Monday, March 31, 2014

Joshua William Olson birth story... one year later!

In honor of little Joshie's first birthday (that was a few weeks ago), I decided that I should finally get around to posting his birth story.  Better late than never!!

So, way back in 2013, I had my last Dr. appointment on Friday March 8th.  We decided that since this was my 4th kid, and my labors were fast AND my sister was getting married in a few weeks and I wanted to make sure that the baby would be at least 2 weeks old in order to fly- that I would go the hospital at 8:00am (when my Dr was on-call) and she would break my water.  I was a little nervous about doing this... what if nothing happened when they broke my water?  Which would be unlikely since that is essentially what happened with my last two babies... the labors were progressing slowly so they broke my water and BAM, baby born! :)

Well, all that night I was feeling nervous about it and hoping that I would just go into labor on my own.  But at the same time, I was hoping that I wouldn't go into labor in the middle of the night, because I felt bad about making my Dr come in before her 8:00am call.  I know, ridiculous.  Well, as if on cue, right before I went to bed around 11:00pm, I started noticing regular contractions.  Having experienced this for the last 4 weeks of my pregnancy, I wasn't too concerned.  I can't even count how many times I was up all night timing contractions to see if they turned into something.  So annoying!  I had crazy amounts of false labor with this pregnancy.  I hear it gets worse with each baby.  Anyway, so of course I can't get to sleep.  These are actually starting to feel a little more intense than normal (still not painful at all) but seeing as how I'd already gone to the hospital once before, sure that I was in labor only to be sent home, I was not about to go again unless I knew FOR SURE that it was the real thing.  So I timed contractions.  I've never really timed contractions super closely, but with my handy dandy app, it made it very easy to see if they were getting closer, longer, etc.  Well, there really wasn't any rhyme or reason to them.  Sometimes they were super close together (like 2 minutes) but they would be really short.  Or they would be really long but farther apart.  A few times I went like 5-10 minutes without having one, so I thought for sure these weren't real.  Everyone always says, they will be consistent and start getting longer and more intense.  Well, they were starting to get more intense (still not painful), but the patterns were throwing me off, so I still wasn't SURE.  So dumb.  Well around 3:00 am I finally had THE contraction that told me this was the real thing.  It was super intense and the first one that I would call "painful".  So, I finally went and woke Nate up and told him we needed to go to the hospital.  We got everything together and went to wake up my mom to tell her that we were going to the hospital.  I think the clock said 3:20am when we did that.  As we walked out the building and down to Columbus to catch a cab, contractions were getting super intense and consistent.  I could tell that I was heading into transition because I was feeling the slight urge push during my contractions, but when the contractions were over I felt fine, so I felt pretty confident that we would make it to the hospital in time.  Of course, when we got to the hospital, I didn't realize that we had to enter through the ER entrance, so we had the cab driver pass that and go to the front only to find it locked, and we couldn't just go back because it was a one way street. :/  So I had to waddle my way back to the ER entrance.

We made our way up to labor and delivery and checked in at the triage desk.  There happened to be one other lady waiting.  I told the lady behind the desk that this was my 4th baby and that my labors go really fast and I felt like I was pretty far along.  She told me I still needed to wait for the nurse.  Geez.  So since I couldn't sit I walked back and forth dealing with the contractions that were getting closer and closer.  The other pregnant lady was calmly sitting in her seat.  The nurse finally came out and asked which one she was taking back, the lady behind the desk told her that the other lady got there first but that I looked like I was further along in labor and that it was my 4th baby.  The nurse asked the other mom which baby this was for her and she of course said, 4th.  Come on!  So they took her to a delivery room and took me into triage and told me to get dressed and give them a urine sample.  I couldn't believe it.  I was starting to get nervous that I was going to deliver in the nasty, dingy triage area.  I managed to get dressed and give a urine sample, which I guess means I wasn't about to push the baby out right then, so that was good.  I still had to wait a bit for the nurse to come check me.  I kept pacing back and forth, and finally called out for the nurse to please hurry.  In situations like this, I wish I were more forceful and vocal in labor.  Then maybe they would take me seriously.  She finally came and checked me and what do you know, I was at a 9.  I told her that I go really fast and she said ok, we're taking you seriously now.  Awesome, thanks.  They hurried me to delivery where another nurse then proceeded to take her sweet time getting me hooked up and asking all sorts of ridiculous questions.  After a few minutes I told her I needed to push and she said, "no , don't push, let me finish getting you checked in."  Um, wow.  After a couple more minutes, I started getting a little more vocal so she finally decided to check me and said "oh yeah, the head is right there.  Ok, go ahead a push when you need to." Oh ok.  Thanks lady.  At this point the Dr and other nurses came in and a few minutes later, little baby Joshua was born.  His time of birth was 4:03am.  43 minutes from when we woke up my mom.

