Fall Recap 2016

As I mentioned in the last post, I've been so consumed with writing about the twins that I have put the here and now on the back burner.  I still have so many many experiences I'd like to write about in our journey with the twins, but for now I am going to put those drafts on hold to record a few snippets from our life these past several months.  The last time I did a recap was from Summer of 2016, so I'm going to try and catch up with a few highs and lows from Fall of 2016 for this post.  This might be a bit disjointed, but I just wanted to jot down a few things before my memory of this past year completely fades!  Thank goodness for pictures to help remind me of what went on.

September 2016

On Saturday, September 3, Burke took the girls to Parowan to hear Brett and Kevin play guitar at the Iron County Fair while I rested at home.  It was the first time Burke hasn't played with The Suitcoats at the fair, but there were just too many doctors appointments for him to have time to practice with them that summer leading up to it.  The girls loved the fair and Burke spoiled them rotten with rides (Daphne's first time on a roller coaster and ferris wheel) and cotton candy.  I was so glad they were able to have a fun day in the midst of all our turmoil.  The following Monday, Burke again took the girls to Parowan for the Labor Day Parade and up to Co-Op with the Adams family for food and fun at the mountain.  Again, I stayed home with my swollen ankles up most of the day.  

Many, many kind gifts, cards and visits full of sympathy and love during the days following Aiden's passing on August 29.  So much goodness, so much kindness.

1 and 2) Daphne and Darcie were super into building forts for a while.  It always made for amazing static heads and messy rooms.
3) Last picture of my belly before the babies came.  This is less than 20 yards from our front door, but I remember walking over to help Darcie with something and I could hardly breathe from the extreme pressure of my pregnant belly and my feet were so swollen they could no longer fit in anything but two pairs of slip on sandals.
4) Burkie visiting with one of his clients in an orchard on our way down to St. George for our last high risk (MFM) doctor appointment. I loved watching him in action and seeing how people just love him.  He's so good at his job - always making people feel valued, heard and comfortable.
5) Kellie (Burke's oldest sister) sent him a surprise package of Marshmallow Matey's - just the mallows!  She remembered how he used to pick out the marshmallows as a kid and horded them in ziplock bags under his bed!  She is always sending thoughtful things at holidays and birthdays or just when it strikes her fancy.  She sent me a package around this time of 3 new books just because we had talked about some of our most recent reads the last time we had been together.  I am always amazed and touched at her thoughtfulness.

This picture.  I simply love it!  I love the way Darcie is looking up at her big sis in admiration.  I love how it captures Darcie's favorite red boots that she wore everywhere for months.  I love that Daphne dressed herself and that she is rocking boots with shorts along with rad purple socks sticking out the top!  I could just eat these little honeys up!  

Two days before the twins arrived unexpectedly, we took the girls fishing down at the pond near our home early on a Saturday morning.  I love these shots Burke got of them walking down the trail and trying out their little ninja turtle fishing rod.

It was such a beautiful morning and my heart felt at peace as I basked in the sunshine, taking in the sweet scene of my husband patiently teaching his daughters to fish.  

No bites, but no one minded in the least.

Later that morning, Burke took the girls down to the 4H Livestock show and auction while I...you guessed it...rested.  Our nieces, Sadie and Macie had competed again this year with their pigs and it was fun for the girls to go down and see them in action.  4H is a completely foreign world to me, but I think we might end up being involved in some way or the other with the kids in the future, especially since Burke got volunteered to be on the Cedar City Livestock Committee a couple of years ago and helps plan the show.  The bottom middle picture is of Burke with the judge they brought in from Texas who happened to be from a small town Burke served in during his mission. 

Finally, Alan and Aiden were born on Monday, September 12.  Obviously, their pregnancy and birth experiences are detailed in great detail in "The Journey with Twins" posts.  

After 5 days being monitored, we got to bring our little 4 lbs 8 oz brother home!  

The girls were obsessed with their new preemie brother...

...and so were we!

11 days after their birth, Aiden's Memorial and Graveside were held in Parowan with just our immediate family.  I've been working on a couple posts about this very emotional, yet special time, and will hopefully finish them soon.

The rest of the month was a blur of trying to recover from the c-section while waking every 2 hours to administer feeding syringes during feedings for Alan, helping Daphne adjust to Kindergarten and keeping Darcie from smothering Alan with too much love.  The candid picture below cracks me up as Daphne was whining her head off (turns out she was sick - she threw up a half an hour later) and Darcie was bawling because I wouldn't let her lay on my recovering c-section tummy for story time and Alan looks a bit uncertain, like, "Should I be nervous?"

