The Toyn Homestead

Our adventures as we attempt to balance work, family, and our small homestead

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Decisions, Decisions

I have never enjoyed having to make decisions. I’m what some might call indecisive. But, it turns out, as a mom, I have to make a lot of decisions every day. I have to make decisions that not only affect me, but also affect my husband and kids. Sometimes, this is really hard for me. Tomorrow, Brennan and Brayden will finish their fourth year of school (2 years of preschool, a year of kindergarten, and first grade). They have always been in the same class. A couple weeks ago, their teacher called me and asked me if I wanted them to me in the same class next year or have them separated. I told her I was going to need some time to make a decision.
I talked about it with Nick. Neither of us were sure what we should do. We talked with the boys and asked them if they wanted to be in the same class or be split up. They had different answers. I consulted their teacher. She thought that they had done well together this year, but thought that separating them might give them the chance to find their own strengths instead of comparing themselves to each other. Then, she added that she would be moving up to 2nd grade next year and Brayden was currently assigned to her class, but she asked the principal to let her have both boys if we decided to keep them together. The decision kept getting harder to make! Their teacher is wonderful, and I’ve always been scared that if I separated the boys, one would have a great teacher, and the other would get a teacher that wasn’t so great. After many nights of prayer and lots of pondering and weighing the pros and cons of each choice, I decide it was time to split them up and see how they do.
A few days after the decision was made, I got a call from the school to let me know that Brayden had tested into the challenge program. While I was thrilled that he did so well on his tests, I was also not sure if I wanted him to actually be in the program. While Brennan is very bright, he already thinks he is stupid because Brayden does even better than he does in school. That’s all he can see. He doesn’t see how well he is doing. It doesn’t matter that he has mostly 3.5s in all of his subjects. Brayden has some 4s. It breaks my heart that he doesn’t see how smart he is. It breaks my heart that he can’t see himself through my eyes. I worried that sending Brayden to a challenge class once a week would make Brennan feel worse. However, after talking to the challenge coordinator and going over Brayden’s scores, I just don’t think it would be fair to him for me to not let him have this experience because I’m afraid his brother will feel bad. I’ve spent a lot of night in tears lately because I’ve had to make these two decisions. I really hope I didn’t mess up! Thanksfully, Nick has been there every step of the way and we were able to make these decisions together. I know I’ll be really nervous when school starts, but hopefully it will all turn out ok. I’m so glad I get to be Brennan and Brayden’s mom. I just wish it didn’t involve making so many difficult decisions.

Projects!

In the past year, I have started and completed a number of knitting projects. I really enjoy knitting. Most of my life is filled with noise and things that need to be done in a hurry. Knitting gives me a chance to do something quite, and take my time to make something beautiful while reflecting on the crazy wonderfulness that is my life. Nick got me some new knitting books for Christmas that had some new challenging patterns in them. Nick encouraged me to go outside my comfort zone and try difficult patterns, and I’m glad he did because I love how they turned out and I had a great time making them, even though I had to restart a couple of times. Some of the things I made last year include:

-A BYU blanket for my mom and Lynn. I knitted 88 small, individual squares with a bunch of different patterns. Then, I sewed the squares together to make sort of a quilt top. My mother-in-law helped me add some soft minky backing and satin binding. I love how this blanket turned out. It took me over 150 hours to make, but I wanted to do something special for them since they do so much for me and I had never knitted anything for them before.
-Hats for all of the kids. I had never made hats before. I was scared to try because I didn’t know if I could figure out how to make them the right size. After some trial and error, I made a hat for each of my 5 kids. They turned out great and the kids loved them!
-Baby boots for Kylie. This is one of my favorite things I’ve ever made. I was really worried that these wouldn’t turn out. At first the pattern seemed so complicated, but it wasn’t that hard! The hardest thing was using such small needles. They will be for Kylie to wear this fall/winter. I’m going to make another pair of these for my sister in law’s niece that was born about a month and a half after Kylie.
-Mary Jane baby shoes for Kylie’s baby blessing. I added some extra pink bows to make them even cuter.
-A baby blanket for Kylie. I found this awesome pattern called “entrelac” that looks like a bunch of knitted squares woven together. Nick had to encourage me to try this one because I really didn’t think I could do it. My mom helped me add backing and binding to this one to make it extra soft and cuddly.
-Baby blankets for our new niece and nephew. I used a fun new chevron pattern for both of these.