I was so so grateful that despite it being a little frantic, we made it to a delivery room in time.  I had nightmares about having to deliver a baby in a cab or on the subway.  I knew that I had a hard time telling the difference between braxton hicks and my real labors, and I knew that once I could tell the difference, it meant I didn't have much time.  So I barely made it, but I DID make it.  AND I was able to go into labor on my own.  It really worked out quite nicely. :)

After Joshie was born, he cried and cried.  I nursed him on both sides but after like 15 minutes on each side, I took him off and he freaked out.  I asked them if they had a pacifier I could give him, because he obviously just needed to suck on something, and they told me they don't have pacifiers because they don't encourage them.  Oh my gosh.  Give me a break people!!  That was most definitely not the case the last time I had a baby at that hospital.  So the poor thing just cried.  I finally got him swaddled and calmed down after a bit.  But this basically set the tone for the first few weeks of his life.  He was a fussy little guy.  He never did learn to take a binky.  But once I stopped swaddling him, around 6 months, he used his thumb to soothe himself.  By the time he was two months, he had turned into a happy little guy-just in time for our cross country adventures.  He was a little fussy in the car rides, but he slept in the hotels like a champ.  Once he started sleeping through the night around 2 months, he never turned back!  He seriously NEVER wakes up in the middle of the night anymore.  He is a dream sleeper.

We love this little guy so much.  He is such a sweetheart, loves to watch his brothers and try to get involved in what they are doing.  He loves to crawl around and touch everything, and pull himself up to see what's going on in the higher-up places.  He loves to play with toys and eat real people food.  He hates getting his diaper changed and getting dressed.  He loves baths and water in general.  He also loves to chew on things.  I can't believe that he is one already!  This year really has flown by, but I can't imagine our family without our little Joshie.


Sunday, May 05, 2013


Well, I'm writing a blog post, so you know what that means... I have news!  You know when you're in school and getting close to graduating and everyone asks you where you will end up, and you answer "we have no idea, it could literally be anywhere..."?  Well, we finally have a legit answer to that question, which, to be honest, is still a little weird and surreal for me.  But we are so excited for this next chapter of our lives.  And that next chapter will be.... drum roll please....

Johnson City, TN!!  For you geographically-challenged individuals (like me), that is in the north-east corner of TN, about 4 hours east of Nashville, an hour or so east of Knoxville, and close to the borders of Kentucky and North Carolina.  Right near part of the Appalachian Trail. Yeah, it's pretty gorgeous, as you can imagine.

On Wednesday, May 1st, Nate was offered a tenure track professorship at East Tennessee State University, in the bluegrass, old time and country music studies program in the department of appalachian studies.  Got that? ;)  And yes, these things really exist.  Just a little fun fact for you, this is the only school in the world that offers a major in bluegrass music.  And Nate gets to teach there.  He is crazy excited about this opportunity and we know that we have been incredibly blessed.  The job, however, does not begin until August of 2014.  So it's all a little anti-climatic.  Except that it's not, because there is one more small piece of news...

We are leaving NYC in 26 days.

