Tuesday, November 6, 2012



Is anyone out there still reading this poor, neglected blog?

I am impressed if you are!  The last time I even looked in the blog's direction was right after Chloe was born...and she just turned 3 months this past week.  

I know, crazy, right?  It has gone by fast for me as well!

I will *hopefully* do a massive update soon.  For now, I kind of wanted to explain my absence.  So get comfortable, maybe grab a snack and beverage, because you are about to read a lot about just me.  Booooring.  If you want to skip it, and just wait for the big update, I understand.  We can still totally be friends!

So here we go.  Remember how I couldn't walk after I had Chloe?  I thought it was weird, but just wrote it off as a side effect of pushing a human out of my body and considered myself lucky that it went away after 3 days.

However, similar pains started occurring throughout the rest of my joints.  I would wake up one day and not be able to move my arm, hip, etc. more than a few inches.  Even the joints that weren't causing me tons of pain had a dull ache, and for some reason my feet were always so sore I incorporated an interesting hobble/shuffle into my strut.

I tried to tell myself it was postpartum hormones with a hint of old age, but was worried enough that I mentioned it to my doctor at my postpartum appointment.  She ordered blood work to test for Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Turns out, at the ripe age of 28, I have Rheumatoid Arthritis

Fun fact: I was officially diagnosed by the Rheumatologist EXACTLY one month after I publicly mocked my husband's old age on his 30th birthday on Facebook.  That, my friends, is Karma at her best!  I basically had it coming!

Just a few facts:  

It is an auto immune disorder.  My immune system is attacking my joints.

It is something I will always have.  It can be pushed into remission, but we are currently trying to find a Rheumatologist I love...because apparently he or she will be my new bestie who I will be spending a lot of time with.

For now, my case is pretty mild.  I don't have swelling or very much damage to my joints.  I am really sore and stiff every morning, but it usually improves within a few hours.  The thing that affects me the most is when my fingers and wrists are acting up...it can make doing small and tedious tasks nearly impossible.

My doctor was able to prescribe some medications that I can take while nursing Chloe.  THANK HEAVENS!  I started trying to give her a bottle a day when I first found out I probably had RA, and it is not going so well.  6 weeks in and the kid still won't take a bottle.  Stubborn little midget.

For the most part I like to think I am handling it well.  I have had a few meltdowns, usually related to me not being able to function as well as a mother to small kids (such as getting shoes on Tucker's FAT feet or buckling Chloe's seatbelt).  It can be frustrating to have days where I feel like my body is not only failing me, but is affecting my ability to take care of the littles.  But like I said, those moments have thankfully been few and far between.

Jared has been a rock star.  He has really stepped up to help out with the kids, house and sometimes even physically take care of me.  He even had to drop everything at work one day to help me out of the shower.  Long story short: I sat down in the shower...huge mistake.  My fingers, wrists and shoulders were too sore to pull myself back up.  Luckily my oh so helpful 3 year old finally responded to my calls, brought me my phone and I had to have this conversation:
Me: Hey babe, how is work going?
J: It's ok.  Kinda busy.  How are you?
Me: Ummm, I am ok.  So tiny problem.  I sat down in the shower and can't get up.
J: What?
Me: I mean, it's not a huge deal.  I kinda feel like the kid on a Christmas Story.
J: Ok, I am coming home.
Me: Well, no rush.  It's not like I am going anywhere.
J: (probably some Life Alert "I have fallen and I can't get up" jokes)

It was obviously a proud moment for me.

So that is it.  All in all, we are doing fine.  I am trying to learn how to listen to my body when it tells me to sit down and not worry about the dishes. 

I am slower, but turns out Jared and I think arthritic Lindsey is a hoot.  Poor old gal is the butt of many jokes in our home.

 Those of us with hair sometimes look a little rough (curse you elastic hairbands), so it is actually a blessing that 3 of the 5 of us have little to no hair.  

And fortunately, even on my most homeless looking days, I have a happy, chubby baby on my hip to distract  people from how awful I look :)

Go ahead...try to look at me instead of her.  It didn't work, did it?  Mission accomplished.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Chloe Lorraine

I happen to be a person that loves to read birth story.  If that's not your thing, here is the version that is rated E for Everyone:  Chloe Lorraine finally arrived on July 29th around 6:30am after my longest labor to date.  She was 7lbs 1 oz and 20" long.  Dark hair and a possible dimple has been spotted a few times.  There you go...now if you don't want more details, feel free to skip the text and just look at pictures.

