Saturday, November 9, 2013

OMS! (Oh My Sand)

We couldn't leave the California coast without going to at least ONE sand castle competition. So we ventured to Ocean Beach today for a glimpse. (Can I just say that getting 5 kids out the door is a much bigger chore than 3? SIGH) Photos are in no particular order and the last photo is just snapshot I attempted yesterday, but baby girl was too hungry for pictures. Enjoy. We had fun!

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Thursday, November 7, 2013

Sean's Great Great Passport Project

Sean's fourth grade class had one of those "this is really for parents" projects this month. It was called the "Passport to California" and it was grueling trying find who our first progenitor was to come to California. With questions like, "how did they travel?" and "what did they do when they got here?" We were finding these challenging to answer. I can see where it would be easier for someone whose Grandma who immigrated and is still alive, but for us it was much different. We learned that Sean, his siblings and mother have quite the California heritage!!

Meet Charles Whittaker. He lived in Camden, NJ where salt water taffy, mason jars and Walt Whitman were born.

He visited California around 1900 and fell in love. He picked pineapples in Hawaii for a while, went back to NJ and then moved to California around 1903. He was the first to drive the electric trollies in San Jose around 1906. They ran for over 30 years and he was the last to drive the trollies as well.

Sean's Great Great Grandfather was friends with John Muir. He helped map the trails in Yosemite. He loved the outdoors (a little too much according to some of my family members). He was a daredevil. He probably loved trains and trolleys (because of all the photos and his son's future profession).

 Sean's classmates didn't believe that this photo was actually his distant grandfather, but it is and I think it's great! It shows what an adventurous spirit he had. You would think he died in some crazy stunt he was doing, but cancer got the last laugh I guess. I'll leave out the no-so-great stuff that I found out about him, nobody is perfect.

As you can see he was an avid photographer. His son, Wilbur Charles Whittaker was like a grandpa to me and was a pretty famous train photographer. I loved hearing his stories and looking at his train pictures.

Thanks to my mom, Aunt Tali, Aunt Nancy and Aunt Janet (for the photo CDs) for helping him on this project as well! Love love finding out stuff like this!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Briallen is 1 month old!

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMugShe weighs in at 10 1/2 pounds and 22 inches! She is growing up so fast. We are all trying to snuggle her as much as possible before she grows into a sassy teenager!

Her brothers LOVE her so much. I never have to bribe or look for willing arms to take her in. She is one loved little girl.

At her doctors appointment today, he was a bit concerned with her eyes. Supposedly they aren't perfectly straight. I hadn't even noticed and we're hoping it will correct itself before her 2 month check up.
Other than that, she is a perfectly healthy bundle of pink.

This month she has started gifting everyone with her smiles. She loves to be talked to and especially sung to. She quiets at the sounds and vibrations of music.

Last night she slept over 6 hours, woke up for a snack and slept another 6 hours! LOVIN' this girl!

Sunday, November 3, 2013


Have you met Rand? If you have, you will understand this new word in our home which is a hybrid of "Rand" and "Radar." The kid has built-in radar. He knows everything in the house that is left unattended. I'm not talking toys, or clothes or furniture. I'm talking electronics, open toilets, open doors, remote controls, tissue boxes and computers, anything that he's not supposed to have he goes after and FAST. The kid is so fast that his superhero name would be "The Blur."

This is why every chair is knocked over and barstools are upside down, to prevent (or at least slow down) the little blur.

For example, you're sitting at the computer. The phone rings and you get up, walk 4 feet to pick it up, and its a telemarketer that you hang up on instantly. You turn back to the computer and Rand is already sitting on the desk holding the mouse, your screen is gone and some youtube video about a fox is playing. This is a typical Randar moment. You get it right? In 20 seconds everything is chaos. Like all the time. SIGH

He's wearing us out.

