up rescuing my husband from getting his car stuck sliding into a ditch. My other visiting teacher showed up with dinner that night. I was overwhelmed with gratitude. 
I ran to the Dr's again because I was worried about symptoms I was having. My sister came to my rescue this time. She came and watched the boys on such short notice. What an awesome sister! 
A third time I went to the doctor because of horrible constant cramping. This time I took the kids but I was supposed to pick up the kindergarten carpool. I wouldn't be able to do that because the appointment was taking a long time. I called a wonderful friend who said she would pick up the kids and take Brigham home with her. When I came to pick Brigham up, she said, "drop off your other kids and go home and take a nap". She just offered to take all of my kids for a few hours so I could get some rest. Not to mention that she has taken my shift for carpool like six times. This friend is amazing! She is literally a guardian angel to me and many others.

Our family also came down with the flu earlier this year. We had a few angels take care of us then too. 
A dear woman came to be with the younger two (she even left her service shift to come) while I took Brigham to see the Dr due to a 105 degree fever. 
My sister brought us dinner when the other boys came down with it too. Wow!

I also feel grateful that my mother-in-law could watch the boys when I had to work recently. 

I can go on and on. I continue to be amazed at such compassion and care from these women. These women have their own families to take care of and yet, they take care of others as well. I am so grateful for these women!!! These angels!

Five things I love about each of my kids

To be truthfully honest, I could probably easily list a ton of things that my kids do that bother me. However, these kids are the most precious little people in my life. I love them a whole heap!!!

1. He is smart enough to play games with even if they are for 10 and up.
2. He can entertain himself with drawing or coloring for a while.
3. He can be super helpful when he is in the mood.
4. He is very sweet and sensitive. He has a very caring heart.
5. He writes me notes all the time that say, "I love you." And he likes to bring Doug and I breakfast in bed when we try to sleep in til 8am. It usually consists of toast, yogurt, and a banana. 

1. Silas makes me laugh. He says things like: "hey, can you smell something under your bed? If you can smell something under your bed it's me! Can you smell me?"
2. Ok, I just think he has the cutest face. I love his face!
3. He can make others feel loved and can be super sweet. They each got a chocolate bar from their Grandma for valentines day. Brigham was eating his in front of his little brothers and they were asking if he would share. Brigham refused. Finally Silas ran downstairs to get his and shared a piece with Adam. 
4. I love his imagination. 
5. He tells me frequently, "Mom, I will always love you."

1. Listening to Adam talk makes me happy. He has a cute voice and he says the cutest things. 
2. He is a little comforter. When I want some comfort, Adam  will snuggle with me and it really makes me feel better.
3. He is a pretty happy kid.
4. He puts up with his big brothers and will even dish it back at times.
5. I like to much his cheeks.

Monday, February 9, 2015

First of February Fun

You wouldn't know it was February with all this beautiful weather!! The sun is warming our health and attitudes. It seemed that the majority of January we stayed inside, away from people, kept our flu germs and other germs to ourself. I started to feel a little gloomy. But, what a wonderful gift we have had in February. The sun has been shining, inviting us to go outside and feel fresh air and breathe in happiness. 
We took a walk around the greenbelt and some ducks came flying to us from the river. They landed right at our feet and were following us on our walk for a little ways. I am sure they just wanted us to feed them, but we can pretend that they liked us and wanted to be our friends. 
It's also basketball season. We sure have enjoyed watching our cute little junior jazz player. Brigs simply lives for basketball right now. He relates every day to being so many days before his game or practice. 
We haven't taken the boys to the movie theatre in a LONG time. We took them to the cheap theatre to see Big Hero 6. We also got them their own little bags of popcorn (FYI, the popcorn at The Pramount is so much better than Edward's and it's like $4 cheaper!)with a drink and a tootsie roll. They were in heaven. Silas was relaxed in his own chair with the booster seat munching popcorn and happy as a clam. He wants to go back to the theatre real soon!
Hope everyone is enjoying their February too. Here is to more fun the rest of the month!