Tuesday, July 11, 2017


Last month, we took a big road trip to take Paul and Elsie to visit as much family as possible while daddy was home to drive us.  The first leg was to Reno but we stopped and stayed the night with an old high school friend in Vegas then finished the drive to my parents.  We were shocked by the temperatures in the 40s-60s and close to freezing at night as opposed to the 100+ we are used to.  We had a great time with my parents.  We visited Virginia City and Paul was super excited to get a train ticket and go for a ride.

Cliff and I left the kids one morning and did some service in the Reno temple.  It is always awesome to go back there are remember our wedding almost 5 years ago.
Despite the cold temps, no trip to Reno is complete without a trip up to Tahoe.  Cliff did a lot of playing in the water while most of us spent our time on the beach.  Paul loves digging in the sand while Elsie complained of being cold till I bundled her up in a fleece blanket.

After a few days in Reno, we went on to Idaho.  The whole Chandler family was able to come except Clay and Emily.  Paul got to experience some country ranch living and Elsie was blessed in church on Father's Day by her good old daddy.  My parents and Grandma and Grandpa Krupp came, too.  It was a full house.

Elsie was so excited for her blessing and her pretty dress that Grandma Swenson made her.
Elsie is so pretty and has the most beautiful smiles but I just love these photos and how the position was apparently over accentuating her double chin and she was making the most awesome faces.  So funny. 
After Idaho, we headed to Utah.  Paul has been loving airplanes these days so we stopped at the Hill Aerospace museum.  It was a lot of fun and Paul and Cliff loved all the airplanes.  Then we headed to Utah Valley to see Janet and her family and some friends.

Paul had a blast with his cousins and loved that it was cool enough to play outside.
At the curiosity museum with the Dunsters.

Us twins with our kiddos.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Elsie's Birth Story!

Tuesday started like any other day. Paul and I went for our morning jog, then headed to my doctor's appointment where I found I was 3cm and 75-80 effaced. I had been 2 and 75 since 35 weeks so I left thinking if it had taken a month to progress 1 cm, we were surely going past the due date. 

We went to story time and had a nice family evening then headed to bed.  I could not get comfortable and was having to pee every five mins and my belly was feeling tight and uncomfortable, but I think I slept on and off till around midnight when I couldn't sleep because not only was I still peeing non-stop but I was actually starting to feel some real pain from the contractions.  I started timing the pain and it was about 4 mins apart, but seeing as I have never felt a real contraction, I wasn't sure if it was anything so I got up, folded some laundry, and did some chores.  

Around two thirty, the pain was still happening and I was beginning to think something really was happening since I could feel the contractions wrap around my back, had some pink tinged discharge, and started throwing up so that's when I woke Cliff up.  Still unsure if this was just practice, I tried to get more done while Cliff tried to convince me to go to the hospital since they were 2-7 mins apart. Everything I had heard said real labor contractions are regular and you can't talk through them, so though I was in a lot of pain, I did not want to call a friend in the middle of the night to go be told I was not in fact in labor.  

Well, not wanting to have a baby at home and knowing I needed to get to the hospital with a few hours to spare in order to get penicillin in for group b positive, I was convinced and around 3 am we dropped Paul off with some wonderful friends and headed to the hospital.  They checked me in and did the exam and turns out it was real labor! I was relieved to hear I was 6 cm and would certainly be having a baby that day.  We got settled in and ordered an epidural because I love those things. Plus like with Paul, my blood pressure was going up in labor so we needed to try to get it down.  I got the epidural and things seemed to get better, though I could still move my legs, feel everything, and felt all the contractions, but they didn't seem too painful anymore.  A few hours later, my doc came in and I was only at a seven (might explain why the contractions weren't bad as nothing was happening).  My doc broke my water to get things moving and then things got super intense.  

The contractions were way more intense and painful than before I got that epidural and I could not bear it.  We called anesthesiologist to get a top off but after half an hour things had only gotten worse.  We later found out they had only put two tiny pieces of tape on my back and the catheter had apparently gotten dislodged.  Well, as I'm laying there bawling through contractions, (Sounds dramatic I know but you have to realize I did not plan on having any feeling in my lower half through any of this ordeal, never took a class, studied breathing techniques, etc.) they call the doctor and decide that instead of starting a new epidural, it's best to just take the 9.5cm, -1 station we were at and try to push the baby out asap.  

I definitely hit Cliff a lot through the whole process and really did not think it was going to happen but after like a half hour of pushing with all my might, the worst pain of my life, and narrowly avoiding another episiotomy, she was here! And it was great, I had barely torn and didn't need a single stitch, plus I could jump out of bed and walk unassisted to the bathroom. So that was new.  The birth was obviously way harder than the one with Paul where I didn't feel a thing but the recovery had been great with minimal soreness and no need for even a single ibuprofen.  

Elsie came out the most beautiful baby girl.  Born at 9:39 am weighing 7 lbs 8.8ozand 20 inches long. We were so in love and she was so worth it.  She was alert and adorable and came out searching for something to suck on.  She nursed right away and was such a little natural. 

Weight picture!

Already love mom

Paul meeting his new baby sister

First family picture!

"Dad, stop pointing a camera at me."