Now for the more detailed story.  First of all, when I was 28 weeks, my due date was pushed back.  Me, being the genius I am, decided that I was going to keep telling my body that my due date was the end of July...ya know, mind over matter.  Not so smart, my friends!  In my mind I was almost 40 weeks- medically I went into labor at exactly 39 weeks as usual.  I guess I better stick with the people with the medical degree next time.  So this is all based on the actual timeline :)

When I hit 37 weeks, I started trying to coax the baby out.  Mainly so Jared and the other kids could go to a big family reunion- since my labor is USUALLY only a few hours long, we weren't comfortable with sending them and take the risk of Jared missing the birth.  I had my membranes stripped that Monday, and had no doubt she would be here in the next few days.  I walked a ton (pushing a double stroller or pulling a wagon), moved cinder block, mowed the lawn, bounced on a yoga ball, etc.  Nothing happened, and my family missed the reunion...so lame!

After the reunion ended, I took a few days rest until my mom came, then it was game on- again.  She had to leave the 5th, so we had scheduled a baby blessing for the 5th, so I needed her to come asap.  So I continued all the exercises, threw in some amazing Zumba (I seriously have no clue how she didn't fall out during that!), had the membranes re-stripped and tried not to sit down as much as possible.  Again, nothing except a few contractions at night, that would disappear eventually.

The night before I turned 39 weeks, the kids and I caught an amazing stomach bug.  I spent the whole night praying that all my hurling would NOT send me into labor.  The morning I turned 39 weeks, I could feel a ton of pressure so announced to everyone that today was the day.  I moved around as much as I could, and that evening after putting the kids to bed I tried doing squats.  FINALLY contractions started around 9:30pm.

Since we had been swimming, I really wanted to fix my hair and makeup.  After every delivery, I look at pictures and resolve that next time I will look better.  Halfway through my makeup application/contraction timing I realized that wasn't going to happen, contractions were coming too quick.  So Jared threw some last minute things in the hospital bag and we took off. 

We made pretty good time to the hospital, and it was a little after 11 when I got all checked in.  I was a little surprised to learn I was only a 5, but asked them to start the epidural process.  All of the nurses thought I would deliver within an hour, so it was all pretty rushed.

Sometimes Jared likes to tease me and take pictures of me mid-contraction.  Awesome.

My epidural kicked in about 12:30, they checked me again and I was dilated to........a 6?  What the?!?!  It was crazy to watch the monitor, see some crazy big contractions and not progress at all.  At one point, the baby's heartbeat fell completely off the monitor, so I wasn't able to rest- I watched the monitor like a hawk.  The next 5 HOURS dragged on...I was so restless and eager to meet her, and she just wasn't coming.  They checked me a little after 5 and I was only to an 8.  The Dr. came in and broke my water, expecting her to pop right out...but my contractions stopped completely.  Again, awesome.

At 6:10 they started me on pitocin.  Then checked me.  Hello baby's head.  During my first push, the Dr. told me to not push hard, to push with little pushes.  After a couple little pushes, she was out (6:21am) with the cord wrapped around her neck and foot.  Fortunately, everyone was completely calm which helped Jared and I not to panic. 

So I realize being in the hospital for 7 hours is not that long, but compared to 3hrs with K and 1.5hrs with Tuck it seemed like an eternity.  Seeing this face definitely made up for it.

We had about 6 hours alone with our little beauty before guests started showing up.  We had 3 names picked out when we left for the hospital.  During our alone time, we had kind of settled on one name.  Then Kerrigan showed up, and was BEYOND excited to see that Baby Chloe (not the name we had picked) had finally come out of mommy's tummy.  Seriously, how do you tell this face that her baby sister's name isn't Chloe?  That's right, you can't.  So baby Chloe it is :)

 Tucker wasn't sure what to think, but he did give her a few good snuggles.  Such a sweet big brother!

 First photo as a family of 5

The Grandmas loving on the newest grand baby.  Not sure how the only picture I got of Susan is of her changing a diaper...oops!