I am currently working on three additional projects. I am making a baby blanket for my cousin, who is having her first baby in August, and I’m making big, quilt-type blankets for Brennan and Brayden’s 8th birthday. I’m really excited about some of the fun new things I tried last year and I hope that I can continue to find fun new things to try.

Here are pictures of some of the projects. I couldn’t pictures of Brayden or Austin’s hats.

2 Month and 3 Month Pictures

Our little baby turned 3 months old today.  The time is going by so quickly that I haven’t even gotten a chance to post the pictures that Shauna took when Kylie turned 2 months old.  Here are some pictures of our precious little princess from last month and from today.  I just can’t get enough of her!

Austin Is 2!

Austin turned 2 on December 22nd. To celebrate, we had a small party on Saturday, December 21st. I thought he would need some help knowing what to do when it came time to open his presents, but as soon as the gifts were set in front of him, he just started opening them like a pro. He was so excited with each new gift. After presents, we had some cupcakes and then watched Austin play with his new toys. It was a small celebration but he had a great time.
We are so happy to have Austin in our family. He is a super happy guy. His smile can brighten an entire room. Here are some fun things about Austin right now:
-He adores his baby sister. He always wants to give her kisses and makes sure she has everything he thinks she needs at any given time, whether Kylie wants it or not.
-He doesn’t talk much yet, but has just started using new words in the last couple of days. It’s so fun when he just casually says something new, like he’s been using that word forever. We all get really excited and he looks at us like we are a little crazy.
-He is tough! He can take down his big sister and both of his big brothers, and if he catches me off guard he can take me down too!
-He loves to rough house with his big brothers and he is hardly ever the first one to get hurt.
-When he does get hurt, he just wants his owie to get brushed off by Mom or Dad and then he continues doing whatever he was doing before he got hurt.
-He has a dimple in his right cheek when he smiles.
-His smiles and giggles are both contagious and he can cheer anyone up in a heartbeat.
We have really enjoyed having Austin around the last 2 years and we are excited to watch him grow and learn lots of new things in the coming year!

Kylie’s Blessing

On December 1st, Nick was able to give Kylie Rose and name and a blessing at our church. It was such a sweet experience. Kylie looked beautiful in her white dress and we were blessed to have a lot of family and friends attend. I loved hearing the things Kylie was blessed with. I was especially happy when Nick said she would be blessed to have a special relationship with me as well as her sister. Another thing that stood out to me, was when she was blessed with patience. She will definitely need that in our crazy family! I, of course, cried during the blessing. I cried because of the spirit I felt, and also because it was hard for me knowing that this would be the last time Nick would get to give one of our babies a baby blessing. It’s weird that we are moving on from the “creating our family” stage of our lives.
Kylie Rose, your family loves you very much and we are so grateful to have you in our home. Our family just wasn’t complete before. You are such a sweet baby and we wouldn’t trade you for the world. Thanks for letting me be your mommy!

Thanks for Thanksgiving

For Thanksgiving this year, we were able to have some of Nick’s family come stay at our house and celebrate with us. His parents, Michelle, Camden, BreLeigh, Steph, Josue, Connor, and Tyler all came up for the weekend. It was the first time we had ever done Thanksgiving dinner at our house and we had a lot of fun! The kids really enjoyed having their cousins here to play with them, and our guests enjoyed snuggling with Kylie. On Thanksgiving day, we had a fabulous dinner. The next day, the Toyns did some shopping and we enjoyed hanging out and watching movies. On Saturday, we took the kids to the mall to visit Santa, and that evening, I taught Steph and Michelle how to knit so they could make stockings for their families. On Sunday, Nick blessed Kylie at church.
We had such a great weekend. I’m so thankful for my family; my own little family as well as our extended family. I’m thankful for all of the blessings that I have. Life is a little crazy right now with 5 kids ages 6 and under, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love watching my kids grow and learn new things. I am so thankful for my husband who works hard for our family. I love him more than anything is this world and I constantly wonder what I’ve done to deserve such an amazing man. I’m thankful for my Savior and the knowledge that I have of the Gospel. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Tonsillectomy