October 2016

Unless you saw him in person, I think it was really hard for people to realize just how tiny Alan was at 6 weeks premature.  Again, more details about this in other posts, but here is a photo I took of him next to a water bottle to give people some perspective.  I think this other one of me holding him shows just how little he was.  It was a little frightening at times as they had us coming in every couple days to weigh him at the pediatricians and when he wasn't gaining enough weight early on they talked about bringing him back into the hospital until he proved he could gain weight and thrive.  They had me waking him every 2 hours to feed and I had to thread a tiny tube connected to a syringe full of formula into the corner of his mouth while he nursed to pump him full of extra calories.  They said if he took longer than 30 minutes to eat he would actually be burning more calories than he was in-taking.  Most days he was so sleepy and weak that I had to take all his clothes off and rub his feet and head to wake him up enough to attempt to feed, but he would often fall back asleep in the process numerous times which would cause me to cry as I knew if he wasn't eating, he wasn't gaining weight and we were likely to end back up in the hospital.  It was a very emotional, exhausting time.

I will save all other baby related pictures and thoughts for another post.  In other October happenings we....
visited Robinson's Pumpkin Patch for FHE (Alan's first time out of the house besides the memorial).

Celebrated Darcie's 2nd birthday super low key with a doggie themed birthday at home watching 101 Dalmatians.  She was stoked out of her mind with her new VTech Learning Desk, Water Wows, activity book, jumbo beads and walking/barking puppy!  

On the 8th, we took a Saturday morning drive to see the changing leaves up Cedar Canyon.  Had to stop several times to feed Alan, so we spent some time at the pond and park at Woods Ranch and ended up stopping at a random (but delicious!) food shack before...

Spending an hour at Panguitch Lake skipping rocks and playing in the sand.  It was so nice to get out of the house and spend some quality time as a family.

Uncle Elijah was able to come from Turkey for the first time since his little family evacuated in August and won favorite uncle status by buying a venus fly trap and letting our bug/plant/nature loving Daphne tend it for him while they went north to visit family for a few days.  

During this time Daphne also caught a monarch butterfly.  She was thrilled to take it to school for show and tell, but unfortunately it got so man-handled at school that one of its wings got broken and it died later that day.  Daphne was devastated and bawled her eyes out.  She is such a tender heart and never wants to see things hurt.

Lots and lots of time spent recovering at home.  We were perpetually exhausted as we got up with all 3 kids almost every night on top of feeding baby Alan every 2 hours.

Burke went to General Conference Priesthood Session with his Dad and brothers in Parowan as usual and hit the Parowan Cafe following (bottom left picture).  The girls were pretty good watching General Conference at home (top left) and Burkie even did an early morning breakfast picnic for the girls with hot coco down in the meadow (center).  Far right line up is each of the kids in October - skinny Al, Darcie with her favorite red boots and Daphne so excited in her pjs for Pajama Day at school. 

We took a lot of pictures and videos of sunsets throughout the fall in memory of Aiden.  As his name means "Little Fire" any time we saw "fire in the sky" we felt like it was a little love note being sent from our angel son.  Many nights I would sit on the back porch and talk to him, weep or ponder for those few gorgeous minutes that made me feel close to God and Aiden.

Burke took the girls up to Co-op for the annual Adams family dinner on opening night of the hunt on October 21 while Alan and I stayed at home organizing and watching a chick flick.  Al sported his camo getup in honor of the evening so we could be at the mountain in spirit.

The next weekend, Burke took the girls up to the mountain on the last day of the deer hunt to make a run with Grandpa Alan early in the morning.  I didn't help him pack and didn't realize until afterward that he had packed only light jackets (no heavy coats, gloves or hats) and apparently the girls were frozen minutes into the excursion.  

But a little root beer and pickup bed driving go along way to make up for freezing fingers!

Other highlights from the month included carving pumpkins as a family, making "mummy dogs", Daphne's first cooking class with Grandma Marie and cousins where they made adorable Halloween themed finger food, the ward harvest party (for Burke and the girls while little Al and I stayed at home) and the school Halloween Carnival.

Of course the ultimate highlight for the kids was their Halloween costumes and trick or treating.  Our bug loving Daphne had planned a whole family set of costumes.  She wanted to be the butterfly with Darcie as the caterpillar, Alan as the cocoon and Burke and I to chase them with butterfly nets, but when Darcie saw Daph's beautiful wings she was NOT having the caterpillar idea!  Haha!  I don't blame her.  We ended up with two darling monarchs instead.


1 and 2) Cassie, Marinda and I had a wonderful play date with the kiddos walking down to the pond and "fishing" with sticks.  I love being with my sisters/inlaws!
3) Burkie and Darcie out on a family walk.
4) Darcie being her crazy toddler self.  Always doing something she shouldn't and getting into mischief! (But always so cute when she does it too!)
5) Alan getting more alert with each passing day.