Chloe had lots of visitors come to see her- it is so fun to see how loved she already is!

Now meet Great Grandpa Rulon.  He is probably Jared's favorite person in the world.  Lorraine is Rulon's wife who passed away soon after Jared and I were married.  It was really special to have Chloe Lorraine meet her Great Grandpa.

Ok, so I had a list of pictures I wanted to take in the hospital.  My body had other plans.  The night after Chloe arrived, I woke up with a lot of pain in my hip- I couldn't get comfortable and it was painful enough I couldn't sleep.  At one point, I got up to use the restroom and discovered I couldn't put any pressure on it.

The next morning it was worse.  Jared had to half carry me any time I got out of bed.  Just what a new mom needs, the inability to walk :)  The only conclusion the Dr. could come to was I must have pulled my leg at a weird angle when it was time to push and couldn't feel it because of my epidural.  Next time I think I will leave my legs in the hands of nurses...literally.  An extra day at the hospital, 2 physical therapy sessions, painkiller/muscle relaxer prescriptions in hand and a walker (yes, like an old woman) later and I was sent on my way.  I wonder if I am the first woman to leave the hospital with a newborn and a walker?

Anyways, my handicapped state didn't leave much room for taking pictures.  Here are the few that I did get.

 Heading home

 There it is, folks.  The arrival of Chloe.  Now I have spent way too much time on the computer, I better take care of my 3 kids (still hard to believe I have more kids than hands...yikes)!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

5 1/2 weeks left...

Warning: this post is more on the personal side than most.  Just a little warning before you dive in!

Sidenote: Yes, I am hiding my face.  Between errands and swim lessons, not a stitch of makeup made it onto my face today.  You are welcome!

Now normally with the belly shot comes commentary about how much the baby is moving, how swollen my feet are, etc.

Not so much this time.  I will just say she is very active and we are getting more and more excited to meet her everyday.  Then we will move on to a different (but related) topic, because this mama needs some advice.

As one can tell from the rate of reproduction in the Stokes home, we are not really birth control savvy (yep, I am going there).  My only experience with birth control was this one time during fertility treatments.  It was Yaz, and it was not so great.

4 years ago, during all the fertility stuff, Jared and I decided we would never have me go on birth control (and that was solidified by the Terrible Yaz Incident of 2008). 

But 3 kids in 3 years has changed our tune a tad.  My body needs A BREAK!!!!  This pregnancy has been much harder than the other 2.  I am still sick, and way more uncomfortable and swollen way earlier than normal. (PLEASE do not take this as me complaining!!!  I realize how blessed I am to be pregnant, and am beyond thrilled to add another baby to the mix.  I just wanted to explain why I am posting on something so personal)

More importantly, my family needs a break from pregnant me.  I want to be one of those super moms who keeps a super clean house and comes up with super fun activities for her kids and creative/healthy meals everyday.  And I physically cannot even come close to being that mom while I am pregnant.  SuperLindsey is just not in the cards for me while I am growing a human in me.

Soooo, since we will be holding off for a few years, we are kind of leaning towards IUD.  Which is where I need advice. The positive aspects of it sound awesome, but I am worried it might affect our fertility when we are ready to reopen the baby factory.  Neither of us feel like 3 is our number...we definitely want more- eventually!  The thought of having problems conceiving again terrifies me!

So does anyone have experience (or know someone who has) with this particular means of birth control?  Especially any experience with conceiving afterwards?

Sorry, I totally realize the personal nature of this...I will be probably be deleting this post in a few weeks.  Or if you have some advice but don't want it public feel free to email me @ lindseywstokes@gmail.com 

Now I will go to elevate my feet while the kiddos are napping- 3 cheers for cankles!!!!

Monday, April 16, 2012

3 Months Until 3 Kids...

...holy CRAP!
(Sorry mom if you read this-I tried really hard to eloquently describe my feelings, but came up blank!)