On November 19th, Brennan had his tonsils and adenoids taken out. Nick’s mom and Grandma Joy came to help with the other kids so I could focus on taking care of Brennan and I could get some rest and continue healing from my c-section. It was wonderful to have them here. They did laundry, cleaned our house, and played with the kids. It was sad to see them go.
The night before the surgery, I fed Kylie at 9:00, and I had to wake her up the morning of the 19th so we could be on time for the surgery! I can’t believe that our 12 day old baby slept through the night! As we drove to the surgery center, I could tell Brennan was a little nervous, but he was trying to be brave. We got all checked in, then a nurse came and took us back to get him all ready for the procedure. She had Brennan change into a gown, which he thought was funny, and then she had him decorate his anesthesia mask with stickers. He was so excited! At this point, he thought this was the best day ever. The doctor came in and asked if Nick and I had any questions, and they took Brennan back for surgery.
Nick and I had brought work to do while we waited, and it seemed like we had just gotten started before the nurse came out and told us the surgery was over and it had gone really well. I got to hold Brennan for a few minutes while the nurse made sure he could keep some food and water down and then we were headed home. It was so much faster than we had expected and Kylie slept though the whole thing!
Brennan was in a lot of pain for a few days, but I was really impressed about how hard he tried to be tough. The worst pain was probably a week after the surgery when his scabs sloughed off. He just kept saying “I don’t like surgery. I never want to do that again.” It broke my heart and I was relieved when he started feeling better. Within 2 weeks, he was back to his normal self and I’m hoping he will start to get more rest now that his tonsils aren’t obstructing his breathing anymore.

Holding Brennan after his surgery.

Holding Brennan after his surgery.