This has all happened very suddenly, as in, the last few days, and it is still kind of a shock to say that.  But I am starting to come to terms with it, and as of today, have started to feel very peaceful about it.  It's all kind of a long and dramatic story, but basically Nate's job situation was quite unbearable, so he quit this week.  We knew this was coming, as he has to get his dissertation finished and needed the time to work on it, we just didn't expect it to happen this soon.  But, he did what we both felt needed to be done and so now we have to leave this amazing (and very expensive) city.  We have come to a point in our NY experience where I don't feel that we are really taking advantage of the city as much as we used to and as much as I'd like to, as it's just so hard to get around with 4 small kids and all.  So while I am very sad to be parting with the city, as I do love it so SO much, what makes me that saddest is to be leaving the people that we have had the privilege of knowing and becoming close to over the last 5 years.  They truly are like family, and it is seriously heart breaking to have to say good bye.  Change is always hard for me, but even more so when I haven't had time to mentally and emotionally prepare.  But like I said, we feel good about our decision, and I am slowly getting to a place where I don't want to break down and cry every time I talk, or even think, about it.

The boys are very excited to be moving on, although they are pretty bummed that we are not moving to TN quite yet.  I told Asher that we would be in WA, close to his cousins for the summer, which made him very happy, and then I went on to say that we would be living in UT for the school year.  He got all excited and asked if we would be doing "suburban living" (no idea where he learned that term...), I said no, we will probably be living in another apartment- and he was VERY upset.  These kids are so ready for more space and a backyard.  I feel so bad for them (and for myself ;) but I figure we can hang on for one more year.  We are very happy to be able to be out west and closer to our families for this next year, before we head back east indefinitely.

So anyway... there is our news.  We are so excited and definitely recognize Heavenly Father's hand in our lives.  We have been so blessed over the last 5 years.  I often feel unworthy of those blessings, but I am so grateful for them nonetheless.

Wish us luck on our next new adventure!!

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Happy New Year!!

Yes.  This is happening.  I'm writing a blog post.  Let's not dwell on how big a deal this is.

So we got back to NYC last night, just in time to ring in the New Year on the M60 bus from La Guardia airport to our apartment.  It was actually quite fun and memorable.  The best part about it, I was in a good mood and patient with my kids.  That may not sound like a big deal, but seeing as how the first 30 minutes of our trip out of Spokane (yes, that means checking in at the airport and going through security and walking to our gate) was so incredibly trying that I honestly didn't think I would survive mentally... I was just so grateful to be feeling as happy and energized as I did at the end of the long process of getting home.  I was even able to stay positive on our walk home from the bus stop, when Sayer was whining and crying the. entire. time.  Poor thing was exhausted, but still... 

In actuality, those first 30 minutes were the low point for me... Bart slept the entire first leg, and yes, we did have to book it to our connecting gate, which is hard when your 2 1/2 year old insists on pulling his own suitcase at a snailspace, but thankfully one of those little golf cart drivers saved the day and we got there in just a few minutes.  But we were the last people on the plane, and people around us did not seem too happy that a family of 5 would be joining them.  Especially when Bart started losing it.  Thankfully, he pulled himself together for most of the flight.  During this flight, I was so grateful for marriage... it was really interesting to see how Nate and I work together and compliment each other so nicely.  At the beginning of the trip, I was losing it and he was totally calm and together.  During the second leg of the flight, Nate was having a hard time with Bart, and I was the one that was calm and not stressed.  I love that it works out like that so much of the time. 

From this trip we learned: 

- It is not worth the $50 we saved by not checking bags and having each kid pull their own carry-on.  It was so crazy going through security and walking to our gates, getting on and off the planes (and don't forget we had a layover both ways) with so many kids and so many bags.  Ugh.  Awful.  

- We are cheap.  Well, Nate is. ;)  I wanted to take a cab to and from the airport but Nate didn't want to, and let me tell you, SO much stress would have been eliminated if we would have just done that.  It's not worth the time and energy it takes to walk to the bus stop with all our crap, and then wait for the bus in the cold, and then endure 45 minutes on a crowded bus trying to juggle our crap. 

So next time- take cab. Check bags.