This picture was taken over a week ago, but since then I have reconnected with my chocolate addiction AND taken advantage of All You Can Eat Breadsticks at Olive Garden.
Therefore, the belly has grown- which means this picture is all you get.
Just some random facts for your pleasure:
-I am feeling better all the time. Evenings are still hit or miss, but during the day I actually feel like a human being. I've really missed that!
-I have some really strange food aversions that have stuck around. Mainly in the dairy department. Tillamook cheese totally grosses me out. Tillamook yogurt, however, is a staple in my diet. Finely shredded cheese (any brand) makes me gag. Just FINELY shredded, the other stuff is fine. I have no idea why, and fully admit how crazy I sound. (ok, even just typing about it makes my eyes water a little. Wow.)
-Kerrigan is a little confused these days. After 4 months of addressing my belly as Baby Chloe, she now thinks that Chloe is in her belly and a different baby is in mine. Is it bad parenting if I am ok with it? I LOVE the name Chloe and may very well go with it, but would like the option of naming her something else. So as of now, Kerrigan thinks we are both pregnant and I haven't set her straight. (I feel guilty just typing that. And again, wow!)

-Tucker still has no clue what's going on, but he is totally intrigued by my protruding gut. He loves that his #1 raspberry blowing spot is getting expanding by the day.
-Jared...sweet Jared, he is struggling in the name department. Every day he comes up with a new name, and then decides against it the next. I have had my top 2 names for awhile...just waiting for the man to realize how amazingly perfect they are :)
-As for the love child herself, she appears to be pretty feisty. She isn't a constant mover, but holy cow can the kid kick! Yesterday in Relief Society, we were both enjoying her bout of hiccups when *BAM*, my innards took a beating (like so hard I visibly jumped). It appears she wasn't enjoying the hiccups as much as I was, and I think my liver took the brunt of her frustration. Thankfully it wasn't my bladder, because a force like that would have had me in adult diapers for the next 3 months for sure!
She loves music, her Dad's voice and Tucker's raspberries. And sometimes she gets startled when Kerrigan starts to sing in her ultra high pitched voice, but then again, so do the rest of us humans...and probably any dogs in a 3 mile radius.
Oh, and she REALLY wants Daddy to let me decorate her room like this:

Image found here

Friday, April 13, 2012

18 months...

My little bud turned 18 months on Feb. 28th. Naturally, I am just now getting around to documenting it.
I don't know about you, but I think 18 month Tucker is one handsome feller! (So when I first typed that out, I accidentally put feeler...little different than where I was trying to go with that sentence. Baha!)
The boy is still not talking much, but we have made HUGE leaps in his vocabulary recently. He is doing a ton better with repeating (or at least attempting to repeat) what we say, and is getting really good at singing along with songs.
A month or two ago Kerrigan was at preschool and Tucker was wandering around whining something. Me, being the observant mother I am, didn't realize for almost a 1/2hr that he was looking for his sissy. We have since realized that "Keeeeeeee Ggggeeeee" is how the kid says Kerrigan....holy melted heart!

Tuck may or may not have started nursery a few weeks earlier than he was supposed to. As in, I may or may not have shoved him through the door then ran. At first, he wasn't a huge fan. I don't know why my method would have caused any separation anxiety, right?
Now that he is a legit member of nursery, I stick around for a few minutes and he is doing better. He is basically their star "student", in fact. The other day I peeked in, and all the other kids where sitting nicely at the table and coloring- BAAAA-OOOOORING! Where was my little genius? Sitting ON the table EATING the crayons. That will teach those leaders to hold off on snack time. Advanced? You better believe it!
He has amazing hair. I don't know how to control it at all. Seriously way out of my league here ,folks, with this whole boy hair thing. It grows so stinkin' fast! And when it gets really bad I can't just put it in pigtails like I do with the girl.
Let's just hope I figure it out by the time he starts school, or I am gonna have some school picture day explaining to do later in life!
Tucker puts EVERYTHING in his mouth. No really- EVERYTHING!
Right now his favorite inedible happens to be dirt and grass. Although it is great for the firming up of his bowel movements (the kid hasn't blown out at all since its been warm enough for him to be outside regularly), the grainy consistency leaves something to be desired. I am still weighing the pros and cons.
Um, he just looks really big in this picture. That's all.And this picture is the perfect representation of 18 month Tucker. Messy, bruised head (above his eyebrow), probably sporting a dirty diaper...but happy as a flippin' clam!

Love him!