Kylie Rose Toyn

On November 7, 2013 at 1:54 pm, our fifth and final baby made her way into the world, weighing in at 7 lbs. 10 oz. She measured 19 inches long. It was such a wonderful day for our family. My c-section was originally scheduled for November 4th. When my doctor told me I was being pushed back 3 days because of scheduling conflicts, I was very upset. I cried the rest of the day. See, about 3 months ago, my pelvis separated further than it is supposed to. As a result, I had been in a tremendous amount of pain. It hurt to walk, stand, sit, pretty much do anything. I got a little relief when I laid down, but then when I’d have to roll over, I’d have to be very careful or my pelvis would actually pop and cause excruciating pain. So, by the end of the pregnancy, I was ready for it to be over. I knew this would be my last pregnancy, so I tried my best to enjoy feeling the last baby kicks and hiccups while I waited for the 7th to come. Before I knew it, the day was here. We got up and went through our normal Thursday routine. We got kids ready for school and dropped the boys off at the bus stop. Then, we dropped Emma off at preschool and took Austin down to my mom and Lynn’s house. At that point, it was time to head to the hospital and check in.
We checked in, I got changed into my lovely gown and then we waited for what seemed like an eternity. Nick and I aren’t used to just sitting around doing nothing so it felt like time was almost standing still. Then, the nurse came in and let us know that the Dr. was running late. We probably should have expected that. She was an hour late when she delivered Austin too. Finally the Dr. arrived at the hospital and I was wheeled back to the operating room. There was a rush of mixed emotions. I was about to see my little girl. Excitement. This was the last time I would welcome a sweet little angel into this world. A little sadness. I was wondering if I’d get sick after the c-section and throw up for hours afterward like I did when Austin was born. Nervousness. I was about to be a mother of 5. GRATITUDE. Amid all the emotions, I think I was able to remain pretty calm. Nick, was of course, my rock. He was there for me every second that he was allowed to be, asking if he could do anything for me or get me anything. I’m always his first priority and I appreciate him so much. He wasn’t allowed in the room as they gave me the spinal, but my nurse (who I went to high school with) was very good and helped me stay calm. After the anesthesia was administered, the Dr. came in and after a quick check to make sure I was numb (phew!) she started cutting and shortly after that we heard some very loud crying. She was here. Our family was finally complete. The first thing the Dr. said when she pulled Kylie out was “Wow! She has a lot of black hair!” I was expecting her to be bald, so this was a fun surprise. After cleaning up the baby, the nurse handed her to Nick and he brought her over to me. She was perfect.
The next 2 days in the hospital seemed to last forever to me. It was hard having the kids only be able to come for a little bit at a time. Then, it was hard to have them there because they would get bored so easily with nothing to do. The Dr. told me I could stay anywhere from 2-4 days, depending on how I was feeling. I told the staff that I wanted to go home as early as I could on Saturday, and they were all surprised. They said I was doing remarkably well recovering from the c-section and they were surprised at how well I was able to get around, so they said I could go home when I wanted to. My mom and Lynn met us at our house with our 4 “big kids” and a welcome home banner that the kids made. They were so excited to have Kylie and me home, it melted my heart.
Today, our little Kylie Rose is a week old, and I can’t believe how fast the past week has flown by. She has been wonderful. The last 2 nights, she has only gotten up to eat once. Last night, she got up to eat at 2 and then slept until 8 this morning! All the kids adore her and are adjusting well to their new roles in the family. I feel so blessed to have these five little bedlam-ites in our home. I can’t imagine my life without any of them. I feel so grateful that my Heavenly Father has allowed me to be a mother and that He has sent me the 5 spirits that He did. I also couldn’t ask for a better husband and father for my children, than Nick. Nick has been so busy this week taking care of me, the kids and the house. He is amazing. I’ve had so much help from people at church bringing in meals, my mom watching the kids and running them around, and from other family member helping me with the kids. I feel very blessed right now.

Still 4 Weeks Left/Just 4 Weeks to Go!

I couldn’t decide what to title this post because there are times right now that I think I will be pregnant forever, and other times when it feels like this baby will be here before I know it! A couple months ago, my pelvis separated further than it is supposed to, and since ten, I’ve been in excruciating pain. I can’t really describe how it feels. It just hurts. It hurts a lot. It hurts to walk, it hurts to sit. There is a little relief when I lay down, but I have to be super careful when I roll over that I move my legs at the exact same time. If I fail to do so, my pelvis pops, and the pain is so intense, it’s hard not to cry. Nick cringes when he hears the popping, and he feels bad there is nothing he can do to help. Because of the pain, I’m having a hard time keeping up on things around the house. I try to tell myself to take it easy and not worry about the things that don’t really matter. But, even then, there is still a lot to do when you’re a mother of 4 little kids. So, I do the best I can, and hope that it is good enough for now. I have a c-section scheduled for 4 weeks from yesterday, and I’m hoping the pain gets better after delivery. I just can’t wait to meet our last little baby! I love being a mom, and I really love little babies. There is just something so amazing about holding a newborn.
In the last couple of weeks, I’ve been able to get a few projects done, despite being in so much pain. I knitted hats for all of the kids. I’ve never knitted hats before, and I was pleasantly surprised with how they turned out. Brennan and Brayden were so excited about their hats, they wanted to wear them to school when it was still 75 degrees outside! I’ve gotten baby clothes washed, the crib cleaned and set up, bibs and burpcloths washed, boy clothes sorted (we have 8 bins of clothes we can get rid of!), and swings ready to set up. I was also able to finish knitting the baby’s blanket. I really wanted to try a new pattern that I’d never tried before, but was hesitant. Nick encouraged me to try it and told me he knew I could do it. With a lot of encouragement from him, I decided to try it and I’m so glad I did! I love how it turned out. It’s my favorite knitting project thus far. The pattern is called “entrelac” and it looks like pieces of knitting woven together, but it’s all one piece. After over 100 hours of knitting, the knitted part was finally finished. I blocked it, and then had my mom help me put some soft minky backing on it and finished it off with pink binding. It is so cute and extra comfy. I love it and I’m so grateful to have a husband that believes I can do hard things! I don’t have pictures of the completely finished project yet, but I’ll have to put some up when I do. I also cute off 8 or 9 inches of hair on Friday! It’s kind of a tradition for me to chop off my hair around the time I have a baby. It’s just easier to take care of. I still have a few projects to finish, but hopefully I’m at a point where if the baby comes, we are mostly prepared for her. So, here’s to hoping the next 4 weeks go by quickly and the pain disappears shortly after that!