1 1/2 years old and cuter than ever.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

A child's holiday fo' sure

I have a love/hate relationship with Halloween.
But I remember the magical feeling of getting to be someone else for a day.
Last minute costume fittings and fixes and school parties to attend.
But I get mommy taxes on the loot they bring home.
On November 1st it looks like a monster-sized pinata puked all over the house.
Okay, I'll admit half of those wrappers are mine.
and a week later they are still sneaking into their costumes for a little reprise.
So childhood was pretty great, wasn't it?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

10 years of Sean

Sean age 3 and age 10
He is 10 years old now.  Double digits dude. We've survived 10 years of him! More responsibility and all that stuff. He hasn't changed all that much. He still loves seafood and pretty much anything that Cooper hates. He's super smart and I foresee him as the absent-minded professor. Love this kid so much. He really is amazing. Happy Birthday, Sean. Please be good!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

I couldn't get her into a tutu fast enough

She'll probably see these photos someday and say, "mom, WHY did you put that on me?"
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And I'll tell her, "I waited so long for a baby to put in a tutu."
And people make fun of me for doing these photos literally within hours of coming home from the hospital. (if you look closely, you can see her little cord crimped)
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But I'm not offended when people jest about my photographic eagerness.
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Because sometimes I wish I could freeze time. And this is my closest attempt. And because you would too!
Welcome home Briallen.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Briallen Joy

Welcome to the world of boys, little girl. This is the birth story. If talking TMI girly stuff bothers you, STOP reading now.

Briallen was planned for those who've asked but she came into a crazy schedule. We had some difficulty with the final days of pregnancy which resulted in spending many hours bouncing on a ball, playing music at the bottom of my belly and crawling around the house on my hands and knees. She was breech and did NOT want to flip. Luckily at my 38 appointment, she was no longer breech and was still a girl!!! YAY! Dad had his semester break and we were hoping that she would come early, but she didn't and I was denied the membrane strip due to the fact that her little head was floating high inside and not engaging my cervix. So we waited. And waited.

The day before my due date (and induction date, even though I didn't want to be induced!) I was contracting regularly. They were pretty significant, but not painful. I had these a few days before but they finally went away after about 5 hours or so. I called the advice nurse and asked if I could be induced today instead since the contractions were so annoying. She basically told me NO, but to get my butt to the hospital so I don't deliver at home. I took my time and arrived around 10 AM. So I went in and it was determined that I was in labor.

Dad was at school. Grandma was with me. I was dilated to a 2. Head was still not engaged. So we waited. And waited. A few hours later I was dilated to a 5 and Nick arrived. Her head was still not engaged and they would not break my water. (If you break the bag of waters before the head is engaged to seal off the opening, the umbilical cord can prolapse and kill the baby!) So we waited for many hours and nothing was happening. I received an epidural and was hooked to pitocin, stronger contractions could make the baby descend, but she was not having it!!

About 6 PM things were not changing. My doctor went home and I was left to the mercy of the on-call night doctor. She decided to break my water and kept her hand in there to make sure the cord didn't come out. Her head engaged and I was eager to get things moving! My labors weren't normally this long and I was ready to be done.

I'm not sure what was going on inside me. But once baby descended, she began to be in distress. Her little heart rate kept plummeting and scaring my nurse. I had to lay on one side to keep her heart rate stable. However,  this meant that the "up" side of my body didn't get the epidural and it pretty much sucked, but I was totally fine with it as long as I saw that little heart rate monitor stay where it should. Also, because I was on my side, my cervix wasn't dilating normally. They finally just had me start pushing, on my side and before I was fully dilated. It only took 2 pushes before the cervix was gone. After a few more pushes they had me stop and the doctor worked quickly (I just remember writhing in pain feeling the baby half-way out and thinking, "why wont they let me push her out!?!?!") I was finally able to push her completely out. I was sobbing (not from joy, okay maybe a little joy of just being relieved of the pain) and they rushed her away and didn't put her on my tummy or let dad cut the cord. I knew something was off, but I wasn't worried, I knew everything was fine. The cord was wrapped tightly around her little neck and she was blue, I was told, I'm kinda glad I didn't see it.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMugShe was born at 9 pm. My largest baby at 8 pounds 7 ounces, 20 inches with lots of dark hair. She's perfect and I'm relieved!

Look at those long fingers! I'm convinced that she'll play piano. She loves music!

The story behind her name. Briallen Joy. Pronounced <bree AHL en> Our children are primarily of Welsh descent. We really wanted a Welsh name. Briallen made the short list when we first started looking at names and stayed on the list. Welsh names can be quite different (just Google some). Briallen is the Welsh form of "primrose" which means "first flower." The primrose is the first flower of the season to bloom.We felt it fitting. We then needed a middle name. Nick pulled up his family flowchart and saw "Joy" as his great grandmother's middle name. It just seem to fit. When he told his grandmother, she said that Joy was her middle name, but that she actually went by it.