Darcie stuck an airsoft bb up her nose.  Yup.  You read that right.  Tried to get it out with tweezers.  Then tried to have her blow her nose to get it out, but instead she inhaled it deeper!  Got on Facetime with Burke freaking out and wondering if we should go to the doctor.  Miraculously he was able to talk her through the blowing her nose process again and it zinged right out!  This is the screen shot of us rejoicing!  Haha!

Lots of slow days with these little bugs, cuddling and reading stories in bed while feeding Alan.  As you can see above and below they couldn't (and still can't!) get enough of brother.

I have to be ever vigilant with Darcie to this day as she loves to poke brother's eyes or handle him in some weird way if ever my back is turned.  It's not malicious, I think she is just genuinely amazed by his little body and wants to see how it works, but it makes for constant stress that she is going to hurt him.

The night of the United States Presidential Election we were up until the wee hours of the morning watching several different news channels as the votes came rolling in.  The whole night was absolutely shocking.  Although I morally could not bring myself to vote for either Trump or Hillary (I voted McMullian because he was the only half decent candidate on the ballot!), I still thought that Hillary would win.  I mean...Donald Trump...President?! What?!  And what heightened the drama for us was the two vastly different text threads we had going on.  One with the Bush side of the family who were having conniptions every time Hilary lost another state and the other was the Adams side of the family who were rejoicing, not because they at all agree with Trump as a person, but because they were hopeful that his presidency would help bring conservative principles back to Washington.  We didn't chime in very much on either text thread, but the next morning  when Marinda came to play we had a good chuckle at her black USA shirt which she wore to show that she was in "mourning".  As the wife of my brother who works at the embassy in Turkey and was already seeing a dramatic increase in threats as a result of Trump's comments just as a candidate for presidency, her distress was very understandable.  

Family walk down to the woods and pond one night.  One of the last perfect fall evenings before the cold snap hit.

1 and 2) Burke helped make apple cider and got 8 delicious half gallons of cider out of the bargain.
3) My M-I-L, Marie, decided she loved doing cooking class for the grandkids so much that she began holding class once a week every other week.  Here's Daphne showing off the adorable turkey treats and Thanksgiving place mats they made at one class.
4) Burke, Luke Williams and Benito Quintanilla at the annual Elder's Quorum Clay Pigeon Shoot Off.  The winner (Luke) gets a turkey and the runner ups get cornish hens!
5) A huge American flag being raised above the Veterans Memorial Park in Cedar on Veterans Day.  Every year we make it a priority to teach our little ones about the honor we show to veterans and retell the stories of the heroes in our own family.

The Gonzalezes make the trek to Cedar to have dinner and hang out.  I'm thinking double arranged marriages so we can be connected to these fabulous people forever! :)  Darcie (who usually never goes to anyone), was SO stoic at first, but still let Ever snuggle her.  So cute.  

Thanksgiving was in Parowan this year and such a lovely weekend with the Adams family.  Little Al's daper suspenders and newsboy cap were stealing all the hearts!  It was so fun to get baby Isabelle and Alan together and let everyone love on the babies.  I was a little less uptight with the kids this time around Alan...but not much!  I love how Burke finally caught Alan's habit of falling asleep while clasping my hair tight in his little fist.

And can we get a load of these gorgeous table placements?!  Kellie is the ultimate party planner and volunteered (with Cath and Krissy's help) to decorate the tables.  Each of the kids and adults got DELICIOUS dipped cookies with the letter of their first name at their place with darling name cards and gifts for each person.  Snow globes, a tube of glow sticks, candy and jungle animals for the kids and a box of treats, golden pumpkin candles and a jar of deluxe hand made jam for each adult (my flavor was apple pie and it was PRIMO!).  I seriously lucked out in the in-law department.

One thing the Adams family doesn't mess around with is food.  Cooking is in their blood!  They all love to make and indulge on gourmet goodness.  It cracked me up when we pulled up that crisp Thanksgiving morning to find the entire back on Marie's pilot in the garage packed with food that couldn't fit on all the tables inside!  

The day after Thanksgiving we were in charge of lunch with Krissy, so she and Burke went to town making amazing carne asada tacos and salsas.  Burke and Kris also spent several hours slaving over Burkie's Laudree recipe book to make the perfect French macaroons.  They turned out amazing which kept Burke grinning all day (he had a failed attempt at the macaroons last year and was so mad about it!).

On the Saturday after Thanksgiving we went up to Co-op to cut down a Christmas tree for the girls room.  We had already taken out our fake tree for the main space, but the girls wanted one of their very own.  Matt, Alan and Wes all got their vehicles stuck during this process and I was not in a super festive mood about being up on the freezing mountain with our 2 month old baby.

That's it for the fall recap!  My quick post turned into a marathon!  Whoops.  Here's a few stragglers of the mugs I love most to top us off.