35 weeks pregnant

35 weeks pregnant

My knitting helper.  She's so cute!

My knitting helper. She’s so cute!

The blanket-almost finished.

The blanket-almost finished.

May-September 2013

I’m way behind on blogging, so I’m going to do a quick catch-up post and if I find time later, I’ll add more blogs from the summer.  Highlights from the last few months include:

  • Brennan and Brayden finished up kindergarten.  They had a little ceremony on the last day.  They had such a great year, and really enjoyed learning new things.
  • We found out we are having a baby girl!  I was really surprised.  I thought for sure this was another boy, which was just fine with me, but we are so excited to welcome another little princess into our family.  (I think Emma is the most excited!)
  • Brennan and Brayden celebrated their 6th birthday in June.  I can’t believe how fast the time goes!  They’re going to be grown up before I know it, and I’m just not ready for that!  The boys each got a gerbil for their birthday and they are enjoying having pets.
  • Doug got engaged in July!  We are excited to go to his wedding in November.  He proposed on the blue turf at BSU.
  • In July, we went on an amazing vacation to the Oregon Coast with my mom and Lynn, my siblings and their spouses.  I could do 7 different posts and an entire scrapbook just on this vacation.  We had such a fun week and wish we could go back!  We played at the beach, went to the Seaside Aquarium, bought taffy, went on some fun hikes, saw lighthouses, ate great food, and so many more fun things!  Thanks, Mom and Lynn!
  • The day before school started, Brennan broke his arm.  It’s our first broken bone, and I’m kind of surprised it took 6 years for it to happen.  The boys had been helping me out in the morning by getting Austin out of his crib.  Brennan got him out that morning and while Brennan was climbing out of the crib, he slipped and landed on his arm.  The scream that came out of him was different than any scream I’ve ever heard from him before.  Of course, Nick was out of town that day.  I decided to take him to Urgent Care, and sure enough, he had a buckle fracture.  He had a cast on for 4 weeks, and just got it off last week.  Hopefully, we are done with broken bones for another 5 years 🙂
  • In August, Brennan and Brayden started 1st grade!  They were so excited that they got to go to school ALL day, eat lunch at school, and ride the bus.  They are having a great time.  They are going to a new school this year.  It is called Barbara Morgan STEM Academy.  It is a magnet school and their emphasis is science, technology, engineering and math.  The boys’ favorite class is their STEM class.  They get to do experiments and lots of hands-on building activities.  They are both thriving and I’m proud of all their hard work.
  • Emma started pre-school and ballet in September.  She has enjoyed both a lot.  I was afraid, she would cling to me and be scared to go into school and dance class, but she hasn’t had any problems at all.  In fact, last week when I was dropping her off at school, she told me she wanted me to stay in the car so she could walk into school by herself.  Emma amazes me with how quickly she catches on to things and how much she loves to learn.  I’m pretty sure she will be reading soon!
  • Brennan and Brayden started playing soccer in September.  They are working really hard and Brennan even scored his first goal last Saturday!
  • In between all these big occasions, the kids and I had a lot of fun playing in the backyard and going to parks and the library with Grandma Watson.  There was also a LOT of time spent inside watching movies since I was really sick.

There were days this when I thought summer was going to last forever.  I think most of that was because I was so sick.  However, looking back, it did go by pretty quickly.  We just have 5 more weeks until our little princess is born and we can’t wait to meet her!  We are excited for what the rest of the year will bring!

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