Friday, March 30, 2012


Just a few random pictures from my blogging hiatus:
Random fun with Grandma, Grandpa and cousins.
And each other. And a diaper box.

Random Kerrigan:
Back in the day, before those 2 pink lines, I was a better mom. We dressed up. We did crafts. We made fun lunches. We picked our noses...some of us more than others, of course :)
I bet Kerrigan misses that mom. We all are hoping she will be back soon! Hang in there sis, I am working on it.
Random Tucker (aka The Grey Hair Maker)
Seriously, this kid keeps me on my toes. He is always up to something.
Climbing on furniture, making messes, digging in the trash, eating non-edibles. And my personal favorite, taking a relaxing soak in the freaking toilet.
Good heck, just looking at these pictures makes me TIIIIIIIIRED! I think I will go take a nap!

A Year of Firsts...

This past year has been a big year for Kerrigan...and for Jared and I as first time parents to a "big kid"
In August, she started going to Joy School and dance class. Not gonna lie, the kid thinks she is pretty hot stuff with all her big girl activities. I tend to agree.
In January she started going to Primary. We are still working on selling her on the idea that Primary is cooler than playing with toys in nursery. When we tell her it's time to get ready for church, she usually says, "I don't like church...it's too big". I think she means too long. To be honest there are some Sundays that I {again} tend to agree :)
I don't think it helps that we aren't in the same ward as her Joy School buddies anymore, but she is definitely warming up.
In every ward there is "that kid" who wanders and twirls around in the front of the room during Sharing Time. I am proud to announce that this year, "that kid" belongs to me...ok, maybe not proud, but it does make me giggle.
In January she had her first dance recital. It was probably the best 90 seconds of my life. Kerrigan is a bit of a free spirit- and let's just say it definitely showed on stage.
I wish I could get the video to load, but it's just not happening. I will just tell you the 2 highlights for me as a parent: at one point she started messing with her tutu...as in pulled it super high, and then started pulling it down, a little too far down. Jared and I were DYING, positive that our kid was about to take "Fly Away Little Butterfly" to a new level. At the last second, she decided to keep her costume on.
Then at the end, all the girls start exiting stage left. My child starts exiting stage...um, back? She got halfway to the back, and realized she was going the wrong way so ran back to her fellow butterflies with the cheesiest smile I have ever seen on her face.
She is my child. I just don't know what else to say.

Kerrigan's Birthday

We decided to do a *slightly* bigger party for Kerrigan for her 3rd birthday. It was tons of fun, and she helped a lot with the planning. She knew who she wanted to come, what she would wear and what the theme would be : FAIRIES!!!!
All her cute little friends came dressed as fairies, and we had little fairy wings for everyone. We danced to Tinkerbell music, painted nails and even made pixie dust. I wish I had been better at taking pictures, it was all so stinkin' cute!
One MAJOR perk to living a few miles from family is having cousins willing to come help out with crowd control. I think eight 2-4 yr olds would have been a tad overwhelming for me (especially in Dec. when we had to stay indoors) and they were absolute LIFESAVERS!!!!!
We were even lucky enough to have Grandma come for the party...and bring along a special guest: The ToothFAIRY!!!! She did a great job of teaching us how to do good brushing, and brought goodie bags for all the little fairies!
I don't know what I did to deserve this adorable, crazy, loving, sweet, weird, loud, free spirited 3 year old...but I am sure glad she is mine!