- I also decided that it's worth it to move back West just so we don't have to deal with flying with 3, soon to be 4, kids.  It's so expensive and it's such. a. pain.  But we will keep doing it because we miss our families :)

Which leads me to a more positive note, we got to spend Christmas with Nate's family.  It was so great to be with everyone to celebrate, many of which we hadn't seen for about 2 years. To me holidays are about family and being with those that we love so it was a blessing to be able to be there.  The boys had so much fun with their cousins.  They also more than exceeded their quota of movies and Wii time for the entire year.  I feel like they need a media detox.  Oh well.  If they play Wii a ton at grandma's once a year, I can live with that.  We had a lot of fun in WA,  but are so happy to be back in our cozy little apartment, and get back into a routine.  Thank you to the Olsons and Caziers for hosting us and putting up with our noise and craziness.  We love you all!!

I didn't take a ton of great pictures, but here are some from our wonderful Christmas of 2012:
 Flight out to Spokane

 These are so, so good.
 Playing in the little bit of snow

 Fun at the Mobius
 It snowed a little bit more before we left for Pasco to stay with the Caziers.  Spokane is so gorgeous when it snows.
 Barty loved his cousin baby Gwenyth
 Throwing pots with Papa...

 Asher was pretty put out that he was not already a master at the wheel
 Apparently it was loud

 Of course every single one of my kids had to sit in the taxi strollers at the mall
 Lizza made these adorable Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus nativities for each kid.
 Christmas Eve...

 All the gifts arranged in an aesthetically pleasing manner!!
 The boys browsing the gifts on Christmas morning

 Waiting for everyone to wake up before we begin opening presents
 Enjoying their loot!

 Snack time with cousins
 It turned out to be a white Christmas after all!  Started snowing around noon and went all night.  It was so pretty!

 Three little snowmen that the boys made the next day.  I thought they were so cute!
 This was a very common sight.  There is no shortage of ipads and iphones in the Olson family
 Asher threw up about 30 seconds after I took this picture.  We had been in the car for about 5 minutes.  Of course no family get together would be complete without some sort of stomach bug getting passed around.  All 3 of my kids got it :/
 New Years Eve on the M60 bus!  Sayer fell asleep about 5 minutes after this picture.  I practically had to drag him off the bus-he was NOT waking up.
 Happy New Year!

 Asher was clearly thrilled about a new year
 One of these boys is a faker
 Barty SO excited to be home!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

A post. With thoughts (not deep ones) and news.

Well, it's been awhile.  It's funny, cuz I started this blog as a way to keep my friends and family updates on our lives, mostly our growing children and the things we do with them... you know, scrapbook worthy activities.  But, it's those kinds of things that are just so not fun to blog about.  No one really cares about them but me, and I really only want to document for our benefit, and they are always such tedious posts to write, what with all the pictures I have to upload, etc.  So it is the very reason that I started this blog, that keeps me from blogging.  Does that even make sense?  But I love to write blog posts where I just blabber on about whatever is on my mind, or things that are actually fun and exciting in our lives. I need to do that more.  Just cuz it's fun, and not necessarily because people actually like to read these posts. ;)

So here we go.

First off, I'm pregnant. Olson baby number four is on it's way and will arrive in early/mid March.  Yep, there it is.  We will have four kids in NYC.  At least this time around, we have several large closets and even an office to choose from for it's sleeping arrangements.  This, is fabulous news!  The other good news is that we are one of 5 families in our ward expecting their 4th child, and there are already three families that currently have four children in the ward, so it helps me feel less crazy.  Although, I'm sure I will still be made to feel insane plenty... I can just see myself juggling the three crazies on the subway, me large with child, and people thinking, "lady, what do you think you are doing?!  You can't even keep these kids under control, how are you going to manage another one?!!!"  They will think I am a menace to society.  It will either be that scenario, or I will get the occasional, "God bless you!!" comments, which totally make my day.  I've even gotten a few, "I think you are amazing" comments, which make me feel just that.  Those are the good people.  The other ones are just cranky New Yorkers who think they are the only ones that have the right to ride the subway.  Kids, to them are the scum of society.