We are obviously so happy to tip the scales a bit in our family with a girl.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Another Surprise!

And you thought that having a 5th baby on the way was shocking?

For those of you that are colorblind, that last stick figure representing our unborn child is PINK!

Finally, we are on team PINK!

So what happened?

We had our ultrasound today. Grandma came down to hang with the boys. I drank a Sunny Delight in the car on the way over to give the little baby a kick so it'd be moving around for the ultrasound technician. We explain to her that we have 4 boys at home.... She did her scan. Baby is perfect in every way, nothing amiss, SO HAPPY!
She finally said, "well, I think you're finally getting that baby girl."
I said, "are you sure? You HAVE to be sure."
"I'm pretty darn sure, see those 3 lines?" ...... etc
I still let her get another technician to verify, and baby was cooperating, spreading her legs and everything for them, 2nd opinion, YEP it's a girl.

I kinda cried. Kinda. Why? I'm still not sure? Happiness, maybe. Fright, definitely.

Then after the happiness settled in, the shock started. What in the world are we going to do with a little girl in this house? A house of stick, slugs, and slime? Oh, this is going to turn our home upside down.

But we're excited and so are the boys. Now we are having the hardest time thinking of names. But the list is forming.

Awaiting baby XX, October 3rd, 2013.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Amy and Joe

Amy and Joe came to visit us! Our boys adopted them as their new choice as parents, I think.

We had so much fun gallivanting around San Francisco. We hit the California Academy of Sciences, a restaurant or two (what a treat!) and even got to go to church with them.

Love this family!

Please come again :)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A Day off for the Gibbons

We are the coolest parents EVER. We let the boys play hooky from school!  It was my grandma's birthday, so we thought we'd celebrate it in style, without her (hey, she was invited).

We started off the day by going to IHOP. My kids think that IHOP is the nearest thing to heaven. What a treat! They were very well-behaved. Win#1

Then, we went to the theater and saw "The Croods" in 3d. We had the whole place to ourselves, because who goes to see a kids movie at 11 am on a Wednesday? Great for us, Rand had a blast running up and down.

We came home for piano lessons and then headed back out to hit the beach. We stopped at our dear Pacifica Taco Bell on the way to Montara Beach in Half Moon Bay. Walking out on the empty beach, we noticed a dead seal, huge, bloated and stinky. Gross. Then we noticed a little baby seal crying on the beach and my heart sank. I know about mother nature, blah blah blah, but whatever, it's still sad seeing the poor thing suffer. I took pictures and moved on. Rand LOVES the beach and ran up and down and up and down, played in the sand and tried to keep up with his brothers. Later on, a man showed up and said that he got a call about a seal pup. We said we'd seen it and told him where, but the pup was gone. After a few minutes, the seal came back up on shore and we got to help rescue him!! It was so cool!  He was taken to the Marine Mammal Center where he will hopefully grow up strong and be released back into the wild. They informed us that the seal was NOT his mama and that he was a Guadalupe Fur seal, very rare to find in this part of California because they are usually hundreds of miles north of here. He is still alive and we can check on him here. He is currently the only one of his kind at the center, we can go visit him and got to name him. Nick named him, "inu" which means dog in Japanese.

What a great day!

Friday, March 8, 2013

I really cant believe that he's already 7

Mace is rockin the 1st grade. He bounces off the walls at home, but at school he's showing just how quiet and focused he can be. Who knew?

He's exploring the world of withholding information from mom and dad (hoping to not get in trouble). He's learning quickly that we find out things and he gets in double trouble.

 yeah, It's been so fun.

But really, he's a loving and caring kid. He never hesitates to tell us he loves us or offer a hug. He wants to help with everything. 

He also LOVES to talk about farts, barf and bugs.

He's a boy. And now he's 7.
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On his 1st birthday.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Friday, February 8, 2013


One of the great things about living in San Francisco is that we're so close to some good theater. I got some cheap tickets to see Wicked, so mom and I headed out. The seats kinda sucked, but it was awesome! I LOVE LOVE that the ugly girl gets the guy in the end. I had read the book and was pleased with the changes that were made for the play. The book was a total downer. Even though it was nice to have background information on all the characters, I could have done without some of the garbage in the book.

I would like to see it again please!!