November AND December

That's right folks, I am combining 2 major months...can you handle it?!?
For Turkey Day, we all flew out to Tucson to check out Jared's parents' new digs. Not going to lie, being able to go swimming at the end of November- AHHHHmazing!
We enjoyed lots of family time, pool time and rest time.
Also noteworthy is the 2nd picture on the top row. Kerrigan packed her suitcase the week before. She knows once we break out her Trunki (seriously BEST PURCHASE EVER!!!) it means we are going to the airport. We let her pack her snacks and toys for the airport, then she gets to hitch a ride on it as we are walking thru the airport...such a lifesaver!
We headed to Arizona for Christmas. The kids and I went early and hung out with my sister's family for a week and a half. Sadly, I started feeling mysteriously sick and tired, so I didn't take any pictures! Oops!
Then we headed up to Flagstaff to my parents house, and Jared met up with us. We got our sugar cookies, sledding and yoga on. Always loads of random fun at Grandma and Grandpa's.
Christmas morning:
Not sure why my kids look homeless in these pictures- we had already been to church, then came home for presents. Brooke's family couldn't come up, so my kiddos enjoyed the spotlight all morning. Santa left most of the bigger presents at our house, since we had to drive home a few days later.
2 random pregnancy stories:
#1. While we were at my parents' ward, I suddenly felt "the urge" and had to make a ladylike dash to the restroom. Halfway down the hallway, someone behind me said hi to me and I think asked me how I was. I started to slow down...the threw up in my mouth... and returned to a more frantic dash. So to the kind unknown person who saw me that day- my apologies for not returning your greetings. I had more urgent matters to attend to!
#2. 20 months ago, I drove down to Flagstaff from Idaho @ 36 weeks pregnant. Not going to lie, I thought it was awful. Turns out, compared to the drive at 9 weeks pregnant, it is a piece of cake. WORST DRIVE EVER KNOWN TO MAN!!!! I literally have never felt so sick in my life...never again will I make a long drive in the first trimester of pregnancy. Let's just say Jared deserves major points for getting us all home in one piece!


I have a lot of blogging to catch up on. Unfortunately, I also have a lot of life in general to catch up on now that I am starting to feel human again.
Which means condensed posts full of collages of unedited pictures. Not my favorite way to blog, but it will have to do for now.

Jared and I went on our first childless "vacation" to Vegas. It was really a State Farm Convention, but there was tons of free time and HELLO, did you catch the fact that we didn't have our kids?!? Totally qualifies as a vacation!
We saw shows, stayed at a fancy hotels, ate tons of food and cruised the strip. Oh yeah, and I got frisked at airport security. Note to self: don't wear a maxi dress to fly...they are a major security red flag!

Lucky kiddos got to go to 2 Trunk or Treats, one for our ward and one with the cousins. Have I mentioned how much we love living by family- because WE DO!
We went with a Tangled theme this year. The girl was Rapunzel and the boy was Pascal. I totally went super Mormon Momma and made Kerrigan's costume...I know, I know- I am amazing :)
Do you love the bottom left picture? Yep, that was the only one I could get of both of them looking at me. Begging for candy is hard work, fo sho!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Belly Facts...

Here are some of the details about this pregnancy:
- I am 13 weeks, baby's ETA is end of July
-I am beyond sick. Zofran has helped, but I am still visiting the loo at least 8 times a day (although once last week I only threw up 5 times...yay!)
-Because of that high frequency ^, I am TERRIFIED to leave the house alone with the kids. In fact, in the past 4 weeks, I have left my house 3 times. Pathetic, I know.
-Is it bad to say I am really, really, really hoping for a girl? Boys are fun, but I am craving all things pink!
-2 weeks ago, I had a cramping/spotting scare. Turned out to be nothing, but it REALLY helped me put the whole sick thing into perspective. I realized how much I want this baby (I am embarrassed to admit how easily I lose sight of that fact when I am so sick)!
-I am not really craving anything. I craved spicy cheetos for a few days, but you only have to throw those up a few times before that craving disappears...YEOWZA!
-Did I mention I want a girl? I kinda think it's a boy. Jared wants a boy. Kerrigan wants a sister. Tucker just wants a haircut so he doesn't look homeless anymore.
-My kids watch a lot of tv, and eat a lot of PP&J sandwiches and corndogs. We also have pj days about 4 days a week. Because we are awesome like that. I have to constantly remind myself K has been through this before, and she turned out ok.
-I have been amazed by the support we have received. My visiting teachers have been AMAZING, and the RS has been bringing us dinner 3 times a week. It's been a humbling experience to accept that much help, and we are incredibly grateful!
-Depending on the how the day goes, the baby bump fluctuates. Some days it seems huge. Then I have a really bad day and it disappears.

*I know you kinda want to, but please don't judge how dirty the mirror is. Clean mirrors...pretty low on the survival list of priorities.*

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Adios 2011

See ya later, 2011. We had a good time with you, but are really looking forward to what 2012 will bring us!
Enjoy our Collage O' 2011!
HINT: If you look very closely, you will see the *BIG* reason I am posting this 19 days into the new year.