Anyway, we're very excited, if not a little bit nervous.  We're excited to find out what gender the little munchkin will be.  Probably in the beginning of October.  Everyone keeps asking if I am hoping for a girl.  It's a tough question actually.  A girl would be fun.  Different.  It would take some time to wrap my brain around having a girl.  I think I might be too mean to mother a sweet, innocent little girl.  I'm a boy mom, and part of me kinda wants to keep it that way.  I don't know why.  Boys are fun.  I know I make cute ones, as well as crazy ones, but mostly they are adorable and hilarious.  I think it would be great to have four boys.  But, there is that part of me that will always want a little girl.  So whether it's this time, or next time (which will probably be the last), I would ultimately love that.  But, I am completely fine having all boys.  I have resigned myself to that possibility.  So to sum it up, I'm fine with either.  Asher really wants a little sister.  He says we have enough brothers and is already calling it a her.  So, we shall see.

Moving on.

I have been reading a lot of Pioneer Woman these days, and it is her that has made me want to write a blog post.  Partly because she kind of has the same, talk about random things-and just keep rambling on like I would-writing style, only she is funnier and wittier than I am.  I like her.  And I love her food.  I have been scouring over her recipes and have tried several this week alone.  They're good.  Real good.  This morning I found myself browsing her Christmas section.  The sudden onset of cooler weather in NYC has made me feel like it's already fall.  Time to bust out the pumpkin recipes and practice my pie crusts (because they need some serious, serious help).  Time to make plans to visit an apple orchard and pumpkin patch.  Time to start thinking about Thanksgiving dinner plans (mmmmm, gravy!!!).  And best of all... time to start thinking about Christmas goodies, which scented candles I need, where I should put the Christmas tree and hang twinkly lights, how many times I will be able to get away with using my Christmas dishes and goblets, what I should make for Christmas dinner...?  These are the kinds of important question I'm asking myself this morning.  Too soon you say?  Possibly.  But I just love October-December, and I don't intend to waste a moment of it.  And now that I actually have a decent sized kitchen, and since I am most definitely NOT doing a fall fitness challenge, I have grand plans to bake my little heart out this season.  And if I haven't mastered pie crusts by the end of winter... well, I don't know what.  I will be bummed.

So there you have it.  This is what I am up to these days.  Growing a baby, and dreaming of all the different things I can cook and bake this fall/winter season.  That and schlepping my kids to and from school everyday.  On the days that I take the kids to school, I walk about a mile from our house, to Asher's school, and then to Sayer's.  Yesterday Sayer whined and cried the entire mile.  It was so great.  Sayer is in a half-day pre-k program from 8:00 to 10:45am.  So on the weeks that I pick him, along with two other boys up (carpool baby! just without the car), I end up walking around 2-3 miles, depending on what I do with myself in-between.  It's good, since I need the exercise and the weather is so nice.  But it's kind of exhausting.  I find myself needing a nap every afternoon, which makes me feel lame and out of shape and old.  I try to remind myself that I'm pregnant, but still...  Oh well, I'll get over it. 

Oh!  I am also getting super pumped for all of my shows to start back up.  I won't tell you which ones, because you might judge me, but it is all very exciting!

That is all.  Next time I'll post a bunch of pictures to make up for the lack of them this time.  Until then...

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

While Nate was away...

Nate was a way in Michigan last week presenting at a conference, because he's awesome and smart like that.  While he was gone, I made the most of my alone time in the evening and worked on a project that I have been so excited about for quite some time.

Let me start by saying that I have pretty much come to terms with the fact that I am not a creative person.  I basically have zero original ideas.  I don't have that gift of being able to look at something and see beyond it to what it could be.  But... I am pretty good at looking at other people's creative ideas and saying "yeah, I like that".  I am also pretty good at following step-by-step instructions on how to recreate that idea.

A while back while browsing Pinterest, I came across this photo wall and fell in love.