I told Nancy that this bow makes her look like a cancan girl or something

Ready to go home!

First car seat picture!

Hanging out with Grandma and big brother

At home and happy
Now we're home. It took a while to get discharge from the hospital because my blood pressure went up again, but they finally let me leave and it's great to be home.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Second Spring Break

Cliff had Friday and Monday off for Easter weekend or "second spring break" as they call it over there.  We decided to pack the weekend full of fun family activities and enjoy our last little bit of time with just the three of us.

Thursday night we headed to Mesa for the Easter pageant, "Jesus the Christ." It is something we have really loved about living in the valley and being able to remember what Easter is really about.
 Friday and Monday mornings we got to go on a family jog.  Though Cliff had to do some running up ahead and then back to us to keep pace, it was fun and Paul really enjoyed having Daddy there for his morning runs.
Then we headed to the spash pad with some ward friends.  Got to take advantage of the 90s weather before it is too hot to enjoy any of the summer activities.

 Then I headed to a salon to get a mani-pedi for the first time ever but I decided it was something Cliff should gift me for some pampering before I have to labor this baby out.

In the evening, we headed to Disney on Ice.  Cliff was gifted tickets by a student of his (perks of teaching) and we really enjoyed the show.  It was so fun to remember all our favorite Disney movies and listen to the music and see the performance.  I can't say how much Paul loved it but he was certainly captivated for the entire 2 hours of the show, so that is certainly something.

 Saturday, we started off the day with a ward Easter breakfast.  Cliff cooked with his young men and we enjoyed spending time with family as well as our ward family.  Then Paul and I headed to the city park for an Easter egg hunt.  Paul was in the 4 and under group and it was crazy chaos.  Parents were not allowed into the baseball field with their babes but many of them would not follow instructions and were just mobbing around the openings.  I was about to have a panic attack considering I had no idea where Paul was in the huge mob of children and certainly couldn't see whether he came out at the end due to a huge mob of unruly parents but Paul had a great time, figured it out all on his own, picked up 4 whole eggs, and I found him right away when he came out the gate at the end.  So, success!

 Of course Sunday morning there was an Easter basket waiting for Paul.  He was adorable and just so excited for his treats.  He would squeal "candy, candy!" every time he opened an egg with a treasure inside.  He also loved his little bubble machine and his new, used books.

Everyone at church loved his Easter outfit! So cute!

 We enjoyed a delicious Easter dinner with our friends Katie and Curtis.  Katie and I spent the evening talking baby while the boys rocked out.  We are just three weeks apart in our pregnancies!

Then today, Monday, we spent the day running errands and cleaning the rug.  Exciting stuff!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Spring Break and Our Last Trip as a Family of Three

Last week was Cliff's spring break from school. We packed it full of fun starting with Mckell's annual Phoenix visit.  She arrived on Friday and we started the weekend with a cookout at the Cammack's house.  It was so fun catching up with friends and getting the whole Phoenix group together. 

On Saturday, we did a group adventure hiking Quartz Ridge.  It was a nice 3.5 mile hike to the top of a little mountain with great views of the city.

Sunday, we relaxed, went to church, and had a nice group dinner.  Then Monday, Mckell, Brooke, Cliff, Paul and I headed to White Tanks Regional Park for some toddler friendly hiking and Arizona wildflower viewing.  We did a nice short 1 mile hike to a little waterfall (it was just a little trickle at this point) but there was a cool pool of water at the bottom.  And Paul was able to hike the whole way back by himself, too.  There were so many wildflowers covering the hills.  The whole experience really jump started my hay fever, which let me tell you, pregnancy bladder and sneezing 100 times per minute are a super fun combination but the landscape was beautiful and well worth it.

Then Tuesday, we met Sarah for some service at the Mesa Temple.  This was Cliff and my first opportunity to do any ordinances there so it was a great experience.  We took turns going in and playing with the kids outside.

On Wednesday, Mckell flew back to California and we headed to San Diego for our Sea World/ Beach vacation.
We arrived around 3 and had plenty of time to play at Mission Beach.  Unfortunately, it was pretty overcast and 70 is quite chilly compared to the 90s weather we have been having in Phoenix, so we were pretty cold but that did not stop the boys.
We also decided to do a DIY maternity photo shoot since we were at the beach and won't be getting photos done this time around.

 Paul loved playing in the waves with Cliff despite his chattering teeth.  Cliff brought him back to the beach to play since he was so cold but as soon as Cliff ran back to the water Paul said "me water, me water" and ran back to play more.

 Paul loved digging in the sand and being buried by Daddy.  They have cute matching farmer tans, too.

Paul petting some sharks.

The whole family on the sky ride, the only ride they would let me on.

 Sea World was a blast.  This was our second year bringing Paul with the free passes Cliff gets as a teacher.  It is such a great opportunity and so fun watching Paul get excited and "ooo, ahh, wow, and woah" at all the animals.  He just runs and gets right up against the glass and loves seeing all the creatures.
We met up with our friends Curtis and Katie for dinner at Cheese Cake Factory (our first time) and then on Friday morning, headed home to Phoenix.  Paul was an angel the 6 hours each way to and from San Diego which was a huge blessing and we had an awesome last trip just the three of us.