With everything from the scalloped frames to the yellow painted table.  I started to think, "I could totally do that with a cute dresser and use it for art storage, and then use the frames to display the kids' art"  So I started browsing the web for images of yellow dressers to copy and came across this one:
I. Fell. In. Love.  It just spoke to me and I knew I had to have it.  I thought about just buying it from the Etsy shop that was selling it.  It wasn't that expensive, but it was in Chicago and shipping was way too steep for me.  So I started to think, well, maybe I could do this myself.  But space was an issue, and I didn't know if I could do something like this in my apartment, or if I would have to go to a friend's in Westchester to do it.  I worked it out with a friend to do it at her house just in case.  I started searching the web for tutorials, and found so many different options, it was overwhelming.  How was I supposed to know which one was the best method?  The most fool proof?  If it was going to give me the look I wanted?  I had been convo-ing the shop owner and decided to be brave and ask her how she did it, knowing that this was her creation and thinking she probably didn't want tons of people just copying her ideas.  Thankfully, she was generous enough to suggest a link for a tutorial and she even gave me the exact brand and color of paint she used (Solar Fusion by Behr).   So nice.  Then I started scouring Craigslist and E-bay to find the perfect dresser at the perfect price.  I was pretty picky, (I really just wanted something that looked exactly like the one in the picture, was this too much to ask?!?) so it took a while to find one.

But find one I did.  It was exactly what I wanted, but I still really liked it.  I found it on Craigslist, for $20!  Hard to beat that.  It took us forever to coordinate a time to go and pick it up all the way over on the upper east side, and when we finally did, I was a little disheartened by the shape it was in... the drawers were falling apart, and there were quite a few chipped areas that were going to need to be patched.  But for $20, I figured I could make it work.  I took it home (after deciding that since I wasn't using spray paint, I could make it work in our new apartment) and got to work wood gluing and nailing the drawers together, sanding and cleaning it and patching up all the bad areas with wood filler, and sanding some more.  Fixing the drawers ended up being the easiest and fastest part of the whole thing.  All of this was over the course of a couple weeks.  Finally it was ready to paint.


Notice the huge ugly gouge on the top left had corner?

Pieces of veneer that were missing and needed to be filled.

The huge gouge, nice and smooth!

I waited until the kids were in bed and got to it.  Of course it took me way longer than I thought it would, and my back was killing by the time I was done, and I wasn't even "done" yet.  I let it dry overnight and in the morning I got to work on sanding and distressing it, which was the part I was most nervous about... I had no idea what to expect.  It  actually ended up being the funnest part.  I loved sanding it and having the paint come off where it naturally would, and then on the areas that I wanted a little more wear, I went back and put a little more elbow grease into it.   I was surprised by how much the sanding changed the paint color, but in a good way.  It made it look less "crafty" and homemade, and it made the paint look less thick.  After a few texts to my mom and sisters to make sure the sanding looked just right, I did the stain, which I was a little nervous about too.  But I decided to trust the tutorial lady, who said that this is the step that most people miss, that really makes it look amazing.  So I painted it on, wiped it off, and voila!  It did look amazing!  I couldn't believe what a difference it made, especially on the sanded edges, it really made them pop.  It does change the color of the paint a little bit, but again, in a good way.  It gives it more character and depth and really makes is look like it's been worn over a long period of time.  I seriously love it.  I still can't get over how good it looks.  I feel like a total professional! ;)


After a little distressing.  I actually did quite a bit more after this before I put the final stain on.

View from the family room area.  I love the brightness it adds to the room.  This was before I stained it.

The night I finished.  Terrible lighting, but I couldn't wait to see what it looked like with stuff on it. :)

Still not the best light, and the right side is kind of blurry, (sorry these are all iphone pics) and Barty messed with the handles before I tightened them... But this is closer to the true color.

It just makes me so happy!  And all for about $60.  Not bad at all!!

I asked Asher if he liked my new dresser and he said "no, I don't like how it's all old, I only like it new", as in before I distressed it.  Well I like it, and that's all that matters. ;)  I actually did go back and forth on whether or not to distress it, because I really do love the nice clean look as well, but I really had my heart set on having a weathered look for this piece, and I am so happy with how it turned out.  

The frames are coming along, but I keep changing my mind about how I want it to look and what I want to put on the dresser, but it's almost there.  I will post a picture when it's all done.